#1
I'm left-handed, so I don't often get to play before I buy. My local shop had one 2011 fender american standard strat in store when I was in the market for one last summer, but I really loathed the sienna sunburst finish and decided to order a new 2013 model in black instead. I have been really unhappy with my guitar ..i just don't "connect" with it. I went back to the shop yesterday to try out some amps and the 2011 was still there. I plugged it in and the difference was night and day!

Why is this? The specs for the guitars are exactly the same minus the pickups, yet the 2011 plays and just feels miles better than mine. It's lighter, the neck feels faster and just "better" and it's more resonant and responsive than my 2013. Aren't fender guitars mass produced by a factory? Shouldn't there be very little difference from instrument to instrument? Is it just the age difference?

I asked the shop for a trade in and they told me I'd lose about $200 or so on it, but I think I'm going to pull the trigger on it this weekend. I kind of feel like I'm getting a little hosed, but for $200, i think it's worth it.
#2
they are all different. no two trees are identical, so neither is the wood, etc. but it could be it's just set up better, has the action where you like it, pup heights are better (to your taste) etc.

this is why you buy the one you try, not the new one in the box in the back etc.

$200 sucks though. yet it's obviously worth it to you so.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#3
Earlier this year i had two LTD MH400NT's. A 2007 one and a 2005 one. The 2007 ive owned since new but the 2005 one i got in march. It lasted a month with me. Couldnt get on with it as well as the one i had first.
It felt lighter, neck felt different (thickness even though they are both thin U's), just couldnt get on with it so it went.

Granted they were two years apart but they were the same specs, apart from pickups.
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#4
I would try to give it a quick setup first. Really, just truss rod, intonation and string height (if you can manage that one. It's a pain in the ass without the right tools). Trem block can wait. Usually those don't go out so easy. If it's the sound that's the problem, it could be the pickups or more likely the height of the pickups.

Anyway, the other comments are right. I've owned 8 strats over the past 10 years, and it really can be hit or miss, even when it's the same year/specs. It's better to play it in store if possible. I've also made use of GCs return policy 2/4 times that I've ordered a guitar from them. If you're not in love with the way it feels, then send that shit back and ask for a different one.

Remember: Guitars are made by humans, even in a factory. If you watch the videos of the Gibson factory, they have a guy that shapes the neck and sorta eyeballs it and does his best, then another guy will make sure the neck is "up to specs" (meaning it's usable) and then they sort them out to either be high end or low end depending on how well they play. I would assume Fender does the same thing.

If you're loving the one in the store, $200 isn't terrible to get a guitar that actually plays and sounds the way you like it. I'd do it man.
Last edited by mjones1992 at Aug 18, 2014,
#5
In your case, it's because the MIA Standard Strats finished in sienna are made of ash, whereas any other finish is made of alder. There are also very minute differences between years, but I doubt that really made a difference. They're not actually charging you $200 because they want to charge you a fee, it's because the Sienna costs about that much more.

In cases where two guitars are the exact same model and specs, it's just the consistency in quality control.
Last edited by chrismendiola at Aug 18, 2014,
#6
I just went to trade it in and they told me they actually wanted $400 + trade because my strat has some dings on it that I never noticed before. Sigh.
#7
Quote by RyanMW2010
I just went to trade it in and they told me they actually wanted $400 + trade because my strat has some dings on it that I never noticed before. Sigh.


It's also not sienna after all, it's just a regular 2011 american standard in honeyburst.
#9
Quote by Tony Done
As others have said, wood is a natural material and varies - some acoustic makes are very variable between individual guitars. But how much do you think your opinion might have been shaded by the different sound (pickups, amp, room ambiance etc)?


