Talk me out of a Cutlass…
I have a Valentine that I’m beyond happy with, replaced the bridge pickup with a proper humbucker and it’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to the Les Paul tone without the weight and bulkiness – and with a lot more versatility with the coil split. It can somehow sound both Fendery and Gibsony depending on how it’s dialed in.
Although the Valentine is really versatile, my belief is that nothing is more versatile than a HSS Strat. I also have a Fender Classic 50s Strat (Mexican) that is a very good guitar, but it has one pretty serious flaw: with a humbucker in the bridge it possesses a strange loose low end that can’t be dialed out. It’s the exact same pickup as in the Valentine with the proper loading (500k), so I know it’s the guitar.
What slightly worries me is that I also have a Suhr Rasmus M100 with a similar issue, and what do they have in common? Alder body… It’s been too long since I owned another alder body guitar to remember exactly, but I can’t recall that being a consistent issue with alder. If anyone who owns a Cutlass (primarily HSS RS) could chime in on this that would be great. I don’t play metal, but fairly heavy rock that is sometimes borderline (never heavier than 80s hair metal-ish) so I don’t need “chugga chugga tight”, but it can’t be loose.
Now on to the slightly clickbaity headline – I don’t really NEED a Cutlass, the Valentine has more than good enough cleans for live use and the Fender sounds great for the classic Strat thing. But I’ve always seen the Cutlass HSS RS as the ultimate HSS Strat, provided that the humbucker sounds good (I know the singlecoils do). It’s a lot of money, I will have to buy new, so if I get it, it will be the most money I have ever spent on a guitar (got the Valentine used). If it matches the Valentine in playability, look and sound it is worth the price, but still a lot of money.
Sorry for the novel, if you made it this far thanks for reading and let me know what you think!