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Microphone Month 5

Fender VG Stratocaster Review

The VG Strat would be useful in the studio as well as on stage. And best of all, it is a genuine American-made Stratocaster!

When I first opened the case to the Fender VG Stratocaster I saw what appeared to be a typical American Series Stratocaster. The guitar had a black polyurethane finish, a rosewood fretboard with 22 medium-jumbo frets, three Alnico single-coil pickups, tone and volume knobs and a 5-position blade switch, much like the American Standard Strat. I did notice; however, that there was a peculiar-looking pickup next to guitar’s bridge, as well as two small knobs near the tone knob labeled “T” and “M.”

I then decided that I had stared long enough and plugged into my Fender Blues Junior amplifier. As I strummed my first couple of chords, I couldn’t help but notice that the Fender VG Stratocaster felt very comfortable and familiar. The neck was a great fit and the tone was the equivalent of an American Series Stratocaster. As a longtime Fender fan, I would definitely put the VG Strat up there with other high-quality Strats that I’ve played.

I then decided to start playing with the Roland DSP modeling effects. The Stratocaster model changed the sound of the instrument from one made of alder to one made of ash, which resonated well and made the SRV-esque licks that I was playing sound incredible. The Telecaster model provided plenty of “twang” (I even A/B-ed the VG with my actual Telecaster and while it wasn’t exactly the same, I was pleased with the comparison). The humbucker model sounded much like a Strat with humbuckers in both the bridge and neck positions. The acoustic models were quite versatile, in that you can switch between five emulations using the blade switch. The acoustic models are also accented by an onboard reverb that can be controlled using the tone knob.

Finally, I decided to put the tuning models through their paces. The Fender VG Stratocaster’s drop D, open G and D modal tunings were easily activated (even whilst playing) and instantaneous. The baritone setting allowed me to to play surf rock and faux Duane Eddy riffs that were reminiscent of old Danelectro guitars. The 12-string model provided great thick-sounding chords that sounded great on both the electric and acoustic tone models.

I would encourage any and all guitarists to give the VG Strat a try. I can definitely see where it would be useful in the studio for emulating a variety of different instruments, as well as on stage in order to avoid multiple guitar switches during sets. And best of all, it is a genuine American-made Stratocaster! Rock on!

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