A somewhat unexpected NGD

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HarlowTheFish
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A somewhat unexpected NGD

Postby HarlowTheFish » Fri May 17, 2019 12:19 pm

Pics first, I know. I only got one because I'm at my girlfriend's and it's raining outside. More when I get home, but honestly this looks basically the same as the stock photos other than the neck and fretboard both being the same sort of cappuccino color.

classic 6 (1).jpg


See, I really wanted a nice hot-rodded strat at the beginning of the year, and when the Delos came out I got super excited because it was basically exactly what I wanted, and I already knew I was a fan of the Kiesel stuff. Then around 2 months ago I started getting weird hand and forearm cramps, and for about the last month I've been avoiding playing guitar for more than 15-30 minutes at a time because otherwise my hands would just be sore and super weak for the rest of the day (being in college and having finals is a really bad time for this). So I decided to just make a sensible investment in something that many people, online and in person, have told me is a really good guitar for people having this kind of issue: a Strandberg.

This is a Classic 6, which is tied for their cheapest model currently (the hardtail Standard goes for the same). It's a solid alder body, roasted maple endurneck with carbon fiber laminates, pau ferro fretboard, and the EGS Rev. 5 hardware in chrome. 24 stainless frets (in some Jescar size I can't decipher, feel like med-jumbos), HSS with their own pickups (not a generic OEM one, it's made in Korea IIRC but to their own spec), volume, tone and a 5 way switch. The guitar weighs as much as the gig bag, which is wild.

Soundwise, the humbucker is nice, pretty full and warm without being mushy, tight enough to do heavy stuff but with enough give to not be stiff. The middle single-coil is usable (which is saying something, because I usually skip right over it) and sounds really good with gain for a really woody, percussive kinda sound, and the neck is IMO instant Adrian Smith. I kind of expected the pickups to suck, but I actually really like them. My apartment's a noise trap though, so it's gonna get some Dimarzios (Transition bridge, and 2x Injectors) or some creative wiring (I have an Ibby HH 5-way that could get me noise cancelling in every position but more humbuckery than single-coil tones). Not quite sure yet.

And the thing you've all been waiting for: the Endurneck. I'll say this: I kept hearing "oh it's just 5 minutes and you'll adjust", but it took me 10 minutes of playing to realize that I didn't even have to do that. It just kinda worked incredibly intuitively to an uncanny degree. Like, it looks weird, it shouldn't be comfy, but yesterday I spent a full hour playing and had zero tension and zero pain. I can see folks who play with the neck more parallel to the ground and thumb over having some trouble with it, but if you have it higher than like 20 degrees up and keep your thumb behind the neck (not necessarily in the middle, just not over the edge) then it should probably work fine. I keep it between 25 and 60 degrees depending on what I'm playing, and my thumb follows the middle flat surface pretty much all the way to the neck joint.

QC-wise, the only issue was a tiny tiny ding by one of the screw holes in the neck joint. It's set up and plays as well as my CL6 when I got it. Indonesian made, sure, if you're picky about that (fair enough, no shade), but the quality is on par with my Kiesel and Prestige RG IMO (and better than the Gibson I got a few years back - talk about a lemon).

I'm gonna be honest, this is probably one of the nicest playing, most resonant, and best sounding Strats I've ever played (sorry Suhr). When I got my CL6, it kinda blew me away, but I thought it was just a build quality thing, but with headless #2, even with completely different specs, there's something about how focused and precised the sound is without getting pinched or nasal that both of them have that I can't really attribute to any spec other than lack of a headstock. Just my unscientific $0.02, but I think I might stick with headless for the foreseeable future.
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UnexplodedCow
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Re: A somewhat unexpected NGD

Postby UnexplodedCow » Fri May 17, 2019 1:42 pm

Congrats on the new piece! I've wanted to try one, just to see what the Endureneck is all about, but haven't come across one in the wild. It's also great that it's working for your hand situation; those are no fun.

One thought on the sustain and resonance; probably due to the headless design. It seems to make a noticeable difference in my experiences, and some of the physics bear that out. Less potential sympathetic vibrations from the strings that sit over the headstock, and more downforce on the nut/zero fret. Just the lessening of sympathetic vibrations alone will make a difference.

