Blacktop Stratocaster Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 11/09/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Fender: Blacktop Stratocaster
2010 made in Mexico. 22 Frets, 91/2 radius Maple neck and fretboard. Alder body. Mine has a Candy Cola finish with mint pickguard.
 Sound: 9.2
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.3
 Features: 9.7
 Overall rating:
 9 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.4 
 Users rating:
 8.6 
 Votes:
 105 
reviews (6) pictures (3) 65 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
Blacktop Stratocaster Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 450

Purchased from: musicians friend

Features: Made this year in Mexico. 22 medium jumbo frets, maple neck, alder body. 2 covered humbuckers with coil taps. I give it a 10 because one has to judge this primarily as a strat, even if it has a variation in pups, and as such it has everything a Strat should have. tuners work and the bridge, although not the fanciest, is as good as any Strat I've tried. // 10

Sound: I've been waiting for this guitar for quite some time. Everytime I've tried to find a humbucker strat, Fender or other brand, it always has something I don't like, but this managed to package everything I wanted. Sound: IMO, better than a regular Strat for my style, which spans many genres incluying rock, blues, metal, jazz, etc. I need a versatile instrument and a humbucker at least in the bridge for high gain. I can deal with SCs in the neck but this has the best of both worlds, the HB in the neck but the coil tap on the outer coil so you can get that bell-like Hendrix sound also. In general the sound of the HBs is fairly warm and, as expected, less chimy than an SC strat. But I think people go overboard calling this a metal guitar, cause the pups aren't hot enough to be ideal for full blown metal. Myself included, I think people are stoked about be able to play hard rock and metal on a Strat at all, because with a regular one you just can't, period. The sound is quite satisfactory for basically any style you want, but let's not exaggerate. It's about on par with your garden variety Ibanez for high gain stuff. The cool thing for me anyway, is finally we have as versatile an instrument as a double HB guitar but in the stylish package of a Fender and not some generic boring Asian strat-style guitar or the other camp completely of a Gibson-style guitar. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The neck on this guitar is its best feature, nice and glossy with perfect fretwork. It is far superior to many Fenders I've seen before and due to those I've come to be somewhat wary of Fender craftsmanship. The tuners are decent and stable, the bridge is fairly cheap but typical of Fender and works. In general as good as I've seen Fender MIM do, which is good enough to be a pro-level guitar. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I don't see why this guitar could not take live playing. The finish is good enough and the hardware also. It's a good, practical and solid instrument. Although I've gigged plenty with no backup, I don't recommend it regardless of the guitar you use. This seems as solid as any. // 9

Overall Impression: This is a competent guitar that can serve a pro's needs. Sound wise, it is a good match for anything you want to play, but I'm not sure the real motivator for buying it is sound and not because you just WANT the charm of a genuine Fender (even if it's Mexican) but NEED an HB guitar, which is my case. There are dozens of strat-style guitars with HBs on the market just as good but some of us love the idea of playing the same guitar as Hendrix, Gilmour and our other heroes, as opposed to a generic knockoff. I'd say this is a really good value and you should buy it if you are clear that the true motive for getting it is sheer style. // 9

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overall: 9.6
Blacktop Stratocaster Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Features: Made in Mexico, don't know what year but recently since it's a new model. 22 medium jumbo frets, alder body, maple neck and fretboard with a nice glossy finish, Fender tuners... And what sets it apart from other strats: two humbuckers. Standard Vintage trem. I have to give it a top rating in this section because it has exactly the features I've always wanted in a strat. // 10

