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Incoming Gilmour-style (?) Strat MKII


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Edited to add:  My computer is still not cooperating when it comes to posting photos, so please check out the DGS listing while it's still up!


Looks a lot like the Partscaster Strat I picked up about a month and a half ago, which was basically a late '60's/early '70's Strat semi-clone, except this one has the later PUs , plus the small headstock and the black pickguard.  Not too shabby methinks, plus it saves me the time, effort and money from modifying my first one (AKA MKI): 


Here's the 'Gilmourish' link to the original guitar (AKA The World's Most Expensive Partscaster, unless you count EC's 'Blackie' if that one ever goes up for sale again) for comparison, plus the specs from the original DGS website listing:


From the DGS website listing:

Black, Made in Mexico, Alder body, C shaped Maple neck with a 9.5" radius fingerboard and medium jumbo frets, 25.5" scale length, 1 11/16th" nut width, Seymour Duncan SSL-5 single coil Strat bridge/2011 Fender Custom Shop Abigail Ybarra single coil Strat middle/unmarked Custom Shop single coil Strat neck pickups have been installed, 5-way switching with the volume/tone/tone controls plus an added mini-toggle switch, Vintage style synchronized tremolo with the bent steel saddles, Vintage style tuners, With hardshell case, Very good



Edited by crunchee
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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry for the delay in responding, I forgot how crazy the Holiday season is, and trying to get anything done that isn't Holiday-related!  I think I'm sufficiently recovered from the last week to get back to topic.

The pickups sound great for the most part, the SSL-5 in the bridge gives added punch and gain as expected, but it's subtle...if you want more than that, you might want a stacked PU or a standard-sized Humbucker PU in the bridge position.  The neck PU was a bit of a surprise, as it's beefy and full sounding, but I dunno if the neck pickup is supposed to be an equivalent to a 'Fat '50's' Strat neck PU or not.  This guitar has the 'Gilmour switch' to bring in the neck PU along with the middle and bridge PU, which adds fullness and makes the overall sound darker when the 'Gilmour switch' is engaged.  I like it as an additional 'flavor'!  In general, all of these pickups seem to bring added presence and clarity, as you might expect from  'Custom Shop'  PUs.  The only thing I wish the previous owner(s) had done would be to make the first tone control work for the bridge PU (like it does for the middle PU) instead of not, even though not having that tone control work for the bridge PU is the 'traditional' wiring for Strats, apparently.  But it should be an easy fix, and I can live without it in the meantime.

This guitar has had some 'aftermarket add-ons' before I got it, obviously...such as the one-ply acrylic black pickguard with 'Gilmour switch' installed, which I strongly suspect was sourced from this parts seller (no affiliation, BTW):


~plus, the standard cast Fender tuning machines were replaced (by a previous owner, again) with 6-in-a-line Kluson reissues, which were expertly installed, and holds tuning very well...other than the very faint outlines of the original tuner post bushings on the front of the headstock, I can't tell that anything else was ever on this guitar!  I wouldn't change any thing back to stock original, especially since none of these changes were/are apparently cheap.

This guitar came to me from DGS with heavy strings, I have no idea what the gauges were but I also strongly suspect that they were in the neighborhood of a .011 set (on a Fender scale, I usually play a .009 set), and the trem was adjusted tight/flat with no 'float' whatsoever.  The pickups were also adjusted weirdly, with the treble side of the PUs adjusted much higher than the bass sides, which were lowered  nearly as low as they could go into the pickguard.  It makes me wonder if DGS actually did anything to the setup, like they say they supposedly do in their website to all their guitars!   Which brings me to something else that strikes me as kinda weird...it's a 12-year old guitar (according to the S/N), but has practically no signs of being played much if at all, including very little fret wear.  In the end, it doesn't really matter as I changed the strings to .009s and set it up the way I wanted to anyway, and now it's a keeper!

As far as which one is better, this particular Strat, or the Strat I also recently got from DGS with the '69 CS PUs and Callaham Strat Bridge installed?  It doesn't really matter to me as now I have two different flavors of Strats to choose from!  The 'Gilmour' style Strat is best to me for higher-gain Rawk-type playing, but the other Strat excels at chimey, jangly, twangy, poppy playing...even Surf, if I wanna go there.  I like 'em both!  Funny thing is, I'm not a Strat guy (or at least I don't think I am), but if I have to have two, these'll do me very well.  B)

BTW, this particular model MIM Strat seems to me to be one of the longest-running 'Special Edition' Fender guitars that I'm aware of...not really too much of a surprise, considering the 'Gilmour-like' cosmetics (maple neck with a small Strat headstock on a black Strat body, black 3-ply pickguard, with 'aged' cream-colored knobs and PU covers...it's not like Fender had to spend extra money and scrounge for parts), plus Fender didn't have to make much effort to make it a 'Special Edition' in the first place.  The only thing Fender changed was around 2018, when they went from the 6-screw 'Vintage' style trem to a 2-post trem.  There's tons of these 'Black Strats' out there on the market, most of which have not been modified, so don't spend a Grand for a stock used one!

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