I love headless designs, and one day, hopefully, I'll get to try a Strandberg and enjoy.
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HarlowTheFish
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Re: A somewhat unexpected NGD

Postby HarlowTheFish » Fri May 17, 2019 2:21 pm

UnexplodedCow wrote:Congrats on the new piece! I've wanted to try one, just to see what the Endureneck is all about, but haven't come across one in the wild. It's also great that it's working for your hand situation; those are no fun.

One thought on the sustain and resonance; probably due to the headless design. It seems to make a noticeable difference in my experiences, and some of the physics bear that out. Less potential sympathetic vibrations from the strings that sit over the headstock, and more downforce on the nut/zero fret. Just the lessening of sympathetic vibrations alone will make a difference.

I love headless designs, and one day, hopefully, I'll get to try a Strandberg and enjoy.

Thanks Cow! Anybody on here close to you? https://strandbergguitars.com/dealers/
Guitar Center is a dealer, but they don't carry them in store anywhere, and they seem unwilling to order one in unless you're going to buy it -- which, fair enough, these are odd ducks -- so ymmv on availability from them.

Interesting to hear about the physics of it. It's interesting to me as a tonewoods-make-a-difference-but-it's-mostly-acoustic guys to hear the same resonant acoustic qualities so present in the amplified tone of both the Strandy and the Kiesel. I'm curious as to whether that's because the pickups complement that by being very transparent and evenly-voiced (which makes sense for the Lithiums, Jeff's said that was the general idea) or in spite of the pickups' voicing.

Welp, guess I need to get some pickups and get soldering. I'm not complaining, it's... umm... for science! Yeah! That's gonna be the official line, nobody spill the beans :ninja:

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Re: A somewhat unexpected NGD

Postby X1Glider » Sat May 18, 2019 12:22 am

Congrats Harlow. The endure neck is pretty cool. The Skervesen I have in the works has their own version that is not so visually obvious (not square edged) so I'm anxious to wrap my hands around it by year's end.

I toyed with getting the Boden Metal 7 after I tried a couple from some owners in the owner's network. (contacted them and arranged to play their guitars...also a good reason to jump on the motorcycle for a 50 mile ride!) Then I found Skervesen that seemed even more ergonomic and was willing to do a few other things I wanted. But I liked the Boden enough that I do want to buy a Salen model, likely the butterscotch... to me the only good Tele comes in butterscotch :P ). I've always loved the sound of a black guard Tele, just hated how a real Tele feels and plays. So, I think the Salen will be a buy that I'll be happy with.

One thing I would like to hear from you is a review on just the trem on the Strandberg. I said to myself I am done with fulcrum trems, I've learned to hate them. I'll be converting my Floyd Carvins to Kahlers and refinishing. But I might want a Strandberg trem, either on a Boden or another Skervesen. Not everyone here likes the headless trems on the Kiesels, claiming either too heavy, notchy to tune, etc. I'd rather hear a review from a Carvin/Kiesel guy than a biased review on the Strandberg forum.

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Re: A somewhat unexpected NGD

Postby HarlowTheFish » Sat May 18, 2019 9:14 am

X1Glider wrote:Congrats Harlow. The endure neck is pretty cool. The Skervesen I have in the works has their own version that is not so visually obvious (not square edged) so I'm anxious to wrap my hands around it by year's end.

I toyed with getting the Boden Metal 7 after I tried a couple from some owners in the owner's network. (contacted them and arranged to play their guitars...also a good reason to jump on the motorcycle for a 50 mile ride!) Then I found Skervesen that seemed even more ergonomic and was willing to do a few other things I wanted. But I liked the Boden enough that I do want to buy a Salen model, likely the butterscotch... to me the only good Tele comes in butterscotch :P ). I've always loved the sound of a black guard Tele, just hated how a real Tele feels and plays. So, I think the Salen will be a buy that I'll be happy with.

One thing I would like to hear from you is a review on just the trem on the Strandberg. I said to myself I am done with fulcrum trems, I've learned to hate them. I'll be converting my Floyd Carvins to Kahlers and refinishing. But I might want a Strandberg trem, either on a Boden or another Skervesen. Not everyone here likes the headless trems on the Kiesels, claiming either too heavy, notchy to tune, etc. I'd rather hear a review from a Carvin/Kiesel guy than a biased review on the
Strandberg forum.

Thanks X1! Honestly, I would probably have gotten a Salen if it wasn't for the price and the bridge pickup not having a baseplate, because IMO (and this applies to the Tom Anderson teles as well) a tele without one isn't a real tele. I will say if you're interested see if you can try the Salen Standard (solidbody) and the Deluxe (heavily chambered like most of the Bodens).

