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***Secret FSR Fender guitars? Yes, they exist, and they're right here

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Some guys like a Stratocaster with gold hardware

Fender FSR Special Edition '50s Stratocaster Electric Guitar (Gold Hardware, Fiesta Red)

Is gold on a Fender Strat a bit kitschy? Yes. But there are some guys that like it.

Seen above is a Fender Special Run '50s Stratocaster with the full gold treatment. And by full treatment, I mean that almost every single thing that is metal on this guitar is gold. Bridge, string saddles, all screws (including screws that hold the rear plate,) neck bolt plate, tuner buttons, tuning posts, strap buttons, string guide and even the tremolo arm.

The only things not gold on this Strat are the pickup pole pieces and the frets. Other than that, all metal parts are in a gold color.

I've mentioned guitars with the gold hardware treatment here before and will mention the same warnings I always do whenever I talk about one of these based on my personal experience.

Gold finishing will wear off over time if the guitar is played regularly.

On this particular Strat, the gold will wear down at the bridge around where the 4, 5 and 6 strings sit. Why? Because most Strat players rest their picking hand palm on the bridge when playing. All that palm rubbing over time wears the gold off where you'll see steel come through eventually. This is not necessarily a bad look when it happens, but just know that yes, it will happen.

The gold will also get a bit dinged and scratched up at the output jack from plugging and unplugging a guitar cord in there over time as well. The gold won't wear down, but scratches will happen and that's just the way it is.

My biggest warning however about gold hardware guitars is this: Do NOT lose anything that comes with this guitar. If you don't use that tremolo arm, don't throw it out. Just store it away somewhere. If you swap out anything gold for different hardware, the same applies. Keep all the original gold stuff.

Do you keep the gold hardware for resale value? No. You keep it because it's difficult to source official Fender replacements just in case you ever want to put your guitar back to 100% original condition. If you want regular steel stuff, those parts are easy to source. For gold, not-so much. Yes, you can get third-party gold hardware, but the color will be slightly different than the gold already on the guitar.

And speaking of color, gold changes even with Fender-issued parts from year to year. On some years it's brighter while on other years it has more yellow in it and is slightly darker.

Again, if you buy this guitar, just make sure to keep all original hardware and you'll be fine. Lose hardware, and you'll kick yourself for it.

What does this guitar sound like?

It is usually true that Fender will put pickups with AlNiCo (aluminum, cobalt, nickel) magnets in them that are III strength for '50s model Strats and V strength for '60s model Strats. Generally speaking, AlNiCo III has less volume with greater treble response while AlNiCo V has more volume with less treble response.

Said in plain English: Unless stated otherwise, a Strat designated as a '50s guitar by Fender has "very clean" voicing to it. When you want a Strat with that sought-after "bell-like chime,", pickups with the AlNiCo III pole piece magnets are usually the best way to get that sound - and that should be what's in this particular Strat with gold hardware.

And remember, the easy way to boost volume with pickups that have AlNiCo III magnets is just to use a compressor effect; there's no shame in doing that. When you want the bell-like chime and some boost for more prominent notes and chords, that's the way to get it.

Worth getting?

If you like the gold, yes.

Does this guitar cost any more than a non-gold '50s Strat? Yes, but not by too much, relatively speaking.

Can you get this guitar with a rosewood fingerboard? No. Strats designated as '50s guitars all have 1-piece maple necks. Strats designated as '60s guitars all have rosewood (or other darker wood) fingerboards.


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