Good times, good times... When I was just a pup, still working out barre chords on my acoustic, and dreaming of owning an electric, it was the Fender Stratocaster that I lusted for. Back then, before PRS, Parker, Steinberger, and all the other boutique brands that exist now, the only real legit options were Fender, Gibson, and to a lesser extent, brands like Rickenbacker and Gretsch. All of my favorite guitarists from that era played Strats. Jimi, Clapton, Felder, and Gilmour immediately spring to mind. The only LP player that I was really aware of was Page, and I really, really disliked LZ back then. Mostly because I knew they were covering blues tunes that I loved to bits, without any credit to the real writers. But, that's another story. By the time I had saved up enough loot to get my first real Strat, EVH and the whole "shredding" style had pretty much taken over the avant-garde of guitar music. Good news for me; I once bought a beat-up, well-used 58 Strat for 400 bucks. Just to prove how stupid I'm capable of being, I sold it for the exact same price. Eh, they were just used guitars at that point. Long story slightly less so, Strats were the only electrics I played for years, as they allowed me to get all of the sounds that my favorite pro players could; Gibsons were way prettier, but I just didn't associate them with the kinda music I was into at that time, mostly blues-rock. But, I was a young guy, and with only a few years into playing guitar, I often struggled with various issues that only a complicated machine like the Stratocaster presents. The breaking point for me came about after I got back into being a singer as well as guitarist; I needed guitars that I could play without having to focus my mental energy on while I sang. Stable tuning, simple controls that were well away from my picking position, etc. When I inherited a very heavily modded '68 Custom, complete with an owner installed Floyd Rose shock, I immediately fell in love with it, and the freedom it offered me as a vocalist and performer to focus my attention on singing well, and giving the crowd a good show. Over the years, I went on to refine my tastes, and ultimately found the "perfect" Gibson model for me. That would be the LPDC that Gibson came out with about the time they were suing PRS. To put it bluntly, the Gibson LPDC is the prettiest, best feeling guitar I've ever owned. Wraptail bridge for the ultimate in tuning stability, a lovely carved top, 24 frets, etc, etc. In fact, I've always had only real issue with Gibson's guitars; the pickups. On the one hand, it's very easy to get some really cool sounds from them, but I was never able to get some of the sounds I love most. I've known for some time that Strats and, to a lesser extent Teles, are easily capable of making those sounds, and the Tele is even able to get some convincing humbucker tones when setup right. But, as they say, a Gibson is "good enough" So, for many years, I just preferred to forego the sonic potential of Strats in favor of the looks and feel of Gibsons, and it was never clear to me until recently that it really is impossible to get some of the sounds that Strats make all day. What to do? I stuck with comfort and looks; this isn't to say that humbuckers don't sound great, or anything like that. It's just the music I hear in my head has alotta Strat tones going on. Fortunately, after many hours of discussion with Roman, I came to the conclusion that I would rather put up with all the things I dislike about Strats then continue to ignore how important those sounds they make are to my music. Sound trumps all else. I've already regaled folks on a few other forums with the tiresome tale of my painful return to the Old Religion, and this post is getting pretty epic all by itself, so I'll just point out that my return to the dark side has finally begun in earnest. This is what arrived at Casa De Lefty yesterday, courtesy of a very chill UPS deliveryman: I'll post up the specs in the next post, along with some of the other reasons that I'm going back to Jimi's Old Religion, but I do gotta say, Warmoth makes one helluva good Strat neck.