"My heart and soul are in the Stratocaster." — Adrian Belew
"It's like coming home." — Eric Clapton
"A Strat was a thing of wonder" — Mark Knopfler
I started playing as a teenager, and had a punk band and we used to bring bands to the area and put on shows. Dave Grohl from Nirvana and Foo Fighters was one of the musicians we had. We hired his early band Scream.
Fast forward many years and as a hobby I buy and sell guitars and music equipment. After buying and selling around 250 guitars I had built up a collection of too many guitars, as well as having made some money too.
I first started looking at building a Custom Shop Strat in 2018 in Denver CO at Wildwood Guitars. For whatever reason, I just didn't decide to go through with the process at that time. A few years later, I did a trip from Charlotte NC over to Southern Pines and paid a visit to Casino Guitars and I knew then it was time to build my dream Stratocaster.
I worked with Jonathan Robinson (who is a great touring musician as well so go check him out), and started the discussion of what I wanted and how to put it all together. That initial process took around a month, talking through options, and I had a couple questions that went to Fender and back as well. BTW, Casino Guitars is fantastic to work with and I highly recommend you call them or visit them online.
But the basic stats ended up like this:
If you do not know, The Custom Shop creates a Floor Traveler, which is the build/specifications sheet for each custom guitar. They create this and send it to you to review and make sure everything is exactly how you want it. I looked it over and said, "it looks good, so let us get this build started~!" The Floor Traveler for my Strat is below.
But what that really means is, let us start the hurry up and wait a long time phase.
My Strat was certified and complete in April 2023 and turned out quite nicely.
The entire proccess took about a year and half. Maybe a little more. I imagine many of you will ask, is it worth it? Well, it is subjective and everyone will have their own opinion, but to me it was one of the best things I have ever done. I got my exact spec dream guitar and it turned out better than I ever could have imagined. I am so very glad I went through with the order process and waited for the guitar to be built. Plus, it is kind of cool to have a one of a kind instrument made just for you. If you are on the fence and love guitar, I would tell you to just do it and don't look back.
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