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Thread: So, I've been bitten by the Fender American Vintage series Stratocaster bug (NF3)

  1. #1

    So, I've been bitten by the Fender American Vintage series Stratocaster bug (NF3)

    I had no idea about the release of Fender American Vintage series Strats and Teles in 2013 until I tried a used 1959 Strat the other day and was really impressed with practically everything, from the neck feel, tone and quality that bespeak of Fender Custom Shop guitars. Still, because they are made to vintage specs the radius is 7.5" with 21 frets though they come with a 5-way blade.

    NOW, I've also been wanting to get a NF3 after viewing many YouTube videos. But, I've yet to play one! So, NF3 owners (who, especially love Strats) please chime in on your experience with the NF3 with regard to feel, tone, playability, etc. Thanks!
    Modern Eagle I SC Trem NOS (2007); 2005 Custom 24 Artist; 1994 Standard 24; 1996 Tom Anderson Drop Top Koa; 1985 48th St Custom Shop Custom Tele; 1983 Guild S281; 1956 Gibson ES225TD; Breedlove C25/SME; Dr. Z Mas 18NR; Rivera Quiana Studio; Peavey Classic 30.

  2. #2
    Happy Egads's Avatar
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    Feel and playability are awesome. Tones are different. The tones are good, but not exactly a Strat.

  3. #3
    Member Whitecat's Avatar
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    The NF3 can do a fairly convincing 'in-between' Strat-esque sound. But the individual single pickup positions on the switch are not Strat-like at all IMO.
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    Senior Member wardog's Avatar
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    I agree the nf3 is a killer and it would have been a nice replacement for the strat I got ride off. but. the studio is the one to get. It give a strat and a tele sound. I love my studio!!!! What I really like is it looks like a prs too
    I like surprises!!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    I tried out a Studio and thought the NF's got a nice single coil type tone with the volume turned down to 7 or 8. Not exact, but it was in the territory. I have serious GAS for the NF3, especially after seeing Jimmy Herring tear it up playing one in The Ringers.

    Another option is the DC3. I played one of those and I felt that it nailed the Strat tones. If I were in the market, I'd choose it over a Fender in a snap.
    --Garrett--

  6. #6
    Junior Member Duffy's Avatar
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    Owning one of the Fender American Vintage strats would be something I could personally feel proud of. Of course an equivalent, or even quite similar PRS would also be an honor to own.

    I don't get hung up on brand exclusivity, although I like the PRS SE's that I have which now number three.. I just got a new Santana SE in Santana yellow and it is an awesome guitar. I own a Fender American Standard strat and like it. I also own two very nice MIM strats - a Lonestar and a Roadhouse, both black with tortoise shell pickguards. Right now I'm playing a PRS SE Standard I just got out of my guitar room but my Fender '72 Custom Telecaster RI was just plugged into my Marshall and I have been playing it for the last two days, and it sounds awesome, bright, and crystal clear thru the clean/crunch of my DSL100H and Avatar Vintage cab with twin Eminence Swamp Thang speakers.

    The SE Standard is something I know very little about other than that I own one. It feels good to play and sounds good thru my Marshall. The twin humbuckers are very good, especially, I suppose, since it has a Seymour Duncan matching black open coil bridge JB pickup. It came with the stock SE bridge pickup and I might put it back in, but the JB is very clear and sounds very different from the mellow PRS SE neck pickup - they compliment each other. The PRS SE pickup at the neck is not muddy.

    I would be happy to get either the Fender or the PRS. It looks like you are in a no lose position if it comes down to getting one or the other of those two guitars.

    Good luck and make it happen.
    "Now all the things that use to mean so much to me has got me old before my time." G. Allman, "Old Before My Time", Hittin' The Note cd.

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    You could look into the Swamp ash studio as well, if any dealers around still carry them. The wood might be better for strat tones? But the bridge pickup is a (splittable) humbucker.

    Actually, they had a swamp ash special 25th anniversary edition, which was 3xNFs, I think?

  8. #8
    Thanks for chiming in everyone thus far!

    So, on my way to a meeting down in Southern NJ I stopped by two Guitar Centers. The last one happened to have a black NF3 and a "C" head on clearance. Excited, I tried out both and was underwhelmed by both

    First, the "C" amp cleans didn't have enough headroom and the dirty channel was a bit harsh. The black NF3 had a maple neck. Overall, I felt a bit cramped even though it's only 1/4" shorter in scale. I guess with the Stratocaster in mind, perhaps, it was not a fair comparison. But, I think it would be foolish to expect a "pure" Strat tone out of the narrowfields. Yes, the 2nd and 4th positions definitely copped the Fender tones, but the neck position was lacking that "nasal" and resonant tone.

