Guest blog written by Emil Puris
So I`ve been reading this blog by a guy stating that today`s Fender Stratocasters are “light years” better than any 70`s Strat he`s ever come across. The argument was supported by the fact that Fender was taken over by a company called CBS in 1965 and every Fender made between 1965 and 1985 supposedly belonged to the dark era of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation.
Doing some research on the net about the subject, as I had no historical knowledge of Fender guitars, even though I own two Fender Stratocasters myself, I found out that players perceived a loss of the initial high quality of Fender guitars after the company was taken over by CBS. As a result, the late 60`s Stratocasters with the large “CBS” headstock and (from the mid 70`s) the 3-bolt necked models (instead of the conventional 4 bolts) with the “Bullet” truss-rod and the MicroTilt adjustment system fell “out of fashion”. I literally have to get up and make myself a cup of coffee after writing this last sentence. However, the point of the above-mentioned, is that all of this supposedly led to a reduction of the quality of Fender`s guitars while under the management of “cost-cutting” CBS. When Fender was bought from CBS by Bill Schultz in 1985, manufacturing resumed its “former” high quality and Fender regained market share and brand reputation.
Furthermore, so-called “pre-CBS” Stratocasters are, accordingly, quite sought after and expensive due to the perceived difference in quality even compared with contemporary post-CBS models. In recent times, some Stratocasters manufactured from 1954 to 1958 have sold for more than US$175,000 which is perverted if you ask me, but then again everybody has their own fetishes.
I have two Fender Stratocasters, one from 1976 and the other one is from 1995, and after doing this research, I was amazed to learn that my 1995 Fender should be superior to the 1976 model according to these so-called guitar-enthusiasts and experts. Well, I have to say that my personal opinion is that my 1995 Stratocaster is a toy, which should be sold at supermarkets around the country, compared to my 1976 Fender Stratocaster. The history of Fender guitars, or any guitars for that matter, has never interested me and the only reason I did this research was because I was asked to write this blog. Personally, I don’t care about whether a guitar is made by well-recognized companies such as Fender, Gibson, Martin or a luthier from China or some monk chopping a piece of wood in the mountains of Tibet (hard to find by the way, the wood that is) who decides to open a Custom Guitar Shop, just out of boredom.
When I pick up a guitar I don`t look at a label or a serial number or what kind of wood the top, back and sides and fret board is made of. If it sounds and feels good, than that`s the right guitar for me. I`ve played guitars from the above-mentioned brands that sounded like crap and that are being sold for ridiculous prices, and I have played guitars sold for much less that sounded a lot better. For example, my $600 western Chinese-made Fina sounds better than some guitars that I`ve played in $2000-3000 category. This goes another way around, of course, but I`m just saying. The important thing to remember is that it is individual what kind of guitar suits one`s playing style and feels comfortable, and not what you read on the Internet and follow the sheep-mentality.
My purpose with this, rather short, article is not to promote 70`s Stratocasters, but to make some kind of stand against the ridiculous statements that one can find on the Internet. To end this article, I have found pictures of a few guitarists that are playing these ridiculous 30-40 years old badly-made Fender Stratocasters.
But what do these guys know, I think I`m going to start saving money for a $50,000 1957 Fender, instead of buying a “crappy” Fender from 70`s for around $4000.