John Scofield’s rhythm guitar player, Avi Bortnick show us his custom-made Stratocaster in this Premier Guitar video. “The body is one of those Highway One jobs which I got off eBay just because it was fairly lightweight and it had "LT" carved in the back, which, somehow, I liked,” he says at (11:23). It has EMG pickups, he says. “I think these are the SA 88s, I believe. I've had them for so long, you can see it's kind of worn down. It's a guitar I play with John. I hardly ever use this guitar for other things unless I'm doing a funk recording session. Because I think these pickups are really great for kind of Prince, almost '80s style funk. They're very clear. They're very even. Not super great for soloing somehow. I don't think they have a whole lot of character. But they work well for this band. I've actually tried a few other guitars and I always come back to this one. And it feels good and I'm used to it,” (11:48). For tuning machines and strings, Bortnick uses, “American Standard…locking tuners. These strings are a 10 set just a D'Addario 10 set. Really good. Been using D'Addario forever and they work well,” (12:28)more
I love these stratocasters more than the standards, deluxe models etc I do have some things that I will change and that is the pickups and the tremolo. This goes for most other strats as well. They aren't noiseless pickups and that is one thing that irritates me is the 60 cycle hum and hiss. Easy change out though to a noiseless setup. The tremolo also has to go and will be changed out to a Super Vee Bladerunner setup. I just can't stand any Fender tremolo as they are just a pain to setup and also go out of tune. I prefer the feel of these over other Strats and to me it's worth doing the upgrades at the price you can get a second hand discontinued model for.
This early 00's Fender Strat is one of the more low-end/beefy sounding factory-original guitars. It's meant to have more of a 70s vibe as the large headstock shows. This Stratocaster features round tones, higher gains, and thicker sounds thanks to the grease-bucket circuitry, and the thin nitrocellulose coating (which helps bring out the tone of the wood). If you love the feel of a Strat, but want a darker tone: this is a great guitar.