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2021 Fender Player Stratocaster Limited Edition Surf Pearl

Per my last article, you know I traded out a bunch of guitars to get this one.

The story of this guitar buy

This was rather interesting.

I had no intention of buying the Surf Pearl version of this guitar. What I wanted originally was the Buttercream finish, with the "backup" color being Polar White.

Of the two Guitar Centers near me, one store had both guitars in stock, so I drove on down there to check them out, and this is what happened:

The single Buttercream model had a bad nut where the B and high-E had some sitar noises going on when playing those strings open.

Both Polar White guitars (this store had 2 in this color in stock) had the same problem.

I asked the salesperson if there were any other Player model Strats in stock. Yes. There was the Surf Pearl guitar.

I tried it out and liked it. But I also tried out a Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster. This was really nice, but the pickups just weren't bright enough for my liking. I also tried out a Squier Classic Vibe Jazzmaster. Also nice, but the sound of it didn't really work for me.

The Surf Pearl Strat is what I bought - but - this guitar journey wasn't quite over yet. I mentioned to the salesperson that there was another Buttercream Strat at the other Guitar Center store. He said what I could do is buy the Surf Pearl guitar now with all trade-in and discounts applied, and then just price-match it at the other GC store if I wanted to swap it out with the Buttercream model at the other store. I agreed with this just in case the other Buttercream Strat ended up being a dud.

I left that GC with the Surf Pearl Strat and then immediately drove over to the other GC store to see Buttercream Strat #2.

In I went, found the guitar, plugged in, tuned up, played it, and...

...another bad nut. Sitar noises on the B and high-E.

I asked a salesperson there if that Buttercream Strat was the only one in the store, as sometimes they have more than one in the back that hasn't been unboxed yet. He said yes, that was the only one. I said thank you and left with my Surf Pearl Strat.

It took playing five to find a good one

It took me trying five Player Stratocasters to find one that didn't have a nut with slots cut incorrectly. Two Buttercream, two Polar White, and ending with the Surf Pearl which was the only one of the lot with a proper nut.

This is precisely the reason why I went to try the guitars in person, and why I bought the Surf Pearl Strat right there and then before trying Buttercream #2 at the other GC store. If I hadn't, there was the real possibility I might have ended up with nothing.

The buy of this guitar was one of those "I'd better chance it with this one and take it now just in case the guitar at the other store is a dud...", and I was right.

When buying guitars, it's okay to accept playability flaws if the guitar is cheap. But this guitar is not cheap. It's not Fender Custom Shop expensive either, but still, it's best to check guitars of this price in person just to be absolutely certain everything is okay.


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