Price paid: $ 650
Purchased from: MF
Sound — 10
IMO the classic 70s Strat sounds and feels exctly like my 78 original. The pickups on the classic 70s has staggared poles and the original 78 has flat poles. The 70s has a more fat balanced sound, while the 78 has a more clear sound with less mids. I can work the classic 70s pickups more and get more crunch. And I can get more dynamics and clear cleans with the 78. Both have about the same sustain and volume. I think the difference in the sound comes from the staggared poles vs the straight alignment of the 78's poles. These tow guitars have the classic 60s-70s clear clean Fender sound. About 3 years ago I changed out the cast tremolo block with a Callaham steel block, and it made it sound more like the original HardTail 78. The Callaham block makes it more clear and bright, than the original cast lightweight block. Just over a month ago I changed out the pickups on the Classic 70s to a SCN, and the guitar took on a whole new sound. While retaining the classic sound of a strat, it became more puncy and fatter but without the grind and crunch of HOT pickups. I like the SCNs in the Classic 70s, as it now allows me to work the tones and sounds with more dimention with pick attack. Now the classic 70s Strat sounds and plays better than my 1978 original.
Overall Impression — 10
I like Blues, old rock, country, R&B, and some jazz. Been playing since the mid 70s. I have bought and sold many guitars and amps over the years. Too many to list. I have only 1 keepers that go back to the 70s and it is my 1978 strat. I would only purchase anohter one used, I can't see paying over $799 for a new one when the used ones go for about $500. The only reason I currently have a Classic 70s is to retire the original 1978 strat. Other than the tremolo, this classic 70s looks and feels just like the original 1978, and with the new SCN pickups it is my favorite guitar. Also, I like the tremolo vs the HardTail strat.
Reliability & Durability — 10
My Classic 70s has been played off and on over the past 11 years, and I have refretted about 3 years ago to fatter taller frets which lasts a lot longer than the original Vintage type frets. The finish is high quality poly and thick, everything about this and other strats are solid tuff guitars. Unlike mahogany neck guitars, the strat's maple and rosewood fingerboard necks make the Strat one of the strongest guilt guitars built today.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The Set up was decent. But, it is one of the hardest guitars to set up IMO, because of the 7 and 1/4" radius fingerboard and the micro tilt. However once you get it done right it is one of the best playing and sounding strats. The Classic 70s was build just as good as my 1978, if not better. The neck fit on the Classic 70s is far better than the original 78. All the hardware is the same even the patten # on the 3 screw neck plate. Only difference is the tremolo vs the hardtail. The neck feel and finish are the same. All good craftsmanship IMO. One thing I did not like about the new Classic 70s was the white pickguard on the natural ash finish. My 78 has black on natrual ash, and it looks a whole lot better.
Features — 10
2000 Classic Series 70s Strat MIM with the rosewood fingerboard and natural ash finish. The painted ones went for $50 less. This is a very heavy guitar with all the Standard 1970s appointments. Tremolo is the same specs as USA Vintage but with a cheap cast metal block. Came with a gig bag. The MIM classic series was started in 1999, and I got one of these because I have a 78 hard tail and it was about the same price as the original. Only difference is the pickups, tremolo, and pickguard. I give it a 10 because it is a near exact replica.