Sound: Very nice sounding strat. Like all strats it has a clear voice that cuts through the mix great. The HBs are surprisingly versatile and noiseless. And obviously they have double the power and fatness of SCs, making this the perfect Strat IMO. The PUP selector has the standard 5 positions but with this HB guitar the top neck is a full HB, followed by SC neck, great for Hendrix and that bell-like chime that only a Fender will give you. Then mid position gives you both full HBs, followed by bridge SC and bridge bucker. So a lot of tonal options here. The two tone knobs and vol. Knob aren't the most sensitive but they work alright. Might be worth upgrading the pots but not urgent. In short, you can get pretty much any rock tone you want, from metal to classic and all sounds a clear and precise. The sustain of this guitar surprised me, at least in HB mode. For a strat, which we all know aren't the most sustainy guitars, this will hold the note as long as I need, at low vol also. Very pleasant surprise there. Although some might think I'm not being critical enough, I can only mark down in this section because the tone and vol pots aren't that sensitive. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: This is really what sold me. I know what a Strat sounds like and one with HBs I know would be what I want. But the problem is for years I've just thought the worst of Fender's quality control, especially made in Mex. This is a total exception. The body and neck are carved flawlessly and all the hardware is well assembled. The neck is a heartbreaker. The sleek glossy finish and well dressed frets sealed the deal for me. This Mexican Strat is just as well put together as most American models. I can't mark down for anything. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Only had it a couple of days but it seems as solid as any guitar I've had. I would and will gig with it, without hesitation. Of coarse I'll bring a backup. Only had it a couple of days but it seems as solid as any guitar I've had. I would and will gig with it, without hesitation. Of coarse I'll bring a backup. // 10

Overall Impression: I've always loved strats and owned two in the past, but never felt it could be my main guitar until now. A dual humbucker version with no floyd rose, a maple frtbrd and all black body was what I always wanted and now they make it standard and at a very reasonable price. Furthermore, the QC on this series seems far superior to any other Mexi Fender I've played and nicer than the Highway 1 series for instance. I love everything about it and don't know if this will because my main axe. I also play a PRS Santana, which I can't really compare since it sounds very different. They both have their place. I'd recommend this guitar to anyone who wants a quality Strat with HBs at a decent price. You'll get what you pay for, which considering with Fender that hasn't always been the case, I'd say this is a reason to celebrate. // 9

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overall: 10
Blacktop Stratocaster Reviewed by: talljoe, on november 09, 2012
1 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 430

Purchased from: Musicians Friend

Features: 2010 made in Mexico. 22 Frets, 91/2 radius Maple neck and fretboard. Alder body. Mine has a Candy Cola finish with mint pickguard. Vintage style synchronized tremolo. There are two "hot" (Fender's description) humbuckers, controlled by a master volume knob, and a tone knob for each pickup. Usual Strat 5 way Switch 1.Full bridge, 2. Inside coils, 3. Both full, 4. Outer neck single coil, 5. Full neck. There were no accessories included except for the tremolo arm. Standard Fender non staggered tuners. The neck is gloss finished back and front - unlike a MIA Standard which has a satin back. // 10

Sound: I'm a relative noobie so play anything that I can. Country, folk rock, rock, punk, whatever. I have a Fender 212 DSP amp which gives plenty of variety of tones and effects itself so don't have any other equipment. The humbuckers produce very full, rich sound, and are way better than you would expect. The single coils when isolated sound just like my Standard Strat. (Understand that a lifetime shooting/firearm instructing has blessed me with imperfect hearing!) // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was well set up on receipt, although as I am not fond of using a tremolo I have the bridge set up flush with the body. Most people wouldn't have to bother altering the setup. The finish on the neck doesn't seem to make any difference to the way it handles. Frets nicely finished. In fact, side by side with my '09 MIA it's hard to tell which is the Mexican. I can't find any fault with this instrument. Not everyone will like the black control knobs, but at least they're different. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The guitar looks as well made as my MIA Strat and I am sure it will withstand heavy use. I just play for my own entertainment, but I can't see why a person wouldn't gig with it. The finish looks well applied and not likely to wear off anytime soon. Certainly the guitar will be durable, but obviously I can't really comment on reliability as it is a new model. // 10

Overall Impression: As I said, I will play anything that I am capable of. I have only been playing a year and a half so don't have the experience of many visitors to the site, but I believe I can tell something decent from something that isn't. I have rated this instrument with regard to the price I paid, and can only say that it is absolutely Stellar value for money. I love the finish, the maple fretboard is beautiful, the candy cola finish sparkles, the tone from the pups is full and rich. What's not to like? I bought it because I like to keep my MIA in it's case for protection and wanted a cheaper guitar to leave out on a stand and not to worry about it getting a few knocks. This piece is so good I had to buy a case for it too! You may ask why I rate it so high. It's because, even at twice the price, I can't fault it. If it were stolen I would buy another immediately. I like Strats, but wanted the tone of humbuckers, so for me this guitar is perfect. // 10

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overall: 8.8
Blacktop Stratocaster Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 425

