Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster vs Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster

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Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster
Playability
77
Sound
77
Build
77
Value
62
Score
77
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Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster
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Playability
77
Sound
77
Build
77
Value
62
Score
77
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Reasons to Get
Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster over Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster

Reasons to Get
Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster over Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster

Other Key Differences
Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster vs Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster

No Key Differences Found

Shared Features
Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster vs Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster

Bridge Pickup
Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat
Same Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound RWRP Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat
Same Middle Pickup
Neck Pickup
Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat
Same Neck Pickup
Body Wood
Ash
Same Body Wood
Neck Wood
Birdseye Maple
Same Neck Wood
Fretboard Wood
Ebony
Same Fretboard Wood
Headstock
6
Same Headstock
Nut Material
Bone
Same Nut Material
Strings
6
Same tuning options
Body Type
Semi-Hollow
Lighter and allows more gain than a hollowbody
Switch Positions
5
Same pickups versatility
Volume Knobs
1
Same volume control
Tone Knobs
2
Same tone control
Pickups
SSS
Beautiful cleans and good tone versatility
Number of Frets
21
Same maximum octave
Nut Width
1.65'' (41.9mm)
Same string separation at the nut
Paint Finish
Aged
Paint has been artificially aged
Bridge
Tremolo
Simple vibratos without too much maintenance
Scale Length
25.5'' (647.7mm)
Same string tension and fret separation
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed
Decorative Top
Spalted Maple vs 4A Figured Koa
Finished with beautiful natural wood patterns
Compound Radius
9.5" to 12"
Balanced playability for chords and single-notes
Neck Profile Type
C
Comfortable neck that works for most people
Neck Joint
Bolt-On
Allows you to detach and swap the neck
Type of Frets
Narrow Tall
You won't feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings

Common Strengths

  • High-Quality Nut
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • From a High-Quality-Standards Country
  • Top Pickup Brand
  • Expensive Wood

Common Weaknesses

  • Neck-Through Build
  • Pickup Alter Switch/Knob
  • Locking Tuners
  • Stays in Tune (Evertune)
  • High-Quality Frets
  • Luminescent Sidedots
  • Strap Lock
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio

Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster Prices

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Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster vs Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster: Which One is Better?

After going through our comparison algorithm, the results show that both guitars scored 77 out of 100, which makes them similar in terms of quality.

The Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster wins when it comes to. On the other hand, the Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster has the upper hand when it comes to.

If you got small hands, none of these guitars will make a big difference when it comes to comfortability.

Which Guitar is Better for Beginners?

Both guitars meet 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players. If you're looking for your first guitar to learn how to play, you can't go wrong with either of them.

Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster
New Player Friendliness
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Wide nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Locking tuners
  • Short scale
Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster
New Player Friendliness
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Wide nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Locking tuners
  • Short scale

Nevertheless, when it comes to choosing a guitar, you should pick the one more compatible with your personal style. Still, below we'll try you to give you our results as objectively as it's possible to help you decide.

Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster Overview

  • From Fender Custom's 2020 Artisan series
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 9.5" to 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Spalted Maple top
  • Roasted Ash with Spalted Maple Top body
  • 3A Roasted Birdseye Maple neck
  • Round-Lam Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound RWRP Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Custom Shop Vintage Synchronized Tremolo bridge
  • 1 volume and 2 tone Bell knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • '60s Oval C Bolt-On neck
  • 21 Narrow Tall frets
  • Vintage Style with Tortoise Shell Buttons tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster Overview

  • From Fender Custom's 2020 Artisan series
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 9.5" to 12" Fretboard Radius
  • 4A Figured Koa top
  • Roasted Ash body
  • 3A Roasted Birdseye Maple neck
  • Round-Lam Ebony fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound RWRP Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Custom Shop Vintage Synchronized Tremolo bridge
  • 1 volume and 2 tone Bell knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • '60s Oval C Bolt-On neck
  • 21 Narrow Tall frets
  • Vintage Style with Tortoise Shell Buttons tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Sound Quality Comparison

The wood used in an electric guitar is not as important to determine the final tone. However, some people prefer specific wood types, so we'll take a look at those first. Then, we'll take a look at the electronics to determine the versatility and sound quality of each instrument.

Woods Used in Both Guitars

Birdseye Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Birdseye Maple
Ebony wood pattern used for guitar building
Ebony
Ash wood pattern used for guitar building
Ash

This wood has beautiful patterns only found in specific types of maple.

Ebony is a high-end wood, so it is not cheap. It's only used for fretboards because it's also very heavy. It does an excellent job as a durable material while looking elegant.

Ash is a type of wood that Fender used almost exclusively in the 50s, and it's still used by many brands. It's a dense wood with a light color that works well for a transparent, natural finish because of its beautiful patterns. In terms of sound, it's known for emphasizing the mid and high frequencies, but with strong low end.

Winner: Tie.