    As suggested above, I might be better off with a SAS (I had the older model before) or a Studio Or, a DGT Standard as I'm on a Mahogany kick!
    Last edited by enigma; 01-28-2014 at 01:59 PM.
    Modern Eagle I SC Trem NOS (2007); 2005 Custom 24 Artist; 1994 Standard 24; 1996 Tom Anderson Drop Top Koa; 1985 48th St Custom Shop Custom Tele; 1983 Guild S281; 1956 Gibson ES225TD; Breedlove C25/SME; Dr. Z Mas 18NR; Rivera Quiana Studio; Peavey Classic 30.

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    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    What Strat tones are you looking for? i.e.: in-between, single-neck, etc...

    I love the way Strats an Teles sound but hate the way they feel and look. I thought a 305 was gonna "do it" for me but each time I've tried one I've put it down not wanting one anymore.

    I so wish PRS would make a CE/SAS bolt on with a sound similar to position "2" (or is it 9?) on a rotary with an option for a single coil in the neck kinda tone. As it stands I'm still rockin' two guitars to get both tones: any of my rotary equipped guitars and the two I've put those fugly adapter rings and "actual" single coil pups in.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    What Strat tones are you looking for? i.e.: in-between, single-neck, etc...

    I love the way Strats an Teles sound but hate the way they feel and look. I thought a 305 was gonna "do it" for me but each time I've tried one I've put it down not wanting one anymore.

    I so wish PRS would make a CE/SAS bolt on with a sound similar to position "2" (or is it 9?) on a rotary with an option for a single coil in the neck kinda tone. As it stands I'm still rockin' two guitars to get both tones: any of my rotary equipped guitars and the two I've put those fugly adapter rings and "actual" single coil pups in.
    Check out the Fender American Vintage series that came out in 2013: '56, '59 and '65 Stratocaster. I tried the '56 and Fender nailed it, both in tone and neck carve/feel. I'm all about that right neck tone (hot Texas tone). 2nd and 4th positions can be had by many Fender models.
    Modern Eagle I SC Trem NOS (2007); 2005 Custom 24 Artist; 1994 Standard 24; 1996 Tom Anderson Drop Top Koa; 1985 48th St Custom Shop Custom Tele; 1983 Guild S281; 1956 Gibson ES225TD; Breedlove C25/SME; Dr. Z Mas 18NR; Rivera Quiana Studio; Peavey Classic 30.

  11. #11
    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    I dont understand the concept of buying a PRS guitar for stratocaster sound.For a stratocaster sound i would buy a stratocaster.For a PRS NF3 sound i would buy a PRS NF3.Very cool guitar and the NF3s sounds very interesting.Looks cool too!
    I de-modded my CU22 soapbar and made a factory spec setup.Im in love again.I very much believe now PRS guitars are perfect as they are.

  12. #12
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigma View Post
    Check out the Fender American Vintage series that came out in 2013: '56, '59 and '65 Stratocaster. I tried the '56 and Fender nailed it, both in tone and neck carve/feel. I'm all about that right neck tone (hot Texas tone). 2nd and 4th positions can be had by many Fender models.
    Yeah... but I don't want one of those, remember I think that "all other guitars are just stupid"

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by swede71 View Post
    I dont understand the concept of buying a PRS guitar for stratocaster sound.For a stratocaster sound i would buy a stratocaster.For a PRS NF3 sound i would buy a PRS NF3.Very cool guitar and the NF3s sounds very interesting.Looks cool too!
    Im looking to buy a PRS model "inspired" by the iconic Straticaster that, as a result, competes with it as well as give a modern or PRS iteration of it; hence the desire to test out and learn more about the NF3 model.
    Modern Eagle I SC Trem NOS (2007); 2005 Custom 24 Artist; 1994 Standard 24; 1996 Tom Anderson Drop Top Koa; 1985 48th St Custom Shop Custom Tele; 1983 Guild S281; 1956 Gibson ES225TD; Breedlove C25/SME; Dr. Z Mas 18NR; Rivera Quiana Studio; Peavey Classic 30.

  14. #14
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swede71 View Post
    I dont understand the concept of buying a PRS guitar for stratocaster sound.For a stratocaster sound i would buy a stratocaster.For a PRS NF3 sound i would buy a PRS NF3.Very cool guitar and the NF3s sounds very interesting.Looks cool too!
    In my case I feel the concept is quite sound. I hate pick guards, can't deal with where the knobs on a Strat are, think the hardware (esp. the bridge) isn't all that bangin', and find the shape uncomfortable. I'm not even that much of a "tone" guy, meaning by that I only require my brain to recognize "Oh, that's supposed to sound like a Strat" rather than obsess over the subtle nuances of tone.

    I really do appreciate how PRS is always trying to make things better, and I went into PRS 20 years ago knowing that my guitar wasn't going to be exactly like a LP or a Tele but... I just kinda think that PRS (himself or perhaps the company) really fuggin HATES hum! (although p-90's seem to get a pass)

    From the Fralin Domino pups in the early EGs, the Single Coil Bass in the Studios, the NF's, the 513/305, and now the 408s there has always been a "quest" of sorts, to redesign or improve the single coil pickup. ( the one exception was the old 2nd Studio model)

    In the end it really doesn't matter, and I am quite happy with the guitars the PRS makes, and if I'm not... I just mod it to my tastes anyway. I do see a trend of the old single in the neck/ hum bucker at the bridge style from the 80's making a comeback in the near future, and would like to see something like that with PRS on the headstock besides Hans' White Rabbit an' BMF and my modded KL and CE out there... Oh and Jose's SC with a tele neck pup.

