Fender Jeff Beck Stratocaster

When Jeff Beck's first signature guitar hit the streets a decade and a half or so ago, eyebrows were raised at the audacity of both Beck and Fender to put out something so… weird.

Apart from a pair of Lace Sensors joined together at the bridge, there was the neck: it was a monster! It actually felt deeper than it was wide, and the most common description was 'baseball bat'.

Big necks do mean big tone, but there has to be some compromise in order to make a guitar do that other important thing that's required of it – play!

Some people did find the original Beck model to their liking, and others struggled with it because they wanted to be like their hero; but the general consensus was that it was a lump too far.

So on this latest incarnation (and the later standard Beck models), out goes the huge 'U' of the old model and in comes a wholly manageable 'C' shape. Like the Clapton, Beck's guitar has 22 frets, but here Jeff has opted for a bit more meat.

As a player renowned for his fretboard antics, it's understandable that he would want the extra bending and vibrato facility afforded by more metal under the fingers.

Playability

The Beck also features a select alder body and maple neck – this time capped with a rosewood board.

Other differences include the modern, two-point floating vibrato with stainless steel saddles, locking Schaller tuners and an LSR roller nut; a system that provides virtually friction-free operation for Jeff's amazing whammy antics.

One further concession to playability is a contoured heel area for extra top-end access.

Again, Lace Sensors have given way to Fender's 'stacked humbucker' Ceramic Noiseless pickups. Legend has it that, when asked what he'd like in his original signature Strat, apart from the big neck Jeff asked for fake pole-pieces to be painted on to the Lace Sensors of a Strat Plus. Doubtless he'll be pleased with the cosmetics of his latest model.

What a great neck. The thick rosewood board, 9.5-inch radius and meaty frets make for blues-rock heaven. Big bends, heavy vibrato and speed are all catered for superbly.

The set-up is dead right, and this extends to the wonderfully in-tune vibrato system. Pull up and the top three strings give a semitone, tone and minor third respectively, making some interesting pedal steel effects possible, while pressing down on the bar allows the kind of control that Beck's playing demands. It's a stunning player.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

Delicious and usable vibrato system. Playable neck. Build quality.

Cons

Expensive compared to regular Artist model.

Verdict

Great build quality and amazing playability. Only real negative is the price.

Available Controls

2 x Tone Master Volume

Available Finish

Olympic White and Surf Green.

Bolt-on Neck

Yes

Bridge

52mm

Case Included

Yes

Circuitry Type

Active

Country of Origin

USA

Cutaway

Yes

Fingerboard Material

Rosewood

Guitar Body Material

Alder

Hardware

Chrome

Inlays

Dot

Neck Material

Maple

No of Strings

6

No. of Frets

22

Nut

LSR roller

Nut Material

Bone

Options

The standard non-Custom Shop Jeff Beck Strat costs £1,299.

Pickguard

Yes

Pickguard Colour

White

Pickguard Material

3-Ply

Pickup Type

3 x Fender Dual-Coil Ceramic Noiseless.

Saddles Material

Stainless Steel

Scale Length (Inches)

25.5

Scale Length (mm)

648

String Spacing

52

Tremolo

Yes

Tremolo Details

Fender Twin-Post Floating Vibrato System.

Weight (kg)

3.35

Weight (lb)

7

Width at Nut (mm)

43

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

Comment on Facebook