Purchased from: Thomann

Features: Body Material: Alder Neck: Maple Neck Finish: Gloss Urethane Fretboard: Rosewood Fretboard Radius: 9.5" Radius (241 mm) Frets: 22, Medium Jumbo Position Inlays: White Dots on Rosewood Scale Length: 25.5" (648 mm) Nut Width: 1.650 (42 mm) String Nut: Synthetic Bone Truss Rod Nut: 3/16" Adjustable Hex Nut Colour: Black Pickups: Hot Vintage Alnico Hum-bucking Bridge Pickup Hot Vintage Alnico Hum-bucking Neck Pickup Pickup Switching: 5-Position Blade: Position 1. Full Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Two Inside Single Coils, Position 3. Both Full Hum-bucking Pickups, Position 4. Outer Neck Single Coil, Position 5. Full Neck Pickup Controls: Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), Tone 2. (Bridge Pickup) Hardware: Nickel/Chrome Tuning Keys: Standard Cast/Sealed Tuning Machines Bridge: Vintage Style Synchronized Tremolo Tremolo Arm: Vintage Style Tremolo Arm, Black Tip Strap Buttons: Vintage Style Strap Buttons Control Knobs: Skirted Amp Knobs Pickguard: 3-Ply Black No case included I give the features a '9' because of the coil split positions 2 & 4 adding maximum versitility, superb fretwork, Smooth tuners that keep it in tune brilliantly, the finish on the neck and excellent sounding humbuckers as standard. Its reasonibly light, its a little lighter than my USA Lonestar. Heavier than My epihone LP. // 9

Sound: I play modern/Alternative Rock (quite high gain) in my band. When I am noodling at home I also play alot of blues and clean rythm/chords etc. I use a BB+ pedal for overdrive/distortion and Boss CS3 for delay amongst other Boss pedals through a Fender Deluxe Tube amp. Under alot of gain the buckers deliver a thick powerful tone - great swell and good for chugging) and amazingly enough are VERY articulate. I couldn't quite believe it when I first plugged it in. I was sure I would have to change the pickups out for some high end Dimarzios or Duncans but no, these are perfect. Fender have done well. The neck bucker isn't muddy one bit and you get a slight bit of that earthy tone that Standard single coil Strat neck pups give you too which is great and unexpected. Roll back the tone on the neck a little and you get a lovely woman lead tone that is much more articulate than you would get from a typical humbucker instrument - mahogany bodied, smaller scale guitar. The over all tone is a little dark. Probably due to the overwound pups resistance coming in at 12 - 13k. I have the treble on the amp at around 7, mids at 6.5 bass at 5 and presence at 7 and its perfect I can't seem to put it down the tones are so pleasing. The spilt coil positions 2 and 4 are great for either blues with Overdrive or for playing clean rythms or chord picking and give you a nice single coil sound. Not as magical as a true single coil obviously but what you get is VERY usable and perfect for live situations where you can go from heavy riffing to a flick of the 5 way selector and stamp on your pedal (to go clean) and ring out clean earthy chords and intricate picking patterns. All the snap, spank and bite of a Strat is there whether you are engaging the full bucker or split - Nice. It sustains very very well too. Noticably more than the Lonestar, I would say on a par with my Tele and less than my Epiphone LP. I used to use my 1996 USA Lonestar for everything until now. The Blacktop just gives me more power, as much articulation and is even more versatile. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: As soon as I tuned it up I found the bridge was quite a way up from the bridge. So I tightened up the bridge fully and put 10's on - I like the bridge flush with the body. I had to set the intonation on 2 strings but the neck was spot on so I didn't have to touch that. No rattles (My USA Strat rattles a little but this doesn't) and no buzzes. The nut is spot on and the pup height is fine. No rouch edges on any of the frets and they feel very smooth when bending strings. Very impressed. The plastic that covers the pickguard is annoying to remove but hey it protects it from scratches during transport. I was going to give it a 9 but I will mark down 1 point for the bridge not being tightened enough. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Seems as solid as My USA strat, nothing is loose and the jack feels very solid too. No crackles when wiggling the lead, the controls are smooth too with an even roll off/on for tone and vol. Time will tell how it lasts on the road. A good hard case is a must. // 9

