Classic Vibe 60's Stratocaster
PoisonousApe, on april 06, 2011 5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 315
Purchased from: Plectrums, Pens & Paints
Features: Made in china, QC checklist says December 2010. Its a Stratocaster, the design ethos is that it should have the vibe of a classic 60s Strat, but with a modern twist.
21 "medium jumbo" frets in a 25.5" scale maple neck with a rosewood (veneer style) fretboard. The neck is a modern profile and 9.5" radius fretboard for comfort. The body is Alder, and I haven't poked around to take a look yet - it feels really light, but that might be more to do with my main comparisons being massive mahogany bodied guitars!
The finish is polyester - a high gloss golden "vintage tint" on the neck, and a high gloss metallic "candy apple red" on the body, with aged (i.e. off white/cream) pickup convers and controls and mint 3 ply scratch and back plates.
The hardware is all Squier, a "Vintage Style Synchronized Tremolo" Bridge and "Vintage Style Tuning Machines". Excessive use of the Tremolo will put the guitar out of tune, but that shouldn't really be a surprise, in normal use it holds tune pretty well. The tuners are accurate with no slack, although to get very precise tuning requires a little care.
Standard passive Strat electronics, three Alnico V pickups with staggered pole-pieces, the middle pickup is wired for the out of phase "quack". 5 way selector switch, Master Volume and two tones for neck and middle pickups only. // 8
Sound: I play mostly Blues and Classic Rock and this is an ideal guitar for that. It has the classic twang and treble of a good Strat, with enough warmth in the neck pickup to get a really deep, rich sound when you want it. Cray, Gilmour, Clapton, Blackmore and Knopfler tones are all there if you are looking for them. Naturally it would be a good fit for Country too.
I've run it through solid state, and tube amps, a tonelab ST and a Pocket POD, and it works well with all of those. Not surprisingly, the single coil pick ups do pick up a bit of noise when compared to humbuckers, with the Bridge being the worst offender, however a lot of that is easily managed by positioning.
The sound is bright and attacking, but there is plenty of mid-range for a warm and full bodied sound. The Bridge pickup can be biting or snarling played dirty and crisp played clean. The middle pickup adds warmth and body, while neck is a more rounded and fuller tone. The tne controls have a good range of effectiveness, while rolling back the volume does not cause the sound to get muddy. The Middle pickup is "out of phase" with the others, so the quack is there, quite mellow with the neck pick up and brighter with the Bridge pickup.
The range of sounds is versatile and capable. It has enough power to overdrive without assistance, but cleans up easily and nicely too. // 8
Action, Fit & Finish: The set-up is excellent - an action of between 1.5mm and 1.8mm at the 12th fret with no fret buzz anywhere.
The pickups were adjusted to balance across the strings and with one another almost perfectly.
I haven't had the need to open up the body cavities, but there is no evidence of any problems with the Bridge and spring routing.
No flaws are evident at all, the Standard of the finish, fret preparation, set-up are all exemplary. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I'm sure that this guitar would stand up to playing live tremendously well, it is well built and can withstand vigourous practice sessions. The hardware is simple and traditional and gives the appearance that it will be robust and durable.
I have swapped the strap buttons out for Schaller strap locks. I would not put my trust the fitted ones in a live environment.
Thus far this has been a very reliable guitar and I am sure that it would be dependable. Were I still a gigging musician, I would have no worry about using this as my sole instrument for a whole gig.
The finish is deep and even, and will almost certainly last. // 8
Overall Impression: As stated earlier, for the Blues and Classic Rock that I mostly play, this is an ideal guitar. I have been playing for over 25 years and owned and used a lot of different equipment in that time. This is the first Strat - includng US made Fenders - that I have really got on with and enjoy playing - within about 30 seconds of picking it up to try it I knew that I had to have this guitar.
I would be very upset if this were stolen or lost, and I should certainly replace it with another one.
The best feature is the neck - the modern profile and wide radius make it an absolute pleasure to play, as does the top quality set up. Thus far, I have found nothing to hate whatsoever.