    But three dudes do not a market make.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigma View Post
    Thanks for chiming in everyone thus far!

    So, on my way to a meeting down in Southern NJ I stopped by two Guitar Centers. The last one happened to have a black NF3 and a "C" head on clearance. Excited, I tried out both and was underwhelmed by both

    First, the "C" amp cleans didn't have enough headroom and the dirty channel was a bit harsh. The black NF3 had a maple neck. Overall, I felt a bit cramped even though it's only 1/4" shorter in scale. I guess with the Stratocaster in mind, perhaps, it was not a fair comparison. But, I think it would be foolish to expect a "pure" Strat tone out of the narrowfields. Yes, the 2nd and 4th positions definitely copped the Fender tones, but the neck position was lacking that "nasal" and resonant tone.

    As suggested above, I might be better off with a SAS (I had the older model before) or a Studio Or, a DGT Standard as I'm on a Mahogany kick!

    As I keep posting in other threads, I am on the verge of buying a Brent Mason. you could check that out. That should have some good single coil tones (if Brent is willing to put his name on it). The body is korina/limba, which is a cousin to mahogany as I understand it. It would also be validating my choice to get one, which is always nice.... ;-) It has a middle pickup, and two 408s which get rave reviews almost everywhere I look (although more similar to the ones in Pauls guitar than the actual 408 model, I think - the bridge at least - still different though).

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    Yeah... but I don't want one of those, remember I think that "all other guitars are just stupid"
    Well, I think those that bad mouth PRS without any substantiation (and there are none, I might add!) are "stupid."
    Modern Eagle I SC Trem NOS (2007); 2005 Custom 24 Artist; 1994 Standard 24; 1996 Tom Anderson Drop Top Koa; 1985 48th St Custom Shop Custom Tele; 1983 Guild S281; 1956 Gibson ES225TD; Breedlove C25/SME; Dr. Z Mas 18NR; Rivera Quiana Studio; Peavey Classic 30.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael_DK View Post
    As I keep posting in other threads, I am on the verge of buying a Brent Mason. you could check that out. That should have some good single coil tones (if Brent is willing to put his name on it). The body is korina/limba, which is a cousin to mahogany as I understand it. It would also be validating my choice to get one, which is always nice.... ;-) It has a middle pickup, and two 408s which get rave reviews almost everywhere I look (although more similar to the ones in Pauls guitar than the actual 408 model, I think - the bridge at least - still different though).
    I need to check the Brent Mason model out, though it's hard to find. And, many GCs around me do not carry PRS anymore!
    Modern Eagle I SC Trem NOS (2007); 2005 Custom 24 Artist; 1994 Standard 24; 1996 Tom Anderson Drop Top Koa; 1985 48th St Custom Shop Custom Tele; 1983 Guild S281; 1956 Gibson ES225TD; Breedlove C25/SME; Dr. Z Mas 18NR; Rivera Quiana Studio; Peavey Classic 30.

  18. #18
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    Nothing will nail a Strat sound except a Strat (or something real close like a G&L Legacy). I've been a Strat and Tele player for years, but since I've got a Strat and several Teles (not all of them Fenders), I wasn't looking to replace my Strat with a PRS; I was more interested to see what they were doing for us single-coil guys. Although I was very impressed with the 305, and came real close to getting a DC3 (which is more Tele-like than Strat-like in the bridge position--right up my alley!), I've wound up with a Brent Mason, which I like precisely because it doesn't sound just like a Strat, although it can suggest one well enough, and it also does great humbucker tones too. Although if you're a metal guy you might not think so...but I dig it; it covers everything I need it to, including jazz. A DC3 might be a bit better at the Strat/Tele thing, but the Brent Mason is a lot more versatile. If you don't need the humbucker sounds, you might prefer the DC3, but you really can't go wrong with either one.

  19. #19
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    I have a DC3 and an American Strat Deluxe.... I would say the DC3 is pretty close to a strat "sound" but a tad more accoustic, airy and a bit warmer. More a strat vibe, than strat sound. Also, the DC3 is much easier to play and stays in tune better.
    Last edited by vox801; 01-31-2014 at 08:46 AM.
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  20. #20
    I may have to also reconsider the 513 model.
    Modern Eagle I SC Trem NOS (2007); 2005 Custom 24 Artist; 1994 Standard 24; 1996 Tom Anderson Drop Top Koa; 1985 48th St Custom Shop Custom Tele; 1983 Guild S281; 1956 Gibson ES225TD; Breedlove C25/SME; Dr. Z Mas 18NR; Rivera Quiana Studio; Peavey Classic 30.

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