> We'll agree to differ on that one. I've seen a
> couple done with good results...by somebody much
> better at it than me. And I did say it wasn't easy
Actually, I have never seen it done -
You hardly ever see any other colour than blonde on ash (all other colours are on alder), and I actually have never seen an alder body being refinished to blonde. I have seen blonde on ash refinishes, but the original colour was already blonde. You see it being done on chery Gibson LP Juniors, as "blonde" (TV Yellow on Gibson terms) is much more expensive. Due to th re coloured filler used on mahogany, refinishing into TV Yellow is always ugly.
> CS guitars are out of my personal budget anyway.
> You're mostly paying for cosmetically nice wood
> and a higher level of finishing. The best Strats
> happen by chance anywhere from the Mexican Classic
> range upwards. You just need to spend some time
> finding them. It can save a lot of money.
Well, here I wholeheartedly disagree. In my very humble opinion, guitars from both the Fender and Custom shop are better by miles, and by any other standard. Both Custom Shops are able to produce guitars that rival the best vintage guitars. It's not only "cosmetically nice" wood they use, but the wood really is much better tonewood, making up for a much better sounding guitar. The handwork is much better, the (thin nitro) finishing is much better, the hardware is beter. Really, I find everything much better. I own a '59 Les Paul from the Custom Shop, and this guitar can rival a genuine '59 LP, and it certainly is better than any LP that left the factory after 1960. I also own a Custom Shop Mary Kaye Strat, and this guitar is better than many vintage strats from the 50's and 60's I have played over the years. Both guitar have that dry, hollow phase-like tone quality that you normally only find in vintage guitars. Of course, if you have $25.000 to spend, you can find a better original Strat. but $3500 buys you a close-as-possible to the real deal 50's guitar.
Yes you're right about that cheaper guitars can be great too (one of my main guitars is a Japanese Custom Tele with an original NOS Wide Range Humbucker and Seymour Duncan Antiquity in the bridge), but nothing can beat guitars from the custom shop. They are expensive (and in the case of the '59 LP way too expensive), but they are worth every cent. All in my humble opinion of course.