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Fender's new American Vintage II '61 Stratocaster - anyone played one?

Cliff Gress

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Joined
Aug 26, 2004
Messages
3,349
They sound good online, but has anyone any hands on experience with this USA model? Some reviews have questioned their QC, i.e., finish smears on the fretboard, little e too close to the edge of the neck.
 

Aloha_Ark

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Apr 2, 2020
Messages
154
I've heard good press about them. The older AVRI sounded MEH to me, forcing me to go further up the food chain (CS and MB). I think the '61 Pure Vintage pickups on the AVR2 are in the same league (or higher) as the '59-'62 Fender pickups I have on a mod shop Strat.
Reviews are mixed about QC (paint overspray). Contact your Sweetwater salesman to handpick a guitar without these problems.
 

Amp360

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Feb 16, 2012
Messages
901
Honestly, I love Fender guitars. I don't think the instruments they've been making for the last ten-plus years have been all that good. For all the talk of Gibson QC, which I haven't really seen much of, FMIC seems much worse and gets none of the internet chatter.

I hope the guitars are nice but you may want to go to Guitar Center and check one out in person just to be sure.
 

Cliff Gress

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Aug 26, 2004
Messages
3,349
I checked one out. The neck was so thin as to feel toyish. The rest looked pretty good.
 

somebodyelseuk

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Jun 10, 2020
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457
LOL
After playing an R7, everything has a skinny neck, to me. I got a CS '59 Custom Tele a few weeks back. The neck profile is "59 deep C". Play a modern Fender for a few days and it feels big. Play an R7/9 for a few days and it feels small.

As far as 'QC' on Fenders and Gibsons. They're much better than they were 45 years ago, which isn't saying much, admittedly.
My own experience, between '84 and '20, my 'twin humbucker' was covered by a couple of Yamaha SGs and a Tokai. My Gibson experience covered production line guitars made between '74 and '95ish, at which point I gave up trying them. A mate offered me his very nice white '74 LP Custom for £500 in the mid '90s, but I declined, because it wasn't better than my Yamahas. I've tried LPs from various years after, which were nowhere near as good. In 2020, I tried and bought an R9. Finally, I found a Les Paul that was as good (actually better) as the Yamahas. Bought an R7 a year later - equally great.
Fenders... More or less the same story, except I bought a US Tele in the late 90s which has been great, a US Ultra Strat last year and the afore mentioned CS Tele this year. I've found Mexican Fenders tend not to be finished as well as the US stuff, though.
Right, what I've just described covers 40 years and maybe 150 guitars. The two Yamahas SGs are the only Yamaha SGs I've ever played, Mine are spectacular, but are they representative of the entire SG production? I dunno.
I own a '79 Strat that I've had since the '80s. Honestly, it's cr@p, but the other 6 Fenders I have are great. The two Gibsons I own are mindblowing, but the 'I don't know how many' I tried over the years varied between 'meh' to 'burn it'.
When you think about how many guitars Yamaha, Fender and Gibson made over those 40 years and how few of them I have experience of... it's a drop in a vast ocean.
The internet chatter... well, there are many, many dickheads in the world and they all have internet access - I remember a couple of years ago, a kid on here trying to tell a 'world renowned vintage guitar expert' that he didn't know what he was talking about. He didn't imply it, he actually said it.

At the end of the day, there's a guitar shop between what Fender/Gibson/AN Other ships and what you get in your hands. If what you're trying isn't that good, maybe you should be looking at the 'quality' of the guitar shop?
 

garywright

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Aug 17, 2002
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15,761
“The internet chatter... well, there are many, many dickheads in the world and they all have internet access“
classic ! ??
 

Wilko

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Mar 11, 2002
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20,941
They're just as good as any strat.

The skinny tapered neck is kind of the point. That's what makes it '61

Besides the body contours not being close to vintage, and that area past the nut that is never shaped even close to vintage.
 
Last edited:

ppgf

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2014
Messages
721
Honestly, I love Fender guitars. I don't think the instruments they've been making for the last ten-plus years have been all that good. For all the talk of Gibson QC, which I haven't really seen much of, FMIC seems much worse and gets none of the internet chatter.

I hope the guitars are nice but you may want to go to Guitar Center and check one out in person just to be sure.
 