I have had and used other Strats, and this was something new to me in terms of playablity. It has those classic Strat sounds and looks. I compared this to the 50s Classic Vibe Strat and a Squier Standard Strat and a house brand Telecaster - all were well set up, but only the 50s Classic Vibe Strat came close in terms of sound and playability, but this guitar just had to be mine - it was love at first chord. // 9
Classic Vibe 60's Stratocaster
Time Seller, on march 04, 2010 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Price paid: C$ 300
Purchased from: Long & McQuade
Features: While made in China (I cringed when I saw that on the back of the neck), this guitar is surprisingly good.
Here are the specs to get you drooling:
- Vintage two-colour sunburst finish
- Pastel-coloured tone and volume knobs
- 3 Alcino III single-coil pickups
- 5-way pickup selector
- Glossy maple neck
- 21 frets of awesome
- Strat-style body, mainly because it is a Strat
Decent features, pretty much what you'd expect. Crazily glossy, presumably to Shine light off during your solo in a music video. Would have preferred a more 'vintage' look, since, you know, it's called Classic Vibe and all. Also loses points for being made in China, just because. I know eventually it's going to be the death of me. // 8
Sound: When starting out on the guitar, my music style could best be described as 'rubbish'. Nowadays, I'm playing mostly British-indie-style guitar: bright distortion (if that makes sense) and snarling with attitude. Sadly, this guitar does not fit that style at all.
First things first, it's much more suited for a blues player. Not being generic or whatever, but that's how it is. The pickups are twangy, and it arrives all wet and pleading for your blues licks and fingering. Hell, it even comes with hilariously light strings. I broke the 1st string after 10 minutes of handling it. Durrrr
I tested it through an Orange Crush 10 amp, first directly, then through pedals: Big Muff Pi, Screaming Blues, Vox Wah. To my surprise, it sounds terrible with the Screamin Blues.
The Classic Vibe, you see, suffers from being too twangy. With the highs dialled down, it turns into indecipherable sludge. With the highs turned up, it screeches like Maria Ozawa. Seriously, there's a not-so-fine line between a roaring treble and shrill shrieking. The Classic Vibe crosses that line with gusto.
In my opinion, skip the bridge pickup or switch it out for something else. It's piercingly annoying to listen to. The neck pickup is a lot more toned down, with interesting hints of warmness. The middle one is nothing much to talk about, subdued without being warm and just completely underwhelming. The best bet (other than switching pickups) would be to set the pickup selector to the neck and middle pickups, and dial down the tone knob for the middle. Unless you like that piercing wail, of course.
It sounds good with a slight touch of the fuzz pedal - very crackly and bitingly sharp. Ironically enough, the Screamin Blues pedal works much better with my Les Paul. My advice would be to skip sharp overdrives and distortions with this guitar. Try hitting a warm tone with the rest of your gear and pairing it up with the natural twang the Strat provides. // 7
Action, Fit & Finish: I haven't got the guitar set-up yet, but only because I haven't seen the need to. It came pretty damn well set-up from the factory (as opposed to the Epiphone Les Paul Special I bought a few months back, and even my Gibson LP), but that might just be my model. The action's pretty low, so I might be getting that adjusted a bit if I go for even heavier strings. I'm trying to find the heaviest strings I can get to avoid having to listen to the shrill highs again. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I've only had this guitar for about a week and played it at gigs twice, so I'm really in no position to comment on its durability. From first impressions though, it seems pretty solid. Well-built without being a back-breaking like Les Pauls (took some time getting used to something so light), sturdy strap buttons and surprisingly dependable knobs. I usually fiddle with the knobs and selector a lot, and they seem better built here than on my Gibson LP Studio.
As I said, it came glossed-up to hell. And it's pretty much stayed that way. I give it wipe-downs after playing, but I've never had to touch my guitar polish so far. Good stuff. Shame though, I'd have preferred it being more roughed-up. My other guitars are already polished. I look like a dandy. // 10
Overall Impression: Oh, I forgot to add this earlier, the sustain you get on this guitar is pretty damn good. I sense it's more because of the pickups than anything else.
With all that being said, the Strat fits a tonal space that I don't generally venture that much into. Definitely worth purchasing if you like teh bluez and I doubt you'd find a guitar this good in this sort of price range. The Yamaha Pacifica 112V is a bit more well-rounded, but that shit is dull. The First Act Lola has a meatier sound, but there are better LP-clones for slightly more money. In the land of mediocre beef, the Classic Vibe 60's Strat is a well-cut chunk of grass-fed steak. Lathered victoriously in red wine, naturally. // 8