Review - K-line Springfield

Rarely get chance to do NGD’s, too busy earning the money to pay for them!, so takes a holiday to catch up so why not do a review as I’m a little late with this one.

This came in in April of this year. Strats are my go to no.1, I came to that conclusion some time ago, the last 10 years have been spent on two concurrent Fender Custom Shop Strats but I got to the point that I wasn’t feeling it for a number of reasons. Strats are the guitars I’m fussiest with and appreciate the minutiae most. I’m not a relic fan and, after having two of them, I don’t think NOS is the best of the Custom Shop, they’re a little stiff, weighty and over-finished, almost as if they think a NOS customer never wants to see a ding. Not for me, I just want to add them myself!

For all of Fenders vast catalog, they seem to miss what is for me a base spec Strat. The K-line Springfield just seemed to tick all the boxes, just the basic Strat that Fender don’t make, vintage in nature with great medium size neck specs, handwound pickups with slightly hotter bridge, wired tone just for bridge pickup, slight angle on neck pocket to simulate a shim, satin finished neck, thin but NOS finish. Some of things can be fixed I know, but seeing the details you like goes a long way to knowing that someone is on your wavelength. So going all out I decided to order one, approaching Chris at K-line direct but then soon being boxed into ordering through Coda as their exclusive UK dealer, whilst still confirming specs with Chris himself. I respect this approach so no problem here at all. 

I’d rate the ordering process as practical and smooth, if a little unceremonious - Chris was quick and efficient to deal with via email, the only but being that the standard spec is driven hard (I.e. requested 9.5” radius originally but Chris talked me into 10” as his standard), and no build photos along the way or updates as I know he does with direct jobs, just an email and phone call from Coda (slightly ahead of the original quoted 6 months wait time to be fair), saying “guitar arrived”.

So anyway the guitar - it’s LPB, a lovely hue which is almost ocean turquoise in some lights, just the right amount of top coat, it looks top class and should wear elegantly.

The neck really is Goldilocks in shape, a medium C but I detect the merest of V in their too, satin with a perfect level of colour tint, but it has glossed up somewhat with play time. The fret job is excellent, I still think the Fender CS have the slight edge for rolled edges and fret ends, they do it so well, but this is a premium guitar feel for sure that is just class.

Weight wise it’s a smidge under 7.5 lbs, pretty much my ideal Strat weight.

Acoustically it has quite a deep voice for a Strat, with plenty of ring and still that breezyness of a good Strat - that is continued when plugged in, those pickups - I selected the ‘64’s that Chris winds himself are, how shall we put this, perfect!

Straty and vintage sounding but not at all thin, the neck pickup sings and the, slightly hotter, bridge pickup takes gain so well, I can go from my humbucker guitars to this without needing to head for the amps treble control - it’s a Strat with all that that brings but has an inherent sweet robustness to it. 

Any issues - none. If I was being REALLY picky, Chris in a recent interview made a deal out of small things like bridge saddle screws not sticking out, yet the furthest one on the bass side E string  is a little sharp and high, catching the palm when playing in certain positions. swapping this with the lowest E one sorts it out but hey, if he hadn’t of mentioned it! 

The hard shell case is lightweight and a really nice shape, but a little flimsy and not quite as premium as the Fender equivalent. 

But in all, 3 months into K-line ownership, I bloomin’ love it, feels like home, a guitar you forget when playing, because it just does it’s job of being a top class instrument, but you know is getting the best of you, and is also something to enjoy owning. Better than the equivalent Fender CS? It’s a Yes from me, and I don’t say that lightly, it took me a while to come to terms with buying a non-Fender, it’s a brand I love dearly but they continue to frustrate - I’ve owned almost every tier in the current range over the last few years, Player, Vintera, Am Pro, CS, and whilst all good guitars, they definitely lacked the X Factor. 

K-line are deserved of their reputation and make a Strat that’s competitive with Fenders finest, and just happens to be significantly less money. It hasn’t got Fender on the headstock, but I think the Strat recipe is almost public domain now, and Chris, with his one-man outfit, has as much chance of making a great Strat as a company called Fender guided by an ex-Nike executive who’s going to spend much of his day in corporate meetings.   

You takes your choice……..this is mine! 

https://i.imgur.com/4xW0LTS.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/DndyLDD.jpg

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Comments

  • ghadghad Frets: 48
    Lovely.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • Amazing colour! I’m desperately after a K-Line Springfield and have been eyeing up forums/eBay/Reverb like crazy waiting for the right one to pop up
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • BGGBGG Frets: 690
    princeali said:
    Amazing colour! I’m desperately after a K-Line Springfield and have been eyeing up forums/eBay/Reverb like crazy waiting for the right one to pop up
    The right one did … but we missed it lol. 
    #thebatesmotelband
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  • dindudedindude Frets: 8540
    BGG said:
    princeali said:
    Amazing colour! I’m desperately after a K-Line Springfield and have been eyeing up forums/eBay/Reverb like crazy waiting for the right one to pop up
    The right one did … but we missed it lol. 
    Is this the fabled green one, how much did it go for out of interest?
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • Great write up and a very purdy S-type for sure. Love the colour. Congrats!  :)
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  • BGGBGG Frets: 690
    dindude said:
    BGG said:
    princeali said:
    Amazing colour! I’m desperately after a K-Line Springfield and have been eyeing up forums/eBay/Reverb like crazy waiting for the right one to pop up
    The right one did … but we missed it lol. 
    Is this the fabled green one, how much did it go for out of interest?
    I can't remember and can't find it in my eBay history, but it was £20 more than i bid sadly haha.
    #thebatesmotelband
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
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