Read just the bold if you don't want to read side-details

So I currently have my dad's old guitar which I love, it's an Ibanez Les Paul Custom, I've changed the hum buckers.. basically everything that can be changed I changed to make it better.

Put in DiMarzio bridge pickups, Seymour Duncan 'Phat Cat' Neck Pick-up, Sperzez machine heads/tuning pegs. All that jazz.

Sounds amazing with my VT20 and Line 6 Pedal, the action is awesome I love it, though it definitely isn't GIBSON LES PAUL since my best friend has a brand new Les Paul that he just got about 2 months ago and the action on that, I can just feel the difference, though it's not too far off.

Anyways... I love this guitar and it will do its job perfectly fine until I get my next guitar, luckily my dad kept his guitar out of everything else he had sold so I have a nice guitar and don't need to worry about that , but I obviously want a different sound, something new and Jimi Hendrix is my top favorite guitarist definitely. Page is VERY close 2nd, but Jimi Hendrix takes it, that twangy sound, the picking, soloing, all of that.. I love all of that.. so of course I have decided upon a Strat for my next guitar

I've played a brand new 2012 American Standard Strat at a music store (don't want to put the thing down haha) the action on it is just incredible, it's like buttery smooth, I love everything about the Strat.

So I do look into Strats and talk to my dad about guitars and music all the time, and he agree with the fact if I am going to buy something music related it should be looked at in an investment way and not to buy something half-quality, it should be something quality and high priced and worth it, because those are worth the investment and will continue to be worth it. Makes sense.. so I look into different types of starts and summary I end up deciding upon a Custom Shop Strat.


I absolutely LOVE that color, that wood-like look w/ that Tangerine.. it was between Tangerine or Sea-Foam green and I decided on the Tangerine .
My question is , after reading more and going through a huge music magazine that had dozens of different types of starts in it that are around 800-1500 ... is a CUSTOM SHOP worth getting instead of the Standard, Deluxe or any other for double the price?

I've read they ARE hand-made and then I've read they aren't.. which I would believe they are hand-made to the extent they can be. I've read a lot into it, but right now I'm set on saving for the Custom Shop, but should I? Is it worth saving for? I don't need a strat or a new electric any time soon with the guitar I have now, so that isn't an issue.
I have owned a CS fender strat and it was a Great guitar after That i played Us PRS guitars for a while. The guitar i have today is a 2012 Mia stand. Strat, i really love it. Great tone Great Guitar.

Buy it. Now.
Every guitar is hand made, but the Custom Shops are supposed to be better quality.

I can't really tell if the price of the Custom Shop is consequent with the quality.
(3x price must be 3x quality)

Personally I wouldn't buy a Custom Shop.

Anyway, here something to watch considering your question;

Last edited by AmirT at Mar 12, 2013,
You might want to look into the MIA G&Ls. They're much more in the spirit of the Leo Fender era Strats as G&L was his new guitar company after he sold Fender. Also, IIRC, they still use more of the older manufucturing processes, so there's more of a human touch.

As for the CS Strats, if that's what you really like, and you can afford it, then go for it. It's not necessary, but get what you like. The MIA Standard and Deluxe Strats have some advantages over many of the CS guitars, but it all depends on what features you value. More expensive does not always = better when it comes to guitars.

I'm just as happy with my 2006 MIA Standard Strat as I am with my MIJ Ibanez RG Prestige or my MIJ '65 re-issue Mustang. I've never even seriously considered a CS guitar because I just don't value their differences. But to each his own.

Edit: The CS guitar in that video is essentially like an MIA Deluxe with prettier wood instead of the S-1 electronics & locking tuners. Same trem, abolone fret markers, neck heel. Also, most of what they said was objectively true, although it seems like they were intentionally misleading about the trem stability in the different guitars--Chappers pretty much admitted that you can get them the same if they're both set up right and if you use a graphite grease in the nut. They were also talking about you you could hear the tonal difference made by the glossy fretboard, but they only said that about the CS, which has the bigger saddles (although they admitted that too in other parts of the video).
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Last edited by jetwash69 at Mar 12, 2013,
I'm afraid that it is highly unlikely that anything out of the Fender Custom Shop (these days) will become "investment quality." As good as they are, there is little collector interest in anything new, and Fender is cranking out more instruments than ever. It will be a fine guitar, to be sure. But don't expect it to double in value in five or ten years.

Now that the 401k advice is done with, I suggest you stick with a production American Strat. My favorite is the American Deluxe, but the American Standard is a great instrument, too. The main reason for sticking with the production versions is this: The Custom Shop Strats are beautiful, but they're still just Strats. The American production instruments are great guitars. How much better would a typical Strat be if it came from the custom shop? Unless you want something off-the-wall unique, at the end of the day it is going to be the same basic instrument as the production models.

