NGD/Review Hot Rod 62...THE Strat for Les Paul players!

So What

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Hey guys!

I posted a thread looking for advice on the Fender AVRI 62 Hot Rod Strat. No one seemed to know much about them, so I thought this may help someone out.

I have owned Strats, or Strat style guitars, since before I could even play. Like many beginners, I was drawn to the skinny neck and low action. This made it easier to fret chords and learn to play. As my ability improved, I clung to the idea that I needed skinny necks. I have owned so many Strats I can't remember them all. I've bought a bunch of Les Pauls with the 60's neck to keep the "skinny" neck idea satisfied.

I have developed a taste for Vintage style guitars. Reissues, since I can't afford the real thing. I have several Teles, and they have thicker necks. This was the beginning of my realization that maybe I don't need a skinny neck after all.

A few years ago, I was able to purchase an R9 Les Paul. I was intimidated at first. It just hung on the wall, like a piece of art, while I played my 60's necked LP.

Finally, one day I decided that since I spent all that money on it, I may as well use it. I sold the 60's necked LP, so that there was no going back. I played that guitar exclusively for a year. Well....as it turns out, I LOVE chunky necks!

Since then, I have purchased an R7 and an R8, The necks are no problem.

My issues started when I would go back to play my Strat. It was a 1998 AVRI 62 Strat. It was the guitar I planned to be buried with. Yardstick thin neck, and easy as hell to play. But after all the time spent playing the LP's, I did not like the skinny neck. It didn't fill out my hand, and I played very sloppy. Also, the traditional Strat thin tone just didn't cut it anymore. I also have the AVRI Hot Rod 57, which has a soft "V" neck. It is a little better, but still not quite what I need.

After much research, I sold the AVRI 62 to a friend, who promises to give me first dibbs on buying it back if he decides to sell it. I used the proceeds from the sale to buy this 62 Hot Rod Strat:

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This guitar Freakin' Rocks!!

As you can see, it has all the Vintage style appointments of a Vintage Strat, but it has a modern 9.5 radius fret board with Med/Jumbo frets. It has the same pups as the regular AVRI 62, but these are wired so that the tone controls the bridge pup, and they are hum cancelling in the 2 and 4 positions. The guitar weighs in at a hefty 7 lbs. 14 oz.

The neck is a chunky "C" shape, and that is the perfect description for it. At first it is a bit odd for a Strat to feel so Hefty and Chunky, but you get used to it very quickly. It feels similar to my R7 neck, which is also "C" shaped. It fills out your hand, and forces you to play neat, rather than sloppy. And BTW, I have short fingers. I can barely palm a baseball.:)

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When you plug this guitar in, the first thing that jumps out at you is how much tone it delivers. Like I said, it has the same pups as my other 62, but this guitar really sounds fat and loud. I don't know if it is the hefty body and chunky neck, or something else they did with the wiring, but you really have to dial back the volume to get the traditional thin Strat sound.

This guitar is great for those of you who want that Strattiness for an SRV or Clapton song, but just can't stand switching to a Strat. Man, I never thought I would ever feel that way, but I did.

I have only a few complaints about this guitar. I do not intend to focus so much on the negative, but since I want this to serve as reference for others, I feel I should include these observations.

For some reason, they used very tall saddle screws for the A D G B saddles. They stuck about 1/8 inch above the saddle, and it was like resting your hand on a bed of nails. I ordered a replacement set, which were labeled "Vintage" style. They had 8 shorter ones, and 4 longer ones in the pack. Just enough to fix my problem.
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The second complaint would be that I have the action set a bit higher than I would normally set a Strat, and I still get a good bit of fret buzz, which does come through the amp on clean settings. Now, I am no Noobie. I have played Strats most of my life. I know that is part of the charm, and I am not trying to eliminate it completely. I am also not panicking, and wondering if I got a lemon. It will take some time for the guitar to settle into my environment. I am just surprised that it is an issue.

Another gripe is the typical Strat complaint, the bridge pickup. For all the tone this guitar delivers, the bridge pup still leaves something to be desired. So to get the volume you need for lead, you will still have to set the guitar+amp volume at lead level, and roll back the guitar volume knob for rhythm. Or use a volume pedal or tube driver. LP's are more of a set it and forget it for me. I use the toggle to switch between Rhythm & Lead, per the instructions.

The final negative would be the "Satin" finish on the back of the neck. This is to eliminate the tackiness of the gloss nitro. But I found it to be just as tacky. So, not being one who is shy about making a guitar into what I want it to be, I got out the 0000 Steel Wool and went to work. I rubbed it back to a gloss finish, and oiled it. It is very comfortable now. I didn't go too deep, so unless you felt it, or I told you about it, you would not notice.

So, in the end, I would say that if you are a Les Paul player, and can't find a Strat to suit you, this may be the one for you.

Very solid guitar with a LP chunky neck. Tone that is deeper than the average Strat.

Hope this helps! :thumb:
 

sj250

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Congrats! I had almost the same issues with all my Strats. The necks we're just too thin to get comfortable with. I sold the neck off one Strat and got an Allparts neck that measured .86 at the first fret and .96 at the 12th and it was a lot better. I just picked up a Daphne Blue Strat with another Allparts neck that is an even 1" down the whole neck and man do I love that thing. Just seems to fill my hand perfectly and I don't have any of the cramping issues I used to. I haven't been able to stop playing it since I got it.
 

aidb

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What a great review of a superb looking Strat.
 

sj250

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Oh by the way I'd love to know measurements on that neck if you ever have a chance. I've been eyeing up the Sherwood Green Hot Rod's when one pops up but I'll never find one around to try first.
 

toppsseller

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Nice guitar! I had one for awhile and thought it sounded just about perfect. To me the neck was just too big. It might be the biggest neck I've ever played. Even down near the nut felt so big. I had a Robert Cray Strat with a fat neck once and this felt even fatter. Mine also had the high E to close to the edge of the fretboard and it had a tendency to slip off the side. Otherwise great guitar and I've often thought about trying one again. That or getting an Eric Johnson strat which I've heard are phenomenal.
 

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