Pickup Configuration

Both guitars have an SSS pickup configuration. SSS is perfect for players who like to play clean. The definition you get between notes and the crispiness is unmatched by most other configurations. You can still use it for distortion, but you won't get the same kind of output and power compared to a humbucker, and the hum they produce also makes them less adequate for high gain.

Pickups Quality

Both these guitars come with some of the top pickups on the market. You can't go wrong with either of them. You'll probably never need a pickup upgrade.

Both guitars use Passive pickups. This is what's used for most music genres. They have a regular output and will serve you for both high-gain and clean tones. The alternative (Active pickups) offer a higher output that is mostly used for heavy music.

Winner: Tie.

Versatility Comparison

Some guitars offer you more ways to explore your creativity than others. Below you'll find how both guitars compare when it comes to versatility.

Switch Options

Both guitars are equal when it comes to the pickup switching option.

Neither of them come with some kind of coil split or pickup mod option. This makes both lacking in terms of versatility.

They both share the following switching options:

Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster and Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster pickups switch selector and push knobs diagram
Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster and Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster's switch options

When evaluating versatility, we also take into consideration bridge and neck joint type, number of frets, switch options, amount of pickups and more.

Winner: Tie.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster
Pickups 100
Sustain 70
Versatility 73
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 77
Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster
Pickups 100
Sustain 70
Versatility 73
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 77

Build Quality Comparison

When it comes to build quality, we like to take into account everything used to build the guitar. This includes materials, hardware and the quality control expected depending on the country where it was built. Let's see how the Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster compares to the Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster.

Country of Origin Comparison

The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. Both guitars in this comparison where made in United States.

The United States is considered one of the best electric guitar manufacturers in the world. A guitar made in this country is supposed to have world-class quality control. Nowadays, guitars made in other countries can beat some of the ones made in the US, but most of the time, this country offers the best you can get. Of course, that comes at a price.

Winner: Tie

Nut Material

If you want your guitar to stay in tune and sound good, you need a well cut nut. Nut quality can be inconsistent even when comparing two copies of the same guitar model. The best way to make sure you're nut will be well done is by getting a nut made by an expert company like TUSQ or Micarta.

In this case, both guitars have Bone nuts. It's a type of nut found in high-quality instruments. They sound similar to Ivory since they give a lot of sustain and a bright sound (at least when striking open strings). The only problem they can run into is that you may get a bone piece that simply doesn't sound as well as others because that's just how natural materials are.

Fret Material

Most guitar fret wire is made of nickel silver. This material eventually wears down after a lot of use and most guitars end up needing a complete fret replacement. However, some expensive guitars come with stainless steel frets. This is what you should aim for if you can afford it.

Unfortunately, none of these guitars come with stainless steel frets.

Winner: Tie.

Bridge

The perfect bridge for you will depend on your playstyle because they all have advantages and disadvantages. However, some bridges are more expensive—like Floyd Roses and Evertunes—and thus add more value to a guitar.

Both guitars come with a similar bridge: Tremolo. Tremolo bridges give you more versatility than fixed bridges. They let you perform the intense vibrato effects that would be impossible with a fixed bridge. However, since the bridge floats and there's less contact with the body, the strings lose sustain slightly faster. They can also be a bit harder to restring and set up correctly than fixed bridges.

Since we need to be objective, the most expensive type of bridge will be the winner of this section. In the end, this doesn't matter if you're not going to use the bridge for its original purpose, so choose the bridge that fits your playing style better.

Winner: Tie.

Tuners

Both these guitars come with regular tuners. Both come with Vintage Style with Tortoise Shell Buttons.

Winner: Tie.

Neck Joint

Contrary to popular belief, the difference in sustain and tone that some neck joints give to a guitar is simply unperceivable—if they're all well built. However, some of them do have advantages over the others.

Both guitars have a Bolt-On neck joint. This neck is joined to the body by 4 bolts that you can simply unscrew. This allows you to replace the neck or take it off for travel. It's the most common and cheapest way to build a guitar.

Winner: Tie.

Here is the list of features that were considered when choosing the winner in the Features subcategory:

Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Tremolo
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock
Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Tremolo
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Final Build Quality Scores

Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster
Quality of materials 60
Features 70
Quality Control 100
Build Quality 77
Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster
Quality of materials 60
Features 70
Quality Control 100
Build Quality 77

Playability Comparison

Let's now compare the playability of both guitars. Bear in mind that the guitar will feel different depending on your hand size and play style. That's why you should always test a guitar before buying it. But if you can't or want a second opinion on it, we can still take a look at each of the important measurements of the guitar for you. This way, we can predict how easy a guitar is to play, or how different it will feel compared to the other.

Remember that, even though the difference might seem small, every inch counts when we're comparing guitars. Any variation can completely change how comfortable a guitar feels in your hands.

Nut Width Comparison

Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster Nut Width
Both Guitars Have The Same Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, both guitars have a nut width of 41.9mm (1.65'').

