2010 Rat Strat Fender Esquire Relic Partscaster Electric Guitar

This is a nasty-sounding, gloriously-funky, relic-job Esquire-style electric that my compatriot Mr. B.C. put together. It's been languishing in somewhat-storage for a while and he had it sent in to get turned into a machine.

As far as I can tell, it has a 2010 Fender MIM Tele neck mated to a who-knows-what body. That body has a bizarre gold sparkle finish underneath its current red topcoat. The "relic" job gives hints of that crazy gold sparkle all over, too. Neat! I like the mix of the thinline-cut pickguard and "normal" Tele hardware, too, as well as the way the red and tortoise looks play off of the intense-relic maple neck.

When it came in, the guitar itself was in pretty good shape, though it just did not play right. I gave the frets the lightest level/dress job and then set to work solving the main problem -- uncompensated saddles (and easy fix with a grinding wheel on my Dremel) and a seized Bigsby whammy unit. That last part was the hardest bit of work: I had to disassemble it, cut down the "roller" downpressure bar and lube it, figure out a better mounting for the non-standard arm, and drill-out the plastic sleeves for the main string-retaining bar, lube said bar, and get it all back together. It now works perfectly and stays in tune just like that. It's always satisfying to get a Bigsby 100% functional.

Specs-wise the guitar is pretty average with a modern, thin-C-profile neck and ~14" fretboard radius. It has the long, 25 1/2" standard scale length, too, and a body that feels ever-so-slightly lighter than average. Being an "Esquire" build, the only pickup is the bridge and the 3-way switch gives altered tones -- its "neck" position is through a tone cap, its "mid" position is the pickup with the tone/volume controls engaged to a user setting, and its "bridge" position has the tone control bypassed for a big, loud, bright, searing, standard Tele tone. I didn't check the wiring, but in the "neck" position, the pickup gives a crazy, somewhat-distorted, gnarled tone that's on the darker side. It's an interesting mix of very useful sounds.

On the neck side, I appreciate a functional truss, straight neck, and jumbo frets.

The brass saddles got compensation for 3-wound, 3-plain stringing and while some of the adjuster posts are seized, I had enough adjustment room to get this playing spot-on at the 12th fret.

The neck has a ton of figured to it.