Fender Fails: Closet Classic Series Guitars Are Nothing New

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Every year Fender attempts to recreate their classic Stratocaster or Precision/Jazz bass somehow. Whether they call it “road worn” and relic the guitar for you, or call it “closet classic” and make it with 100 year old wood with a post-CBS appearance, they never stray too far from the original formula that has made their instruments a worldwide phenomenon. Strangely, this is where Fender is beginning to miss the mark in the consumer-based guitar industry.

Let me get this off my chest before it bothers me any further: THESE INSTRUMENTS ARE ABSOLUTELY OVERPRICED IN THIS MODERN RECESSION! At an MSRP $4,380 for the Closet Classic Pine Stratocaster Pro and $4,200 for the Closet Classic Precision Bass, I’m at a loss for words. I’ve almost overlooked the that the strat is made with 100 year old pine and a killer maple neck that has my favorite 60’s era waterslide decal because my eyes are popping out of my head at the price! I’m not sure who Fender’s trying to market these guitars to, but my guess is that 80% of players will only ever get to play this in their local Guitar Center. That’s after they ask a sales rep to pull it down for them because it costs too much to just leave on the floor.

For $4,200, I can go on Craigslist or eBay right now and buy a 1965-2011 Fender Jazz bass. For $4,380, I can do the same and find an original Stratocaster from the 1970’s and on for around the same price, even less than $4k in some instances. When you’re considering spending $4,000 on a guitar, you’re making an investment. Making a smart investment would be buying a vintage instrument that like a vintage car, seem to double their value, at minimum, every decade. The market of consumers Fender is trying to target would rather spend this money on a custom Strat, or something vintage. Ask any Fender enthusiast.

I guess if you’re John Mayer and sleep in sheets made of $100 bills, then why not snatch up a closet classic or two? Actually, if you look at his collection, it’s laden with vintage and custom shop Fenders. No surprise there, because those two makes are the only guitars that are worth paying upwards of $4,000.

With the standard 9.5 radius fretboard, c shaped neck, and 5-way p/u switching, what’s the real difference in a Closet Classic? It does have the Gotoh locking tuners, and the no-load tone control to really give the high frequencies a chance at making some ears bleed. Besides these things, I don’t really see much other than it’s been made with a piece of pine that’s been aging for 100 years. Who knows, maybe the ancient pine will make the guitar sound like the other half that the pick of destiny belongs to? Maybe you should just save your money and make a real investment instead.

Fender Stratocaster Review

Fender Closet Classic Pine Stratocaster Pro Guitar


  1. I agree 100%.I love strats but c’mon!I can buy all the parts I need on ebay,scrap the body and neck to relic and spend about $400 and it plays great and sounds good.I am by no means a luthier just a tinkerer but low cash makes a man creative.Fender needs to join the real world and realize most musicians cannot afford a guitar that is the price of a used car.I will always play strats but never at that price.Peace…

  2. Completely agree with the likes of Fender & Gibson cashing on their name and overpricing instruments. It’s also difficult to keep up with all the “new” models Fender are churning out these days…

  3. I don’t disagree with you that it’s overpriced. I think both Fender and Gibson have gone completely off the deep end pricewise. However I want to point out that you kept distinguishing this guitar from a Custom Shop. But this IS a Custom Shop guitar. It’s marked as such on the back of the headstock. At least the ones I’ve seen.

  4. You’re right, it technically is a custom shop.

    The thing is, this isn’t a guitar that you have to call the custom shop up about and tell them exactly how you want it made, what shape neck you want, the color, the fingerboard radius, lace sensors or texas specials, oldschol saddles or modern flat ones, etc…so much consideration.

    So to rephrase, why pay tons of $$$ for something that’s already been made when you could have the custom shop make you something completely customized, down to you very last specification?

    If you just want a Fender with the custom shop logo on it, then that’s a different story. Thanks for noticing the confusion though…I like to be clear when writing.

  5. I never bought into the”relicing”fad at all! I just think its stupid to pay extra for some guy at Fender OR Gibson to beat the crap out of a guitar before I bought it just to make others think I’m playing a vintage guitar! I’ve said these guitars were geared towards people who have more money than they have sense! If I buy a”new”guitar then I want to be the one who puts the dents and scratches on it! If I buy a Strat that’s supposed to look like a pre CBS Strat, then I want a”real”pre CBS Strat! Have a great day!
    God Bless!

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