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FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / American Vintage '56 Stratocaster

Morgenholz

Indiana/USA

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever.
Mar 5th, 2016 02:12 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I picked up a 2013 model in white blonde for the ash body (I believe that the other finishes are alder). This is my latest addition to what will eventually encompass the whole Pure Vintage line should I live long enough. I bought a B Stock, and could find no blemish anywhere, excepting a somewhat sloppy neck pocket and a high-E string too close to the edge of the fretboard; perhaps this was the part that did not pass QC. Two turns on the neck plate screws and two whacks on the treble side of the neck provided all the adjustment that this one needed-- Just like back in the Day.

As others have pointed out, the primary dimensional difference between this model and the custom shop '56 is the period-correct neck-- this one is fat and rounded, with just the slightest soft V, much closer to a Nocaster than to other strat necks or the smaller '57 hard V. The most noticeable difference between this and my '99 NOS Nocaster is the rolled edges of the AV56-- They are more pronounced and "played-in" than any other new Fender I have spent time with.

Online reviews focused on the accurate vintage sound of the pickups and their incompatibility with heavy overdrive. The hell with that-- buy something with mudbuckers and bang your head. These pickups through a tweed or brown circuit are enchanting. In combination with the ash body, I can only describe their sound as round, plaintive and haunting, like the voice of a girlfriend you have not seen for thirty years. No effects are needed. I plan on retrofitting the three-way switch to focus my energy on one PU at a time.

Anyway, this one has already established herself as a Keeper. I'm curious as to whether any of you cats feel the same, or don't feel the magic.

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Strat, Tele, Strat, Tele...hmmmmm
Mar 5th, 2016 02:56 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a CS Time Machine NOS 1956 they built for me back around 2000. It's the nicest Strat I've ever owned. I wonder how similar it is the AV series?

Morgenholz

Indiana/USA

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever.
Mar 7th, 2016 03:49 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi Chris, I have a 2014 CS '56 heavy relic, with the alder body, same weight as my AV56. CS neck is a harder and slimmer V (also 9.5 radius with 6105s), nothing like grabbing the NOS Nocaster. Of course, this run had the Cruz Master Design pickups, so no meaningful comparison there... On the strength of the AV, I will continue to passively look at any vintage-spec CS56s that float by, but I can't imagine anything topping my current AV.

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Strat, Tele, Strat, Tele...hmmmmm
Mar 7th, 2016 07:49 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I haven't had the chance to see any of the current AV guitars so on my next trip to a population center, I'll have to check them out.

Morgenholz

Indiana/USA

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever.
Mar 10th, 2016 02:46 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

My population center is not much better-- It seems as if the only guitars for which any of my neighbors will pay more than American Standard rates are Les Pauls-- AVs must be ordered new. So, I lurk on the seller sites until I identify a promising one. Do you have any idea what your NOS weighs? I'm trying to get an idea of the weight range for those. Is the neck a hard V like their '57's, or is it a fat U like a Nocaster?

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Strat, Tele, Strat, Tele...hmmmmm
Mar 10th, 2016 08:02 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

My guess on the weight is under 8# but I've never weighed it and don't have a proper scale to get a precise measurement. The neck seems more soft V not unlike my Jimmie Vaughan Strat. Certainly not a hard V. Certainly nothing like the fat U on the Nocaster I owned of the same era.

Morgenholz

Indiana/USA

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever.
Mar 12th, 2016 01:58 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Regarding the older custom shop '56, it seems like all of the used ones I've come across (closet classics and relics) have been alder. Does anybody know what wood the NOS version bodies were made of, and/or if certain finishes were always ash (like the blonde AV)?

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Strat, Tele, Strat, Tele...hmmmmm
Mar 12th, 2016 02:22 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I remember having a discussion with Mike Elder on my '56 and he maintained that alder was the correct wood for that year. Right or wrong, I wanted ash and that's what mine is.

bmeredith

USA

Happiness is a warm tube amp
Mar 14th, 2016 03:36 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've got a white blonde '56 Relic Time Machine Strat that has an ash body. IIRC, that was the only color on that particular model that came standard with ash. I don't think it mattered if it were NOS, CC, or Relic.

Morgenholz

Indiana/USA

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever.
Mar 18th, 2016 06:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

1956 was a transitional year just as 1959 (maple one-piece to rosewood fretboard)and 1962 (slab to lam) were. Early '56s were ash and had the round string retainer; Leo switched to alder mid-year, supposedly because it did not require a filler step necessary for the open grain of ash. Both are correct, although I can believe Mr. Eldred's bias toward alder as every solid-color CS '56 I have seen is alder. I bought the white blonde AV for the same reason.

FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / American Vintage '56 Stratocaster




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