For some reason, I had this Fender Hot Rod ’57 reissue. Ever have those moments like, ‘How did I get this?’ Usually it’s with pedals I’ve found, not whole guitars. But that’s just how gear is. Actually, it’s really quite wonderful.

But, before selling the Fender, I thought it was a prime opportunity to do an actual definitive, shootout between it and my Melancon strat. Now, as much as it joys me (can joys be a verb?…hehe…take that, high school English teachers…you told me one day I’d remember all the stuff you taught me……just proved you wrong! ;) ) to be able to say that my guitar was handmade by a guy cutting down the swamp ash trees in Louisiana while fighting off crocodiles (which, oddly enough, I think is actually true for once), the point is tone……not how cool your gear is. Wow, that was hard to say. So, if the Fender sounds better than the Melancon, I’m keeping the Fender.

And right here would normally be the insert of some random movie picture that has little, if anything, to do with what I’m talking about. And then I would proceed to make fun of it, because of my superior intellect. See? I know where my brain goes. But today, I have some extremely pressing family matters that are taking me out of state. I made a promise to myself when I started this blog to never go into personal matters, so I’ll just leave it at that. But it needs to be mentioned to account for the brevity of this post.

So, without further ado (what does that even mean?), here’s the shootout.

Guitars:

--Fender Hot Rod ’57 reissue Stratocaster with alder body, maple neck, SCN noiseless pickups in the neck and middle, and DiMarzio Tone Zone humbucker in the bridge

–Gerard Melancon Pro Artist S with chambered swamp ash body, maple neck, and Lindy Fralin blues pickups

Chain:

Strats–>

Loop-Master bypass looper–>

Loop-Master bypass looper–>
    (–>Damage Control Timeline delay–>
    (–>Damage Control Timeline delay–>

Divided by 13/Blaha RSA23–>

65 Amps birch cab with Celestion Blue and G12H-30

(Note that for the majority of the shootout, the second Loop-Master is on master bypass, and the signal is not running through the delay pedals.)

Uncontrollable Factors

–The Melancon is ash, and will as such have a brighter sound, and the alder of the Fender will have a darker sound. Also, with the humbucker in the bridge of the Fender and the single coil in the bridge of the Melancon, it’s difficult to pit those two against each other.

Possible Biases

–I love Melancon.

Odd Things

–I seem to talk to myself an exorbitant amount of times in this particular video. And most of it is completely unintelligible. Don’t know if the voices were particularly strong that day, or what.

And the Shootout:

 
The Conclusions

Actually, the Fender sounded quite good, I thought! And the noiseless pickups were very, very quiet. So props to them on that. It was very odd to play a strat without hum. However, I don’t know if it was just me, but there was a sparkle, chime, and a weight to the Melancon’s notes that the Fender just didn’t have. The Fender did have a beefier tone because of the alder, but you could ‘grab’ the notes better with the Melancon. Not exactly sure how to describe it, except to say that when I listened back, the Melancon just had more beauty…simple as that.

But the Fender did sound very good. It surprised me. All except that DiMarzio Tone Zone humbucker. Maybe it’s just my rig, but I didn’t care for that thing. Now, the SCN pickups I thought sounded quite decent. 

So I guess this time I don’t have to eat my words. I really do love Melancon. The guitar, of course, not Gerard Melancon, the guy who makes them. Although, if I ever were to meet him, there might be some awkward man-hugs and girl-tears. Both from my end, of course.

Splendid.
Karl.