Dmelton55

New member
Joined
Nov 29, 2022
Messages
2
They sound good online, but has anyone any hands on experience with this USA model? Some reviews have questioned their QC, i.e., finish smears on the fretboard, little e too close to the edge of the neck.
I did finally play one, it was a fiesta red, played and sounded very good. But, I believe they are over priced. I could get a used American vintage for 500+ less. If the price was a little less I'd probably get one
 

Dmelton55

New member
Joined
Nov 29, 2022
Messages
2
my experience is 180 degrees from what you wrote. i think that fender is making the finest instruments in the history of the company, right now.
From my own experience I have to agree. Have an 07 reissue of 57 strat, and I love it. But the one that really sealed the deal for me is my mirror Telecaster that I bought in 2019 just before the pandemic. It plays and sounds exquisite, and I have done absolutely nothing to it.
 

JaKo49

New member
Joined
Dec 7, 2023
Messages
6
They sound good online, but has anyone any hands on experience with this USA model? Some reviews have questioned their QC, i.e., finish smears on the fretboard, little e too close to the edge of the neck.
I purchased a '61 AVRI Strat,about 8months ago,in Olympic white... I also have a '62 FSR Strat, tropical turquoise ,a limited run of 500 run, they're two totally different animals. 1962 was the most sought after Stratocaster for STRATOCASTER enthusiasts, it holds true to this guitarist of 55 years playing the instrument...In '62 Fender got everything right. It has the very thin nitro finish , '62 Is the best Fender tone I've ever heard in over 5 decades. I've gotten so many compliments on '62 by accomplished musicians.
Comparing the two,'61 has a thinner sound, NO ISSUES with the Cosmetics of it,. Hands down, I prefer the 1962 Fender Stratocaster over that newer '61avri. FENDER DID an excellent job in recreating the '61. Still no two guitars are 100% alike.
 

JaKo49

New member
Joined
Dec 7, 2023
Messages
6
I did finally play one, it was a fiesta red, played and sounded very good. But, I believe they are over priced. I could get a used American vintage for 500+ less. If the price was a little less I'd probably get one
I dealt with Fender directly,& Fender u can get 10% off. I got that '61 AVRI , for,$1899. A quality of the entire guitar is excellent but I still prefer my 62 Strat over the '61, hands down.
 

Wilko

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Joined
Mar 11, 2002
Messages
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I purchased a '61 AVRI Strat,about 8months ago,in Olympic white... I also have a '62 FSR Strat, tropical turquoise ,a limited run of 500 run, they're two totally different animals. 1962 was the most sought after Stratocaster for STRATOCASTER enthusiasts, it holds true to this guitarist of 55 years playing the instrument...In '62 Fender got everything right.
Which version? Slab or round lam?
 

ppgf

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2014
Messages
721
Honestly, I love Fender guitars. I don't think the instruments they've been making for the last ten-plus years have been all that good. For all the talk of Gibson QC, which I haven't really seen much of, FMIC seems much worse and gets none of the internet chatter.

I hope the guitars are nice but you may want to go to Guitar Center and check one out in person just to be sure.
i have the equal and opposite experience. came onboard as a fender artist in 2019 and the instruments fender has built for me have been uniformly spectacular. >=the pre cbs gtrs i’ve owned and operated.

 

latestarter

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
4,193
Holy moly - those look fantastic!!!! Love the WRHB in a Strat. Might give that a go.

I know it's not about this generation of Fender's, but I have a 2006 '62 Yamano Thin Skin Stratocaster in what Yamano said was LPB, but everyone knows it's Ocean Turquoise. Maybe Fender messed up. Limited run, and I have only seen one other.

Having the benefit of owning many, and playing an additional "many" pre CBS Strats, this is => than anything to date my hands have touched. The whole thing vibrates. The pickups are fabulous and I doubt I will ever change them. I have refretted with taller, wider wire, and installed clay dots to tone the board down a bit. Otherwise, it's stock.

Great guitar. Highly recommended based on my experience. And I am no Strat guy.
 

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fakejake

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Sep 3, 2010
Messages
1,304
Wow! A Tele with a scalloped fretboard 🤘
Not something you see everyday
 
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