I was really not prepared to ever buy a guitar online: unseen, never played, without any type of demo whatsoever,
I've played guitar since I was in 6th grade--honestly played thousands of gigs--did the road thing for years--it's not my first rodeo.
I presently own an early 90's Beck Strat loaded with Lindy Fralin Real 54 pickups; however, I always had trouble living with the color--Purple. Having a few more Strats lying around--I thought I'd sell those and pick up another Beck. I love the features--you can use the whammy tastefully, and not worry about tuning!
I live just outside the Bay Area, in N Cali--I searched for a Beck Strat, none to be had--not close anyway. I wanted to play at least 5 or more. I gave up. Out of sheer frustration I decided to give Sweetwater a try--due to their outstanding reputation and service--it was my last hope.
Sweetwater did not have any Becks in stock--none coming for a few months; nevertheless, I placed my order. My sales engineer, Matt Kreager told me the tech would pick the nicest of the next shipment.
I cannot verify that happened; however, I did receive the best Strat I've ever owned. I've perhaps owned 10 Strats since I began playing. This one 'ain't goin' no where.'
Having been a professional musician for many, many years--did the road for far too long--I feel I can judge guitars really well. This Strat is the one. Unplugged, it rings and sings like a bird--beautiful tone. This guitar plays in tune up the neck better than any guitar I've ever played. Just amazes me! Plugged into a vintage blackface Deluxe Reverb--I have the full range of Strat tones that make the Strat an American icon. The hotter pickups are nice--turn down a bit and it cleans up well. They're not over the top distortion--just a nice midrange bump. Of course, its also quiet. I bought this guitar for a stage guitar more than anything .Often I need more crunch--more hair. Generally, I plug a Beck Strat or '52 AVRI Tele straight into a vintage Fender amp--due to low volume gigs or just the tune, at times I wouldn't have enough harmonic sustain to suit my tastes. This guitar overdrives the amp much better than my 50's style Fenders. Weight wise--she's a wee bit heavier than I hoped--nothing to whine about. My other Beck weighs more and its never been a problem.
I haven't tweeked the whammy yet--it goes up 1/2 a tone--l'd like to see it go a whole tone. On the other hand--I have no tuning problems. I love the locking tuners, the modern attributes are a plus for me. The 9.5 neck radius C shape neck is outstanding, the LSR roller nut and having taller frets than the vintage style Strats all add up to a gigging machine!
I can't say enough about how well my experience with Sweetwaters went. My new Beck meets and exceeds all my expectations. I wanted a gigging Strat that is versatile and not a "shred machine." This is it!
I'm not into the tweed cases--they get very shoddy looking fast, Nonetheless, it goes in storage. I don't like to open the case candy bag--I keep it intact with the receipt in the OHC. I did forget to order a new Levy's Signature Series leather strap for this jewel--I use a separate strap for all of my guitars, next order. Also, I keep the nice tweed case in the closet and use an ol' beater HC or a high quality gigbag.
Thanks for coming through in spades Sweetwater!