The Custom Shop Fenders receive a great deal of hand-fitting and hand-finishing. Their best people do the work and the various inspections. They have a meticulous attention to detail; particularly when the instrument is a vintage replica. The basic parts are produced on the same machines Fender uses to crank out all of their instruments. The grades of wood will be better, the frets will probably be dressed better and the fit and finish will be spectacular. The boys and girls of the Fender Custom Shop do some very good work.

My personal belief is that the extra hand attention will probably not justify the very steep increase in price. Unless you want something truly custom-made (say, a Strat with an ebony fretboard, three humbucking pickups, a flame maple top and stereo wiring), then paying extra for the Custom Shop pedigree doesn't seem worth it. Fender's Custom Shop wait list is rather long (I think they are still quoting nine months minimum) and it would be very disappointing to spend all of that money, wait all of those months and then discover that your new masterpiece really doesn't play or sound any better than that American Standard Strat you tried at the music store.

Now, if you have your heart set on a Strat from the Custom Shop, then by all means, go for it. It is your money, and life is too short to compromise. Get what you want.

Good luck!
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Last edited by FatalGear41 at Mar 12, 2013,
I'm going to be that guy. Coil tap your humbuckers in your Ibanez and invest the strat money in an amp.
1987 Ibanez Jem 777LNG #124
2012 Herc Fede PMC Jem
1987 Ibanez RG550 Road Flare Red-R
Marshall JCM-1 W/Lead 12 Cab.
Wampler, Ibanez, MXR, Morley Pedals
I think a Stratocaster for you is the next logical step. I would keep in mind, though, that Fender isn't the only company that makes a fantastic Strat style guitar. Check out some of the ones I'll list below:

Rob Kirn

Man, what I wouldn't give for a Rob Kirn Strat.
Buying a guitar as an investment is the wrong way to go. Even the Custom Shop guitars these days are pumped out faster than the guitars of the 50s and 60s. They also lack history, which is where most of the value in old guitars is. Today's guitars will not be worth the large sums of money in 40+ years that the guitars for the 50s, 60s and some from the 70s are worth now.

So, forget about it as an investment. If you want to invest in something, play the stock market. Start hoarding gold bars. Buy an antique which is worth a lot already and will only go up in value.

Now, as far as whether Custom Shop Fenders are 'hand made' or not, it depends on the guitar. The Custom Shop puts out various models that have their initial shaping done by CNC but are assembled and finished by hand; you can, however, order a guitar to be made for you, to your spec, at which point you will have a choice. You can have the guitar built quickly by the team or slowly by one master builder (you even get to choose which) and if you're willing to pay for it then they will make the guitar by hand from the ground up. Just be aware that 'hand made' does not always equal 'highest quality'. There are some things that machines are better at doing than humans, and cutting, shaping and routing guitar bodies and necks is one of those tasks.

As for other Fenders, it's all the same: anything that can be automated, is. American Deluxe, American Standard, Standard, Classic, Squiers; whatever range you look at, you're not seeing any experienced craftsmanship. Fender, Gibson, ESP, PRS, Ibanez and all the others crank these guitars out by the hundreds every day. Gibson and PRS are the only major brands that regularly do any of the work on their production units by hand.

So, you're choosing between Fender Strats.

Frankly, if you want quality, forget the American Standard. The Deluxe doesn't cost much more and it is a huge upgrade in every way. Better wood, contoured heel, S-1 switching, better bridge, better tuners, etc, etc, etc.
So now the comparison comes down to the American Deluxe and the Custom Shop models, and this is where we only you can dceide what is best for you. The Fender Custom Shop makes many models. Some have the same features of the American Deluxe and are simply made of slightly nicer, slightly lighter wood. Others have just regular Strat features but are made of far superior materials and to a higher standard of quality. Others are superior in both ways. Others are, if anything, somewhat inferior. Some are very plain Strats but cost a lot more because they have a special paint job.

In terms of sheer build quality, the only thing the Custom Shop guitars will have over an American Deluxe is they may be slightly lighter in weight. The key word is may. You won't know until you actually get it in your hands. As a practical instrument for regular play, there is absolutely nothing that the American Deluxe lacks.

Take a good look at the American Deluxe and ask yourself whether you think you would like the features it has or whether you want a plainer guitar. If you want a plainer one, go for a Custom Shop guitar but don't order one blind, go to lots of shops and play lots of them until you find one that fits you; every single Custom Shop guitar is slightly different. If you look at the American Deluxe and you think that yes, you do like the sound of all those features, then just buy the American Deluxe; objectively speaking, it can't be beaten.
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I would avoid the custom shop for now due the spotty quality checks and poor wood that they've been using for the last half decade.

I've seen too many CS and Master Built instruments with bad fret jobs, neck pockets that are shallower than unnecessary, and wood with defects like knots.
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