Todays review is on one of my favorite guitars I own, a Fender MIJ 1968 Reissue Strat. If you are familiar with this guitar, you know thats its not easy to attain as they aren’t made anymore. I had actually gotten lucky. One day I was gas-ing for this strat in particular and decided to check Ebay to see if any were listed. I had done this in the past, but only found one or two that were very overpriced due of the rarity of the instrument. But on this particular day, there happened to be one for about $500 or $600.
There was one catch however: it was a lefty strat. Being a big fan of Jimi Hendrix, I took the opportunity to flip the guitar upside down and play it that way. It was a ’68 strat after all. After another couple hundred to cover shipping, taxes, and a new nut for the reversing, this strat was ready to play!
The neck on the 1968 reissue strat is probably the best features on the guitar all together! Reason being is that its maple capped. What this means is that instead of the neck being all one-piece maple, the maple fretboard is separate and glued on, much like a rosewood fretboard strat. This was only done around this time period in the late 60s’. The result is one of the smoothest necks I’ve ever played on. Two things to note, the neck is extremely thin, which is ideal for fretting with your thumb a la Hendrix. The other notable is that the neck features vintage frets. The fret wire is thinner and smaller than the fret wire used today. I prefer this and find that it contributes to the vintage tone.
The tone of the 68′ strat is very very good. Some notes on the electronics: Many Japanese guitars are quite amazing, but are not usually known for their electronics. What I did is change out the pots and cap for a vintage electronics kit from RS Guitarworks. This really improved the overall tone and usability of this strat. The pickups are very very good though, and I am very happy with the tone they produce. Though I would consider some boutique pickup options is you are really trying to nail the 1968 tone exactly. But don’t worry, the stock pickups do enough justice.
Overall, I gotta say, this is a very very fine instrument, better than the majority of American Made Fender guitars made today (with the exception of the Custom Shop of course). I spent around $750ish in total for a guitar that is worth double that. Right now, it is my main stage guitar. The cleans are sparkling, and when it gets dirty, there is a very nice growl. If you are looking for the Hendrix guitar without shelling out the big bucks, this is it!
Fender 1968 Reissue Strat Sound Clips:
Blues Through a Fender Blues Deluxe