Well, since I have been learning Sultans of Swing, I decided to look into a Strat or a Nashville Tele. I got to try a Fender Player Strat (SSS with a Pau Ferro fingerboard) and a Player Tele with a maple board. The Player Strat played nice except it desperately needed a setup. The truss rod needed tightening, the bridge was pitched up at the back, and the G string was horribly binding at the nut, causing it to go flat whenever I would bend the string. The Tele surprised me. I expected to like it better. The weight balance on the guitar was exceptional. It too needed a setup. The truss rod needed to be loosened and the intonation wasn't even close. The thing that got me was that the fretboard is glossy while the neck back is satin. That REALLY made me notice the tighter radius (vs. my Jackson) and the smaller frets. I was getting bends to fret out or just getting stuck on the finish.

I talked with one guy at a local store. As it happened, they were placing a huge order with Fender. He said I was under no obligation (and I said I didn't want to stick them with inventory) but he ordered the Fender Deluxe Strat and Nashville Tele I was looking at. I'm looking forward to trying them out. I dropped the news with my wife/CFO that I was looking at that. Kinda excited, actually.

As an aside, they also had an ESP LTD version of the George Lynch kamikaze guitar. I didn't play it because I was afraid I would like it and it's $1200.