Not much. The major noticeable difference is in the playability. I was all ready to do $200 + trade, and brought my guitar in, but now they want $400 + trade, so I'm not sure
#10
Have your guitar set up by a competent tech
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#11
Quote by RyanMW2010
Not much. The major noticeable difference is in the playability. I was all ready to do $200 + trade, and brought my guitar in, but now they want $400 + trade, so I'm not sure


If the major difference that's bugging you is the playability, that should be fixable. Take the guitar to good tech to have it set up. Anyone who knows what they're doing should be able to make it play exactly like the other one that you like. And it shouldn't cost any more than $30-$50, unless there's serious fretwork that needs to be done. Although, with a USA Fender, if it has any less than perfect frets out of the box, it should be returned under warranty for a replacement.
#12
I had the exact same problem with my strat, it just never sounded right to me. At first I thought it was the pickups, so I got Seymour Duncan's put in. After that it still didn't feel right, so I got the neck nut changed so I could fit 11 gauge strings in there and when that didn't work I just decided to cut my losses and I sold it on Craigslist. If they're trying to ding you $400, you might be better off selling your guitar independently and then coming back to the shop with cash money for the other guitar you want.
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#13
Quote by Robbgnarly
Have your guitar set up by a competent tech


Supposedly. The shop I bought it at has a deal where setups are free for the first year after purchase. I had it setup about 6 times by them, and experimented with it a lot myself. It's never played or felt good to me, and the one in the store absolutely blows it away.

I'm feeling pretty emo right now over this. $200 + trade was doable, but $400 + trade because of a few minor cosmetic blemishes feels pretty gross.

At the same time, being left-handed makes this really difficult. Most guitar stores only carry mexican/chinese/korean made lefties and the odd fender custom shop, gibson R8, etc. I've never actually even played an american les paul in my life. It's super hard for me to just pick up a guitar and play it, so in some ways, I feel like i should just eat the shitty deal and pay the $400 + trade for a guitar I know feels good to me., evne considering its gross honeyburst
#14
Quote by chrismendiola
In your case, it's because the MIA Standard Strats finished in sienna are made of ash, whereas any other finish is made of alder.

i don't think sienna is the only ash body american standard strat. i agree that they are ash, but i'm fairly certain there are some other ash-casters in the lineup.

Quote by RyanMW2010
Supposedly. 1 The shop I bought it at has a deal where setups are free for the first year after purchase. I had it setup about 6 times by them, and experimented with it a lot myself. It's never played or felt good to me, and the one in the store absolutely blows it away.

2 I'm feeling pretty emo right now over this. $200 + trade was doable, but $400 + trade because of a few minor cosmetic blemishes feels pretty gross.

3.1 At the same time, being left-handed makes this really difficult. Most guitar stores only carry mexican/chinese/korean made lefties and the odd fender custom shop, gibson R8, etc. I've never actually even played an american les paul in my life. It's super hard for me to just pick up a guitar and play it, so in some ways, I feel like i should just eat the shitty deal and pay the $400 + trade for a guitar I know feels good to me.,

3.2 even considering its gross honeyburst

1 - if they aren't setting it up the exact same way the ash-caster is then wtf? having a guitar on hand that is set up the way you like it should make it pretty simple to duplicate unless there is something whompass with the one you ended up with. such that it can't be set up that way. (not sure why or if that could be, but who knows?)

2 - yeah that sucks.

3.1 - yeah, it may be worth just doing. still, it does bite.
3.2 - you shut your vvhore mouth, that's a killer strat finish!

good luck, i feel for you lefties as the selection is pretty dismal.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#15
Quote by gregs1020
i don't think sienna is the only ash body american standard strat. i agree that they are ash, but i'm fairly certain there are some other ash-casters in the lineup.

What else is there? I'm browsing through it now on Sweetwater and the only model that seems to be made of ash is the sienna. As far as I know, those are the only Ameriican Standard models, but I could be wrong.
#16
What's interesting is that the 2011 honeyburst finished strat is a good 2 lbs or so lighter than my 2013. They're both supposedly alder bodies w/ maple necks and rosewood boards. everything else is apparently identical. This is why i thought the 2011 was the sienna burst ash body, but my friend who works at the store swore up and down that it wasn't ash and actually showed me a sienna burst ash body for comparison. It's weird.
#17
Quote by gregs1020
i don't think sienna is the only ash body american standard strat. i agree that they are ash, but i'm fairly certain there are some other ash-casters in the lineup.


