Price paid: € 1600
Purchased from: DLX
Features: This guitar is Iron Maiden guitarist Dave Murray's signature Stratocaster, based on his original Stratocaster he used on 70's and 80's (previously owned by Paul Kossoff).
Presumably made in 2009, in USA. It has 21 medium jumbo frets, that are very comfortable. It's scale is 25.5'', and it's neck is made of maple.
The body is made of alder, which gives the guitar a great boost to sound. Alder is one of the finest woods, mainly because it sounds so great and it lasts very well. It is finished in a fine coating of nitrocellulose with satin finish on back. The guitar feels very smooth after using it for a few months, because the back feels a bit sticky due to glossy finish.
The body style is basic Stratocaster, except with a modified, soft V-shape. It feels very comfortable and gives you a brilliant access to higher frets. It has got Fender's Vintage bridge, which feels very nice and gives you a good sustain. Of course, the bridge doesn't keep the guitar in perfect tune all the time, but it's alright nevertheless.
It has got this extraordinary set of pickups, H-S-H (humbucker - single-coil - humbucker). It has got DiMarzio Super Distortion DP100 on bridge, Fender's Vintage style single-coil on middle and DiMarzio's new PAF DP-103 on neck. The humbuckers are coloured "aged", so they look very cool and Vintage. The guitar also has a Vintage pickup selector, a 3-way Switch.
It has got Fender/Gotoh Vintage tuners, which are pretty cool and keep the guitar in tune well. Locking tuners could've been better, but these are are okay, too.
It includes a Fender Vintage tweed case, which looks gorgeous. Inside it looks something like tangerine/red and its very sweet. The case includes a very bad, leathery strap, pretty crappy cable, "how to take care of nitrocellulose finish guitar" guide, tremolo arm and a couple of Fender stickers. // 10
Sound: I play a large variety of styles, so I need a guitar that can produce a large variety of sounds. Of course, as you probably guessed, I play a lot of Iron Maiden, too, so this is the ultimate guitar for that.
I've used this guitar which Peavey's 100w Valve King and Roland's 2w MicroCube, and the guitar sounds _amazing_ with both of them. I don't use any effects, except a bit Boss's PW-10 wah. Both, the bridge and the neck pickup sound just like 80's heavy metal, from Iron Maiden to Queensrche and Megadeth. You can also get amazing Randy Rhoads sounds out of this beast. One night I ended up playing Crazy Train and Mr. Crowley for a couple of hours, just because it sounded just like the original.
The middle pickup, which is totally different from the two others, produces an amazing blues and jazz sound. It's very much like Fender Texas Special pickup. It sounds great with a low-gain setting, so you can play everything from Jimi Hendrix to Rory Gallagher and Eric Clapton. So the middle pickup is great, too!
One thing I was suspicious about, was the clean sound. No problem, this guitar gives you everything you need. Even with the humbucker pickups the clean sound is astonishing.
The pickups don't produce any kind of noise while I'm not playing/while I'm playing. It's awesome, because almost every Fender produces some noise. I can play with solo-setting and take a break and just leave the amplifier on, and it still doesn't produce any noise. So, overall the guitar's sound is perfect. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: The factory set-up was good, and I didn't have to do anything to make the guitar better. The strings were maybe just bit low for me, but it's not something that bothers me. I've tried a lot of Fender's guitars, and in all of them the factory set-up has been good, so I think there can't be a lot of bad set-ups. So high five to Fender. So, no problems here, either. // 10
Reliability & Durability: Here comes the worrying part. Due to the nitrocellulose finish, the guitar is quite fragile. With just a couple hours of playing, the finish on the guitar's body started to feel and look less new. So I started to think, is it durable to enough gigs and all the sweat you drain on it.
I'm not worried about it totally wearing off, but it definitely seems fragile. The hardware seems top-notch all the way, and I would rely on it when doing gigs.
I'm not sure whether I have to worry about the nitrocellulose finish, but I'm quite sure that after years of gigging, all the fluid it absorbed during the years would No Doubt affect it very bad. Although I got the guide that helps taking care of nitro finish guitars, I would say I have to be careful while handling it. It's very vulnerable to all kinds of scratches, too. // 9
Overall Impression: The guitar is pretty much everything an Iron Maiden fan can hope for. It's captures Maiden's sounds perfectly and it's one of the best guitars I've ever played. Fender's artist series has got a lot of guitars, but I consider it to be one of the best Fender artist series guitars.
Don't worry about it being only for metal; it handles a large variety of styles, so it's a good all-around guitar. I've been playing only for two and half years, but I've tried a lot of different guitars and I think my playing skills are good enough to make review of this guitar. It's hard to choose my favourite feature, because there are so many great features on this guitar. I think I'd go with the guitar's versatility, which is amazing. My other option was Fender's American Deluxe V-neck, but this guitar proved out to be better.
The only thing I wish it had was locking tuners, but that's not a big flaw in almost flawless entity. To all Maiden fans this is _the ultimate and greatest_ guitar, which is a must-buy for a big IM fan, who plays guitar and has money. There's not better investment considering the price as this guitar.
Finally thanks to Dave and Fender by putting this guitar to sale. Up the Irons! // 10