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.