Today’s guitar review will be on the Nash S-68 HX that I recently acquired and I’ve had now for about a month. As a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix, it is only natural to want to play an upside down stratocaster for not only added mojo, but a unique sound due to the reverse headstock and pickups. I already own a lefty Fender MIJ ’68 reissue (read the review of that here) which I flipped upside down to play righty. So now I can definitely compare the two guitars which have very different price points; the Fender MIJ costing $600 used, and the Nash S-68HX at $2000 new.
First a note about the purchase of the Nash. I bought it from Prymaxe Vintage and found that their customer service was quite bad. I received the guitar without a whammy bar which it is supposed to come with. When I brought this up to Prymaxe, they basically said they didn’t have one for me, nor did they offer to get me one. I then emailed Nash directly and got a response right away from Bill Nash himself who sent me a whammy bar the same day. Now that is service. Thanks Bill! Now lets get to back to the review.
Fit and Finish
I must say, I was very impressed. A big reason I got the Nash over a Fender is because of the thin nitrocellulose finish. In my opinion, this allows the guitar to breathe and has more resonance and sustain, unlike many thick poly finishes found on Fender guitars. I also liked the look of the relic, which I’m not usually big on, but this one was a light relic and done tastefully. The neck feels really great as well and the back of it has the finish completely taken off. This results in a smoothness that makes it easy to go up and down the neck very quickly without any sticking. While the guitar has a slight bit of buzz, which is to be expected when getting a guitar shipped, the rest was flawless. Action nice and low, intonation spot on, lots of sustain, and all the good things you expect from guitar at this price point. I’ve played some custom shop Fenders and IMO the Nash is right up there with them. The only complaint I have is that using the whammy results in the strings going out of tune. In doing some research and speaking with another Nash owner, this is due to the tusk nut which I will promptly be changing to bone as soon as I can. All in all, the Nash in fit and finish is miles ahead of my MIJ strat.
Now for one for biggest factors… how does she sound? Very very sweet and beautiful. There is quite a lot of low end likely due to the strat being upside down, which is welcome since many strats can be thin sounding. In my opinion, sound is due to a few factors.. 1) how well it is in tune and intonated 2) the quality of wood, how its put together and finished, and 3) of course the pickups. So the wood quality, its build and the intonation are all incredible and meet my expectations. The pickups are excellent. They are Lollers and are the dirty blonde set. To my ear, they have a late ’50s/early ’60s sound which is what this set is going after. I was hoping the Nash would have a ’68 spec set of single coils to go in. Though not a big deal, I currently have Slider ’68 pickups in the MIJ strat which I plan on putting in the Nash. I also noticed that the tone controls are wired for the neck and bridge pickups, whereas most strats have the tone controls for the neck and middle pickup. I do enjoy this feature, though it it not true to a vintage spec strat. When it comes to the reverse headstock, the sound is definitely altered a bit. It still sounds like a strat, but a very unique one which has a more of a Jimi Hendrix kind of sound.
I am very happy with my Nash S-68 HX strat. It plays beautifully, always sounds good and just feels like a very quality instrument, unlike my Fender MIJ strat. If you are planning on buying a Fender Custom Shop, I would highly recommend to consider a Nash as they will not only save you some coin, but also give the custom shops a run for their money!