Overall Impression: This Strat is perfect for High distortion heavy rock, thick raunchy blues, clean rythm, articulated picking, Jazz and funk its just so so versatile its a real keeper. Unbelievable value for 425. I have been playing in a band for the last 13 years, my main axe was the USA Lonstar Strat. I also have a Slash sig Epiphone Les Paul which I changed the pups and added a coil split to which is a tone monster but lacks the bite of the strat, a USA Standard tele which I modded with Dimarzio's and the Blacktop is my favorite. For me its all about having an Alder bodies Strat with buckers. I have had the Blacktop for a good 2 weeks now so I'm wiring this after the honeymoon period. // 9

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overall: 9
Blacktop Stratocaster Reviewed by: leigh596, on november 09, 2012
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 400

Purchased from: GuitarGuitar

Features: Made in Mexico, probably around '06-'10, 22 medium-jumbo frets, maple bolt on neck and fretboard, alder body, shiny/gloss finish. Strat shape, with a Vintage style tremolo, 2, juicy, HOT Vintage Alnico humbucking pickups, master volume and 2 tone controls, a 5 way selector and Fender tuners. Overall good features, although I can't rate the setup because it was second hand. One fault is that the tuners don't seem to keep the guitar in tune for a while. // 9

Sound: I play mostly metal, hard rock, classic rock, alternative and a few other subgenres so this guitar suits my playing well. I like how I can select the neck and bridge coils too. I'm using it with a Line 6 Spider IV 30 and a Boss ME50. Its a good sound for my crappy setup. there's feedback from it unless you're too close to the amp. Its got a very full sound, not very bright, but with the right effects it could be. The volume knob isn't the best but its not urgently needing upgraded. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up well when I got it yesterday, although the bridge has been set so it can go about 2 semitones higher the tremolo. I wasn't given one though, so I just lean on the bridge if needed. The pickups sound great, I'm not bothered about putting them higher or lower. The guitar hasn't got any flaws that have become obvious so far, apart from a slightly buzzy G string. Worst thing it could be is the beginning of a truss rod problem but I doubt it. Its set up better than the Mexican Standard Strat I tried out in the shop. // 9

Reliability & Durability: After a day there's not much I can judge but, it seems tough. I would gig with it, but I'd need some locking tuners. The hardware should last, if maintained well enough, which is the problem that I had with my other guitar, not enough care taken. I'm not sure about the finish, I hope it will last, but anyway, I like worn guitars. // 9

Overall Impression: This guitar is a great match to my style. I've been playing for about 2 years and 8 months. I also own a crappy metal beginners crazy shape guitar, which is really bad. If it were stolen I'd probably buy it again, as its a great guitar. I love the humbuckers on it and how it offers single coil options too! I also tried out an Epiphone SG, and 2 other Les Pauls, an Ibanez GRG something, am Ibanez 7321 another Ibanez of some sort, a Fender Mexican Standard Strat and a Squire Jagmaster. The only ones that contended were the other Fender and the 7 string. I wish it had a really good bridge and locking tuners. Apart from that its a fantastic guitar! // 9

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overall: 10
Blacktop Stratocaster Reviewed by: METAL JEFF, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: American Musical Supply

Features: 22 frets. Mine has the maple neck and fret board. Candy apple red body, skirted amp knobs for volume and tone controls. 5 way selector switch for the 2 chrome covered humbuckers. Fender tuners, it never goes out of tune, amazing. // 10

Sound: I play metal only. I use a Metal Muff, Boss MT2. Fender Frontman 25R with Eminence Bass Driver in it. This guitar has enough sustain for anyone. It will ring on for minutes if you let it. The pickups are superb in my opinion. This guitar can do anything, you can get a single coil sound, humber, double buckes. Unbelievable. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Set was ok, but I set it up to my liking. The guitar came flawless. No marks no nothing. The fret board is mirror clean, gloss finish on the entire neck and fret board. The body finish I believe is poly, I could be wrong but it looks great. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This axe could withstand anything. Everything on it is genuine fender. Nothing else can be says, Fender make the most durable, flexable guitars on the market. // 10

Overall Impression: I play metal, a lot of Iron Maiden. Great axe for that. I have been playing too long to remember and still not great at it but I know guitars. I own a few other guitars, some with EMG and Duncans and this holds it's own with those as far as sound goes. I wish that it came with a gig bag or case. If it were stolen, I would sell one of my other guitars to buy this one again. I hate nothing on this guitar, I would like this over anything Fender makes. For my style of music this is the Fender for me. // 10

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