Say what you will about a Stratocaster, but one cannot deny that they come in all sorts of configurations. I had the chance to buy a twin of my first guitar. Let’s get into my thoughts about this process.
My First Guitar
When I talk about the journey of owning guitars, I jokingly say I’ve had three first guitars:
My first acoustic: a “lawsuit” Takamine that belonged to my uncle before he died. This was a hand-me-down.
My first electric: a 3/4 size Memphis S-style guitar with a Seymour Duncan humbucker of some kind. I didn’t choose it.
My first “real” electric: a MIJ Squier Stratocaster. This guitar is the one I call my “first guitar”. I chose it.
The Takamine was stolen out of my mother’s car. I sold the Memphis to the kid that lived behind me. The Squier would be played for years until its pickups started to fail. I eventually took it apart with the hopes of refinishing it but sold the pieces. Mistakes were made, but I didn’t know then what I know now. That would be one of the bigger guitar regrets I have.
The Squier Stratocaster
That Squier was unique among the Stratocasters I’ve owned because of it’s control setup. Most Strats have three knobs and a selector switch. This one has two knobs (a volume and a tone) and an independent switch for each pickup. The neck and middle pickup switches are on/off and the bridge is on/off/coil tap. This gives the option of selecting the neck/bridge or all three at the same time. The Mexican-made Deluxe Player Stratocaster has a button that could be pressed to allow the same thing.
It was also silver, which isn’t as common of a color. My original guitar showed wear that revealed the numerous colors the guitar had been before silver. That guitar, which my grandmother also bought it for me, was a big part of my formative years.
An E-series Stratocaster isn’t exactly a hot commodity, but they’re well thought of, which is fair to say about the Japanese-made Squiers from the ’80s. According to a Serial Number dating site, the E-series strats with the E+6 digit format were made from ’84 to ’87. I always assumed my original guitar was an ’85 because of the E+5XXXXX it had, but who knows, right?
Over the years, I’ve checked into the prices of them on eBay and Reverb, but they never really stuck around for very long or were out of my budget at the time. I never saw another silver one pop up though.
A Second Chance?
This story is further complicated by seemingly unrelated fact that I recently brought home a guitar from Big John’s queue. I’d wanted to reconnect with it as an alternative to the Tele that I almost always use. The connection I’d felt to it from before just wasn’t there. Don’t get me wrong, it played GREAT, but the sound wasn’t killing it for me like it had done during the honeymoon period. The thought of selling it was already on my mind.
I checked through Facebook Marketplace to get a ballpark to list the guitar at, I saw a listing for the twin of my first guitar. There were zero intentions of buying it when I texted my wife a picture. It was simply an interesting happenstance…the same exact guitar, in the same color, AND it was local. Then, as soon as I texted her that I was just looking at it, the ’51 came to mind and I thought, “I could sell it, maybe sell a pedal or two, and pick this one up”. Well, once I set my mind on something…
For the most part, my wife has a “one comes in, one goes out” rule, though not always in that order, and I was happy to comply with that. I called the shop that had posted it, confirmed they still had it, and off I went. They brought it out, I plugged it in, got it working, and played it for about five minutes. I bought it. Obviously, otherwise there wouldn’t be a post, right?
The Root of My Strat Issue?
After doing a bit of Googling, I learned a couple of interesting bits about this model from this site
- it’s a 24.75″ scale instead of the normal 25.5″ scale Fender uses
- the particular model (27-6800) came in black, red, and white
I’ve owned a number of strats, always loving the sound but not how they played. They never lived up to my original guitar. I’d say it’s the tummy cut, but the 24.75″ scale appears to be a big factor. I mean Teles are 25.5″ scale too but I don’t have an issue with them. I’ve always preferred how a Les Paul felt, so after all these years, I might have figured out my complicated relationship with Stratocasters
Also, if they didn’t come in Silver, that means that someone had to have painted both of these Silver. Now, that site does say “since 1987” so it’s possible they WERE offered in silver before ’87, but I’ve never seen another silver one pop up during previous searches
This purchase is the first time in a long time that I’ve been truly excited about. I feel like this might be the universe giving 44 year old me the chance to appreciate something I didn’t when I was younger.
I’ll be honest, the guitar needs a little bit of work. The jack has a short and the treble side of the neck feels off. The pickups aren’t the loudest I’ve owned, but I raised up the humbucker and that seemed to help quite a bit. These are all easy fixes. The switches and knobs are quiet, it doesn’t have any unexpected noise, and the neck plays well. It will serve well as alternate lead guitar AND as a nice rhythm choice as well.
I don’t name guitars, and I don’t plan to officially start, but if I were to name guitars, this one would be Dot, or maybe Syb (short for Sybil), after my grandmother, Dorothy.