Skip to content
Does a Custom Shop ...
Clear all

Does a Custom Shop STRAT really sound better?

5 Posts
5 Users
0 Reactions
Trusted Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 32
Topic starter  

Does a custom shop strat really sound better than a standard
american or Mexican strat? Is it the wood? The pickups? Is it just
the "luck of the draw" as to what particular guitar sounds better than
another or are the fairly consistent between the Mexican, American,
Custom Shop, etc?

I just bought a very nice classic Gibson holly body and now I'm
thinking that I have too much money tied up in my three guitars. I
have a Taylor 810, Strat Custom Shop and the Gibson 225. I'll never
sell my Taylor!! My strat is nice, but I bought my son a Mexican Strat
last year for $500 bucks and it sounds pretty close to my custom shop
which I paid over $1500 for! In fact, I like the neck on the Mexican
strat better!

What's your opinion? I'm looking for some advice. Thanks!

Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 216

I think that all fenders play and sound different. Some american fenders are not much better than their mex counterparts, while others are just awesome. I still think the mex fenders are a great deal price wise though. I think Henry Gazza (spelling?) from Los Lonely Boys uses a mex strat, and he has great tone. I guess its all in the fingers.


I've been imitated so well I've heard people copy my mistakes.
- Jimi Hendrix

Noble Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 2167

Hehe, for the price of the CS Strat you could get a couple of MIM Strats, and maybe a Tele to boot.

Or a Tele, a Strat and an Epi Les Paul.

On a 'mystical' note: it might be that sometimes the guy making a particular guitar will be having a bad day or be thinking of something else or near to punch-out on a Friday and...maybe that 'vibe' gets into certain guitars and not into others. Even with a CS guitar, one of the builders or the final setup guy feels like he wants to be anywhere else but making that guitar, and the guitar suffers. Some people talk about 'mojo' and guitars either having it or not. They're all mass produced pretty much, so where does that 'feel' come from? It still has to come from some person somewhere down the line, either the builder or the previous players/owners, and you can feel it.

And if it happens to be an MIM that does the trick, then just don't think twice and go for it.

Anyhow...a Strat and a Tele; that would give you pretty much every sound you could think of.


Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 653

From what I gather about this issue it goes like this. If you buy Mexi there's a higher chance of having a dud than if you bought American or Custom. I think you got one of those special instruments when you bought that Mexi strat for your son.

I think it's for every five or so instruments they produce they make 1 or 2 that are good. (Guestimated numbers, may vary.) In the American factories they might throw away more guitars than a foreign manufacturer, that makes the price difference. Say Fender USA makes three guitars and throws out 2 because they aren't good enough. Fender Mexico might have lower spec standards and allow more sub-par instruments through.

I think the key when buying lower grade instruments is to compare to others of the same model/manufacturer. Try a big chunk of their Mexi strats and compare to American and judge from there.

Same goes for buying Epi over Gibby.


Trusted Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 72

A custom shop guitar is made to your spec. It's what you want in a neck, pick-ups. Body, Type of wood used. Paint job, ect… if you got the money they got the guitar.
They are all hand made. And you will never get a crappy one. You get what you pay for like everything in life.
- Bull