Compared to the average 43mm nut width, these guitars will feel better in the hands of people with small hands. You'll feel that it's easier to play bar chords, although you might be more likely to mute strings accidentally when playing open chords.

Scale Length Comparison

Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster and Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster's Scale Length
Both guitars have the same scale length

The scale length is one of the things that influences playability the most. This is the distance between the nut and the bridge and will affect everything from low action allowance, difficulty to perform bends, fret separation, and even tone.

In this case, both guitars have a scale length of 25.5".

This is the scale used in most Stratocasters. It's slightly longer than the typical 24.75'' size found in Les Pauls, and it's one of the main reasons why Stratocasters have such a bright sound in general. A longer scale also means that the strings will have higher tension. This will help you get lower action without suffering fret buzz, which will also be helpful when playing in lower tunings without having to increase your string gauge.

However, this also means that there will be more separation between frets, which can make it more difficult to play. Also, bending the strings will require more strengths due to the increased tension, but remember that a tremolo guitar will offset this difficulty.

Lastly, remember that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge. You can use a thicker gauge for more tension and a lighter one for less tension.

Neck Profile Comparison

Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster Neck Profile
Both guitars have the same neck profile

No single neck shape is better than others. However, most people tend to prefer a thinner necks because it doesn't get in their way when playing fast and most hand sizes can adapt to it pretty well. However, some people still prefer thicker necks for a better grip, especially if they have big hands.

Both the Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster and the Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster have a C-shaped neck. This is what you'll find in most modern guitars. Most people feel like the thickness of a C neck is simply the less intrusive one for playing fast, while at the same time allowing you to grab the neck easily for resting if you want to.

Fretboard Radius Comparison

Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster Fretboard Compound Radius
Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster's Compound Fretboard Radius
Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster Fretboard Compound Radius
Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster's Compound Fretboard Radius

Most guitar fretboards are not flat; they usually have a curve or arc across their width. A curved fretboard will make it easier to perform chords without muting strings, while a flatter one will make it easier to play single notes, which is good for bending and soloing in general. The best fretboards have a compound radius that varies across the fingerboard, but they're not common since they take a lot more work to build.

Both guitars have a compound radius. This means both offer you the best craftsmanship when it comes to fretboard design. You'll have an arc to help you play chords close to the nut, while also having a flat design at the higher frets for faster soloing and easier bends.

Hand Size Comfortability

Everyone has a different hand size, and that's why it's recommended to try a guitar before buying, even if others tell you that it's comfortable to play. However, we can know whether a guitar favors small or large hands just by knowing its exact measurements.

After taking into account the scale length, nut width, neck profile and fretboard radius, we can conclude that both guitars in this comparison favor small hands .

Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster:
Big Hands
Balance
Small hands
Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster:
Big Hands
Balance
Small hands

Fret Size Comparison

Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster and Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster Frets Size
Both guitars have a similar Narrow Tall fret size

Both guitars have a Narrow Tall fret size. Their height is very similar to Jumbo frets, but they have a narrower crown. They won't let you feel the fretboard when playing, which will make it easier to get clean notes. However, if you press down too hard you might get the notes out of pitch.

Final Playability Scores

Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster
Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 80
Playability 77
Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster
Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 80
Playability 77

Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster vs Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster Specs Comparison

General Fender Custom Artisan Spalted Maple Thinline Stratocaster Fender Custom Artisan Koa Thinline Stratocaster
Brand: Fender Custom Fender Custom
Year: 2020 2020
Configuration: SSS SSS
Strings: 6 6
Made in: United States United States
Series: Artisan Artisan
Colors: Natural Natural
Left-Handed Version: No No
Body
Type: Semi-Hollow Semi-Hollow
Body Material: Roasted Ash with Spalted Maple Top Roasted Ash
Bridge: Custom Shop Vintage Synchronized Tremolo Custom Shop Vintage Synchronized Tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On Bolt-On
Tuners: Vintage Style with Tortoise Shell Buttons Vintage Style with Tortoise Shell Buttons
Fretboard: Round-Lam Ebony Round-Lam Ebony
Neck Material: 3A Roasted Birdseye Maple 3A Roasted Birdseye Maple
Decoration: Mother of Pearl dot Mother of Pearl dot
Scale Size: 25.5" 25.5"
Shape: '60s Oval C '60s Oval C
Frets: 21 Narrow Tall 21 Narrow Tall
Fretboard Radius: 9.5" to 12" 9.5" to 12"
Nut: Bone Bone
Nut Width: 41.9mm (1.65'') 41.9mm (1.65'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat (Single Coil / Passive) Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat (Single Coil / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound RWRP Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat (Single Coil / Passive) Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound RWRP Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat (Single Coil / Passive) Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound Fat '60s Single-Coil Strat (Single Coil / Passive)
Switch: 5 Way 5 Way
Knobs: Bell Bell
Pickup Mods: None None
Volume Controls: 1 1
Tone Controls: 2 2