I can't exactly remember which year it was, but it must have been four to five years ago that I first set my eyes on the Buddy Guy signature stratocaster. The first time I saw it was on a famous American online guitr store, where the red and white polka dot guitar was on sale, alongside the black and white polka dot one. At that time, the retail price was US$799 without shipping, and the site was willing to send it to Malaysia. I wanted the red and white one really badly (although I would've been immensely happy with a black and white one too), but the fear of customs tax, shipping cost and the condition of the guitar going through postage made me back out from the purchase. Fast forward to the year 2012, Christmas, and the Big guitar store in Malaysia decided to bring it in.
I had seen this guitar a month before in that BIG shop, with a price point of RM3,200 (roughly US$1,000), I stepped back and figured I'd have to wait it out. Technically, I did.....for a month. I was on a whirlwind trip back to KL, when my musical bro decided to take me to the BIG shop prior to my flight. I had mentioned to him that I may do somethin "stupid" if he brought me in, and well, I guess I did. After going through the store and realising the sale was not up to mark - we bumped into the store manager, who recognizes me as someone who has bought a lot from them (I think the count is at least 12 guitars now), provided me with a nice discount on the guitar. The subsequent actions were a quick 10 step routine;
1. Ask what the discount was
2. Do the math - quick calculation of US price + shipping + tax versus price being offered
3. Test it
4. Get blown away by the testing
5. Ask if there's a new one or only piece
6. Look at musical bro and ask for opinion
7. Consider opinion
8. Do quick finances in head
9. Agree to purchase it
Below I unveil the Buddy Guy signature Stratocaster which has finally made it into my guitar arsenal;
Neck Material: Maple
Neck Profile: Soft V Shape
Body Material: Solid Alder
Neck Pickup: Standard Single Coil Strat
Middle Pickup: Standard Single Coil Strat
Bridge Pickup: Standard Single Coil Strat
Bridge: Vintage bridge with vintage style tremolo arm
Make: Made in Mexico
A few years ago - about the time I was researching this guitar intensely - I came across an article of a reviewer who said that this is the "best Mexican made guitar" ever put out by Fender. I took those words to heart, and always wondered how it would feel like to play this guitar. A few years later, and now just 2 months ago, I finally found out how it felt. This guitar is fluid, plays like a dream, and yes, I do feel more comfortable on this than my American standard. I don't know whether it's the soft V shaped neck profile - but whatever it is, I just "feel" this guitar. The strat tones are glassy and poignant at the same time. Everything feels right, from the neck to body, and you can thoroughly enjoy yourself using this guitar.
Equipped with standard single coil strat pickups, I had a slight concern that these pickups were not "hot" enough - but boy was I wrong. The glassy tone is just right, but yet ready to attack when the overdrive is cranked up and the tone knob at 10. In recent time, I've been having some fun experimenting with tone and volume knob controls, alongside switching pickups quite often throughout one whole solo - and the result is a whole different world of colour when it comes to guitar tones. In any case, this guitar is very sensitive to tone change - be it between pickups, or on amp settings. Below you can witness a video of me playing this guitar on the Marshall OD1 channel, which pumps a slightly less overdrive compared to the OD2 channel. My overdrive knob is around 2-3 o'clock. The harmonics are pure and clear, and you can really feel the texture of the guitar.
Sound aside, this guitar has of course killer looks. Distinctive Buddy Guy polka dots, which just makes this guitar way more fun to play. It's a shame I never managed to get the red and white one, but hey, I'm not complaining with this one either! Check out the clip below for a sample of the tone;
Overall Rating: 9/10
I really love this guitar, and think it is brilliant. It's stage ready, studio ready and everything else + 1.