Great guitar, factory setup atrocious
By: Michael Henningsen from Cedar Crest, NM USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Would you consider this product to be made well? How dependable?
Ash body, maple neck and relic's components are true to the original '56 and '57 specs this guitar is modeled after. THat means inherent little issues like the tendency of the single-ply pickguards to bow is present, and the tuners work like the vintage tuners they're standing in for, which is to say "not all that great. THese, too, are easily replaced if one wishes to do so. Overall, the quality of this Mexican build is great ... just as long as the truss rod works like its supposed to. My neck was shipped with a significant twist beginning st the 6th fret, but I was easily able to adjust the rod so that I got the neck bow I want on a Strat. I've heard so e of these guitars shipped with horrific twists and non-working truss rods, so be careful and pay attention to the return policy.
How has it stood up over time?
I've only had it for two mo ths, and it's been perfectly reliable in that short period of time. However, I won't be able to give a good answer for a year or so.
Your general opinion of this product.
If, like most, you can't afford a true collectible or the high-end relic, this is the Strat for you. If you like your guitars in their new, pristine condition, you shouldn't even consider the Relic or Road Worn series. But if you like guitars that have been "broken in," then I can't recommend the Mexican built Road Worn guitars highly enought ... with a couple of caveats.
Playability and Feel
How does it feel, Heavy, Fast, Chunky? How was the neck? Are the controls easy to get to while playing?
It really does feel like a well-played Strat with about 100,000 miles on the odometer. The 50s neck shape is my favorite, and it's been well-replicated here. It feels as ligh as a Strat is supposed to feel: well-balanced and solid. But again, it's unplayable out of the box.
Bright and snappy? Dark and smooth? Were the pickups hot, mellow, thick, thin?
The stock pickups have to potential to get you the sou D's you're after, but doing so requires lots of outboard EG, compression and noise reduction. Once I replaced those pickups with the Rio Grande Triple Calibrated set, sound is a wet dream.
How did the stain or paint job look?
These guitars sport a thin nitrocellulose finish that looks great from a distance. It's when you get up close that you start to notice finish work that could have been completed by a team of chimps. The body relic'img looks terrific, though not beat up enough for my taste. So I simple took some fine grit sandpaper and steel wool, and went to town until I had it looking the way I wanted it to look.,I also used my Leatherman to,add a few strategic dings and scratches. I finished my own relic'ing work by rubbing used wet coffee grounds into the newly exposed wood, and the effect was amazing. The stock fretboard relic job, on the other hand, was a bit overdone. Again, a little sandpaper/steel wool and buffing did the trick.
How was the action out of the box?
Action out off the box was atrocious. The guitar was completely unplayable. The floating trim floated about a quarter of an inch rather than the recommended eight, which rendered the trem unseeable. Intonation couldn't have been worse. For an intermittent such as myself, it took several hours to rectify these issues. An expert or someone with an experienced tech could knock this stuff out in an out. But DO NOT even attemp to haul this guitar from box to stage. You won't be playing this guitar without "passing go" a few times. The fret ends also required significant filing and buffing. But those big frets make string bends a pleasure, and they're rather more forgivi ng than the smaller frets used on some Strats.