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Microphone Month 3

Guitar of the Day

Twenty years ago, if you had seen this Strat, you would likely have passed it up as being far too battered. If you’d have bought it, many guitarists would have laughed at you. Ah, but today, it’s a different story! This is a brand new instrument disguised to look like something that had been played hard for decades in smoke-filled clubs and halls. Its official name is the Fender Custom Shop Late ’60s Strat Heavy Relic Masterbuilt by Yuriy Shishkov, one of the longest model names in the entire Fender catalog! This Strat starts with an alder body and has a genuine lacquer clearcoat over a 3-Color Sunburst finish. The tinted maple neck sports a polyurethane finish and a period-accurate oval “C”-shape profile. A bullet truss rod (again, period-accurate) runs the length of the neck to keep the action right where you want it. Vintage Schaller “F” tuners secure the strings to the vintage-style oversized headstock. The rosewood fingerboard is loaded with medium jumbo frets and has pearl dots and a 9.5-inch radius.

A 3-ply black pickguard (only rarely seen in the 1960s) and 5-way pickup switch help manage the Custom Shop Noiseless Strat pickups. As a member of the Fender Custom Shop Time Machine Series, this Strat has been given the “Heavy Relic” treatment. This means that the instrument is actually meticulously distressed to resemble an instrument that has enjoyed a long life of exceptionally heavy use. The “Heavy Relic” treatment includes significant wear and tear to the overall finish (the lacquer is actually worn down to nothing in some spots), including dings, nicks, and chips to the body, neck, and headstock, and aged hardware. The end result is an instrument that looks like it’s been around the block more than a few times, but ultimately plays like a true, perfectly broken-in instrument! Naturally, Fender doesn’t crank out thousands of these, so don’t sit around while someone else buys what just might be one of the finest of the new Fender Relic Series. It includes a custom hardshell case and free shipping right to your door via FedEx.

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