1 - if they aren't setting it up the exact same way the ash-caster is then wtf? having a guitar on hand that is set up the way you like it should make it pretty simple to duplicate unless there is something whompass with the one you ended up with. such that it can't be set up that way. (not sure why or if that could be, but who knows?)

2 - yeah that sucks.

3.1 - yeah, it may be worth just doing. still, it does bite.
3.2 - you shut your vvhore mouth, that's a killer strat finish!

good luck, i feel for you lefties as the selection is pretty dismal.


hey, thanks greg. i really appreciate it.

haha, i'm just not a big fan of strat bursts! growing up, all the cheaper models and knock offs were sunbursts so i guess i correlate the finish with low quality---although, ironically, i went and bought myself a black strat. do'h! lol
#18
Quote by chrismendiola
What else is there? I'm browsing through it now on Sweetwater and the only model that seems to be made of ash is the sienna. As far as I know, those are the only Ameriican Standard models, but I could be wrong.

it's been a few years since i worked at sam ash, and i do remember the sienna bursts being ash but some of the other models were too at the time. the bursts, 2 tone or 3 tone were either ash or alder (some of each) which wasn't always apparent by the weights in some cases as well as the defined ash grain.

i also thought (again, not 100% positive by any means) that some of the siennas were deluxe models with the S1 switching and other deluxe upgrades. not all, but some.

maybe now it is only the siennas, i can stop by the store and check what they have to see. in some cases they have guitars that are last year's models or older, but never sold. so as far as the "2014" models you could very well be right. but what's hanging in stores is another deal all together.
Quote by RyanMW2010
What's interesting is that the 2011 honeyburst finished strat is a good 2 lbs or so lighter than my 2013. They're both supposedly alder bodies w/ maple necks and rosewood boards. everything else is apparently identical. This is why i thought the 2011 was the sienna burst ash body, but my friend who works at the store swore up and down that it wasn't ash and actually showed me a sienna burst ash body for comparison. It's weird.

wait, so which one is the one that plays great? sienna or honey burst?

i mean, the finishes are pretty similar and i can see where someone would mistake one for the other if they didn't have the fender code for it. but if your friend works in the store he should know, they have that info.

personally, i'd grab the lighter weight one and make it work. weight is no indication of tone/quality etc, it's just made from a lighter weight body which is enough for me to find it more desirable. but that's my deal, other people are okay with heavier guitars. to each their own.
Quote by RyanMW2010
hey, thanks greg. i really appreciate it.

haha, i'm just not a big fan of strat bursts! growing up, all the cheaper models and knock offs were sunbursts so i guess i correlate the finish with low quality---although, ironically, i went and bought myself a black strat. do'h! lol


you are very welcome.

but yeah i get that. once something sticks in your mind it's tough to shake it.

i can't stand the look of three tone strat bursts. two tone 50's bursts look killer to me but three tones look cheap. just my disfunction.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
Last edited by gregs1020 at Aug 19, 2014,
#19
First turn off for me is different fret sizes... any chance there is a difference between the two? Do you know the model of the burst? Maybe neck shape is different?
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#20
Quote by RyanMW2010
Supposedly. The shop I bought it at has a deal where setups are free for the first year after purchase. I had it setup about 6 times by them, and experimented with it a lot myself. It's never played or felt good to me, and the one in the store absolutely blows it away.

I'm feeling pretty emo right now over this. $200 + trade was doable, but $400 + trade because of a few minor cosmetic blemishes feels pretty gross.

At the same time, being left-handed makes this really difficult. Most guitar stores only carry mexican/chinese/korean made lefties and the odd fender custom shop, gibson R8, etc. I've never actually even played an american les paul in my life. It's super hard for me to just pick up a guitar and play it, so in some ways, I feel like i should just eat the shitty deal and pay the $400 + trade for a guitar I know feels good to me., evne considering its gross honeyburst


Dude, sell it on craigslist, you'll get more money that way, then go back to the store with cash for the guitar you want!
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#21
fit and finish, quality control, and mojo.

wonder why people have "number 1s" or there are famous guitars? well. thats why.
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