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Old 05-15-2013, 12:41 PM   #1
Arjun_M
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Fender Blacktop Floyd Rose Strat- What's the word?

Fender's Blacktop Strat with the Floyd Rose trem was something I was desperately keen on buying, but was not available in my country (and I think two pieces are available now across the whole country). Shops said that it's a bad idea fitting a Floyd on a Fender- not knowing this is a real product. Eventually, I went in for something else, more expensive but reliable (and also more traditional), but I'm still keen on finding out what really is the word about this guitar.

Strat by day, metal machine by night? Just how good is it in stock condition? And how much better can it become once the FRS is replaced by an OFR/Schaller? A few say that despite its crater-routed body, it sustains longer than American Strats and also has a decent tone. I've read rather positive reviews, but I'd like to hear more from those who have tried it, bought it and used it.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:46 PM   #2
kangaxxter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjun_M
Shops said that it's a bad idea fitting a Floyd on a Fender- not knowing this is a real product.


That's because re-routing the tremolo cavity is a huge pain in the ass.

As for the actual Fender model, the biggest complaint is about the pickups. They're lower output than the usual metal passives, so they tend not to drive an amp as much. But, I mean, that's sort of been Fender's thing for the past couple decades; to rely on an amp for distortion, so it always boggles me when people are surprised by that.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:50 PM   #3
crazysam23_Atax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kangaxxter
As for the actual Fender model, the biggest complaint is about the pickups. They're lower output than the usual metal passives, so they tend not to drive an amp as much. But, I mean, that's sort of been Fender's thing for the past couple decades; to rely on an amp for distortion, so it always boggles me when people are surprised by that.

Yeah, I mean, I bought a used Fender Stagemaster (basically Fender's response to "Metal guitars") several years back. The stock pickups were ok, but eventually I replaced them with actives. The guitar itself will be great; the pickups, not so much. If you don't prefer active pickups, you could always put some higher output passives in there. Anyway, the issue is that most people want high output pickups for Metal, whereas Fender "Metal guitars" have mid output pickups.

However, if you find a used Fender Stagemaster (or a similar model) for $200 or so, then do snap that baby right up. Even with spending $100-150 on new pickups, you'd probably be saving more cash in the long run. Compare that to paying $500+ for a typical entry-level "Metal guitar".
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:34 PM   #4
MrFlibble
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Originally Posted by Arjun_M
And how much better can it become once the FRS is replaced by an OFR/Schaller?.
There's no practical difference between a Floyd Rose Special and an OFR. The saddles and block are made of zinc, but that really doesn't make the sound any different from steel and neither the saddles or block are parts which are prone to wear. In fact since they're lighter, in some ways it can be considered an improvement. Any worries about the smaller block leading to a thinner tone or shorter sustain is rendered moot by the fact it's a double locking bridge in the first place, which is always going to give you a thinner sound and shorter sustain.

The only thing that would make either unit better is swapping the arms over. An OFR arm fits an FRS body better and an FRS arm fits and OFR body better. No, I don't know why, either. It's silly, but that's how it is.


Anyway, the Blacktops are just like any other standard Fender. The only difference between the Blacktop with a Floyd and the regular Strat with a Floyd is the Blacktop comes with HH pickups and a recessed bridge while the standard series Floyd model is HSS and has a non-recessed bridge. Both guitars are routed for any combination of HSH so you could switch either guitar to whatever pickups you want. If you're only dipping pitch, the Standard model is better, or if you want to raise pitch then you need to get the Blacktop model.

But yeah, they're regular MIM production Fenders. There is absolutely nothing special about them. They're the most baseline normal-quality guitar you can buy.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:01 AM   #5
Arjun_M
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I prefer the Blacktop Floyd Rose to the Standard HSS Floyd Rose, surely. I prefer a neck humbucker with the split option and the option of raising pitch with the Floyd.

Apparently the Blacktop Strats have some rather loud pickups which some users don't really like. There's often the complaint that the split positions suffer a volume drop, but one owner of a Blacktop Floyd Rose said that it is not so pronounced.

@MrFlibble- That's an interesting perspective you've offered. My concern about the Floyd Special is partly due to the tone (which you say isn't much of an issue) and partly the build quality, which I hear, isn't very good. There's always a Floyd that is either not set up properly or doesn't hold up well in the long run. Yes, they are baseline MIM Fenders, but with the best electronics and hardware, just how much better can they get? Some cheaper guitars can turn into exceptionally good instruments when modded properly, while there's not much hope with some others.

@crazysam23_Atax- The Stagemasters/Showmasters I often find are either Squiers or MIKs which don't really interest me much- I'm keen on the Highway One Showmaster with the Floyd Rose. There was one in Guitar Center in silver paint with some paint chips, which was eventually sold.

The other alternatives would be a Jackson DK2M (MIJ), which is now hard to catch, and a Jackson Soloist SLX (made in India, but not sold in India), which isn't very good even with upgrades, according to user/expert comments.
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