As far as the trem, IMO:

Strandberg EGS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Ibanez Edge >>> G&L Dual fulcrum/Hipshot Contour >> everything else

I'm not a trem guy, my first nice guitar was an an old MIJ ESP Eclipse, my Ibby had the trem blocked like 2 months after I got it, and if the Classic was available in a hardtail for less $$ I would have gone for that, but honestly? The EGS trem feels like a hardtail (really reminiscent of a TOM because you can put your hand on the strings behind the saddle), responds like a hardtail, resonates like one too (IMO, this guitar is as alive as my hardtail Kiesel), but with the added bonus of being a really responsive, really smooth trem. The range is a little limited compared to the Contour or a Floyd, but it feels a lot better to me.

I haven't had a chance to try one of the Kiesel headless trems, but the hardtail headless hardware is definitely chunky and gets a little notchy if you have light strings (I play 11-60 in Drop D, and the high tension helps alleviate that a little); and the Contour trem (seeing as how the headless trem was advertised as being basically a Contour with tuners) I find a little finicky for setup. These aren't necessarily bad things (and I will note the Strandberg tuners are harder to turn, but smoother), because I think the Hipshot hardware is maybe a little heavier-duty. The EGS trem feels like futuristic engineering magic, and the Hipshot hardware feels super familiar.

Bonus points to the EGS for having better chrome on the bridge than the black on the hipshot, mine gets super grimy and gross from playing just a little bit because I think hand oils stick to that finish really easily.

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UnexplodedCow
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Re: A somewhat unexpected NGD

Postby UnexplodedCow » Mon May 20, 2019 6:01 am

I'm not a tonewood guy as far as electrics go. However, I love discussing material physics and postulating how they may influence sustain or other harmonics, though I like different pickups, and their respective control circuits. Amps are cool, too, and I think altogether they influence the tone. Still, when the design is simpler, usually the result is an improvement. Something about Occam's razor is probably a good reference.

In any case, the nearest Guitar Center that has a Strandberg in stock is 300 miles from me. The local one never stocks them, either, and the guys don't seem to know they sell 'em. But, they will absolutely try to push one of the 200 Squiers or Mexican Fenders...and their left-handed selection is literally unreachable above the front door, and asking someone to get one is an exercise in futility. *shrug* I'll find one some day.
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Re: A somewhat unexpected NGD

Postby X1Glider » Mon May 20, 2019 9:37 pm

Cow, I believe if you order online what they offer in their standard lineup, there's a trial period of 7 or 10 days (I haven't looked in a long time) like we've grown up with Carvin. You may need to pay shipping back, but no restock fee.

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Re: A somewhat unexpected NGD

Postby X1Glider » Mon May 20, 2019 10:00 pm

HarlowTheFish wrote:and the bridge pickup not having a baseplate, because IMO (and this applies to the Tom Anderson teles as well) a tele without one isn't a real tele.

If I do end up getting the Salen, I think I would design a bridge base plate like you are interested in then take it to the fab shop I used to work at to get it machined, because the plate has radiused grooves for the tuner barrels. Then I'd get it plated somewhere. Might as well make a few more while I'm at it. But that's a ways out till it happens.

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Re: A somewhat unexpected NGD

Postby UnexplodedCow » Tue May 21, 2019 6:18 am

X1Glider wrote:Cow, I believe if you order online what they offer in their standard lineup, there's a trial period of 7 or 10 days (I haven't looked in a long time) like we've grown up with Carvin. You may need to pay shipping back, but no restock fee.


I'd feel a bit dishonest ordering one, because I don't really want another guitar, but would only like to try it out as it's a nice departure from tradition, so it'd only be a trial for trial's sake, and for that reason alone, I'd be far more comfortable with finding one to just try. I'm sure one will eventually cross paths.
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Guitar theorem: G=X+1 where G= guitars one needs, and X = guitars one has.

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Re: A somewhat unexpected NGD

Postby arahobob » Mon May 27, 2019 6:33 am

I had a os7
Loved the body shape, the weight, and the fan.
Hated the emgs (fixable)
Hated the endurneck - felt great above the 12th, but really bugged me on the low frets. Super uncomfortable for me.


Back it went (2 week trial I believe)

I'm glad you're digging yours thought. Their strat and tele offerings are cool.
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Some sort of multiscale 6 HSS with RAD ASH
JB Numbers Guitar (July sale has given me the itch!)


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