A legend in the guitar industry pairing up with a heralded name in the modeling biz? No, it's not too good to be true, as Fender and Roland have teamed up to create the first modeling stratocaster. Just weeks after Gibson's own digital axe finally went on sale, the VG Stratocaster is built to look, feel, and play exactly like the strats of old always have, but a few subtle (albeit substantial) alterations open up a whole new world of riff creations. The six-string gurus over at GuitarGearCentral have taken the time to carefully inspect the changes, and it looks to us that even the purists could find something here to love. The thin Roland GK pickup mounted at the bridge provides the ability to emulate "37 Fender Stratocaster, Telecaster, humbucking, 12-string, and acoustic sounds,"while a pair of LED status lights provide a bit of flash and a new duo of knobs (Mode Control and Tuning Function) are used to further dictate the sounds. Dubbed a "Swiss Army knife of tone," this instrument allows you to dial-in alternate sounds and tunings on the fly, giving players the ability to add some chunk with Drop D tuning sans fiddling with the tuning head. Although the crew admired the simplicity Fender somehow managed to achieve with all the complex features that have been added, they still would test out a few more guitars to make sure this is your bag before throwing down the (admittedly reasonable) $1,699 required to take one home.

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Fender's modeling VG Stratocaster gets inspected