#1
Hello!
I'm going to buy a Fender Strat axe.
I consider buying American Special or American Standard. I love all the features of Std, but the price is, well... a little bit too high. So would Special be a good choice? Is Std worth paying extra money?
Unfortunately, I have no possibility to try both of them in my local music shop.
#2
Most definitely it is worth the extra. The special isn't, well, very special at all. Also, they just released a new series of the std american guitars, so those will be much better than the special.
#3
The main differences are the bridge, tuners, pickups, tone controls, wood quality and the case they come with.
With the Standard you're getting a 2-post bridge, which really helps with the action and stability of the bridge. The Standards also have staggered tuners, so the strings come over the nut at a better angle; again, better tuning stability and also more sustain and a fuller tone are the benefits of this.
The Custom Shop pickups in the Standard are alright, but nothing special. They're great if you want the basic Strat tone, but they're every generic jack-of-all-trades pickups. The Texas Specials in the American Special are not the same as the Custom Shop Texas Specials that you find in the SRV signature Strats (and even the Mexican-made Deluxe Lonestar and Roadhouse Strats). They're still alright pickups, but not as amazing as the proper CS Texas Specials. They have more output and a brighter tone than the pickups in the American Standard.
The tone controls could be quite an important feature, depending on how you like to use your controls. The Special has controls for the neck tone and bridge tone, but none on the middle; this results in the middle pickup being especially bright, too. The Standard has a neck tone and a combined bridge and middle tone, which is the normal set up.
Most importantly, the Specials use basically the same wood that goes into the MIM guitars. The Standard gets nicer wood.
Also part of the price of the Standard is in the hard case that comes with them, while the Special only comes with a soft gig bag.

To me, I think the Standards are a significant upgrade over the Special. However, the Deluxe is a huge, huge upgrade over the Standard, and doesn't usually cost much more. So for my money, I'd either get the Special and pocket the extra cash or go all-out and buy the Deluxe; the Standard occupies a weird mid-point that doesn't represent good value for money when you consider both of the other options. If the American Deluxe guitars didn't exist then I'd say you should definitely get the Standard but the Deluxe makes the Standard irrelevant, which in turn makes the Special more worthwhile.

Remember though that for the same price as the Special you can get the nicer, tricked-out MIM guitars. Some of these are really worth looking at over the Special. Since the wood is the same what you're basically doing is trading the words "made in America" for aftermarket pickups, locking tuners, piezo systems, mid boost systems, etc.
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#6
Quote by fatback96
I just checked GC's website.
Did the prices go up on the American Standards?


I think so but those are the new 2012 models. Look on the main GC page and there's some info about them on the switching screens.
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#7
Quote by MrFlibble
The Standard has a neck tone and a combined bridge and middle tone, which is the normal set up.
Special more worthwhile.
The 'normal' setup doesn't have a tone control at all on the bridge pickup

The American Special and Highway Ones literally have the same exact neck. On most Am Specials they don't even bother to remove the "Highway One" sticker from the heel . They both have the same "Grease Bucket" tone controls (which I don't really care for) and I think the same bridge. The Highway One is finished in nitro and has pretty hot pickups, where the Am Special is urethane (like the rest of the Strats) and Texas Special pickups.

Between the Am Special and Highway One, I'd go with the Highway One. And I'm not just saying that because I own a Highway model. You can sell the hot pickups for around $70 and pick up a set of used Texas Specials for a bit more, and end up with a better guitar for around $100 cheaper.

The American Standard is definitely worth the extra price over both, but I would strongly suggest checking out the 50s/60s Classic Player models before looking at an American Standard. The Classic Players are arguably the best Strat (outside of the Deluxe and Custom Shop stuff) that Fender is making in North America.
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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#8
Quote by Flux'D
The 'normal' setup doesn't have a tone control at all on the bridge pickup
Not in a traditional sense (though 'tradition' in electric guitars is absurd, given how young the instrument is), but the majority of Fender Strats now have the neck tone/bridge&middle tone set up.

Also, the Highway 1s aren't made any more, and haven't been made for a couple of years now, so there's not much point looking at those.
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#9
Quote by DrewMeyer
Most definitely it is worth the extra. The special isn't, well, very special at all. Also, they just released a new series of the std american guitars, so those will be much better than the special.(Invalid img)
The special isn't, well, very special at all. Also, they just released a new series of the std american guitars
#10
Quote by MrFlibble
Not in a traditional sense (though 'tradition' in electric guitars is absurd, given how young the instrument is), but the majority of Fender Strats now have the neck tone/bridge&middle tone set up.
Yes, in traditional and current sense that is how they're wired. The bridge pickup is wide open with only a volume control. I've worked on a blue million Strats.





EDIT: They started doing the combined bridge/middle tone control when they upgraded the Am Standard a few years back.
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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
Last edited by Flux'D at Mar 20, 2012,
#11
Quote by Flux'D
Yes, in traditional and current sense that is how they're wired. The bridge pickup is wide open with only a volume control. I've worked on a blue million Strats.


EDIT: They started doing the combined bridge/middle tone control when they upgraded the Am Standard a few years back.
Congratulations on succeeding in making absolutely no point whatsoever. The current standard production is for the bridge and middle to be together on one tone control. This is what the normal arrangement is now, and it's been this way for about twelve years now. It was only three years ago that they switched the MIM production back to having no tone on the bridge pickup, and it's still one of the few constant production line that is wired this way. Obviously certain signature models, Classics and other reissues are exceptions too.
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#12
Quote by Flux'D
The American Standard is definitely worth the extra price over both, but I would strongly suggest checking out the 50s/60s Classic Player models before looking at an American Standard. The Classic Players are arguably the best Strat (outside of the Deluxe and Custom Shop stuff) that Fender is making in North America.

Unfortunately, I've never kept CP '50s or '60s in my hands, but I've read quite a lot about them and even wanted to buy CP '50s in beautiful shoreline gold
Do you think that they can be even better than the American Standard Strat?
#13
Quote by fluorine
Unfortunately, I've never kept CP '50s or '60s in my hands, but I've read quite a lot about them and even wanted to buy CP '50s in beautiful shoreline gold
Do you think that they can be even better than the American Standard Strat?


They are quite good guitars. Whether or not they'd stand up to an Am. Standard is questionable (objectively, there are quite a few more desirable features on the Am. Standard, including the 2-point bridge, modern saddles and improved wiring). The CP series is most definitely better than the American Specials though. They're basically just Standards that were built in the wrong factory
Actually, I go by Dave, but there are already too many Daves on this forum.


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#14
Quote by MrFlibble
This is what the normal arrangement is now, and it's been this way for about twelve years now. It was only three years ago that they switched the MIM production back to having no tone on the bridge pickup, and it's still one of the few constant production line that is wired this way.
They swapped it over just a few years ago when they upgraded the American Strat, like in '08 or something. The open bridge pickup has been the norm for the last 60 or so years. The combined bridge/middle tone that is standard has only been around a few years.

I prefer the combined bridge/middle tone control, doesn't mean it is/was the norm though Fibble.
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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#15
Thank you for the answers! I'll probably take American Std. Strat.
I still wonder if I should buy it with maple or rosewood fretboard.
#16
It's personal choice pretty much haha, I think a maple board looks best on a Strat but someone else may think otherwise.

The maple board will have more of a trebly attack/bite and sound brighter, and the rosewood will be more balanced out and warmer. Maple fretboards feel slicker than rosewood, but since they have a finish will show wear over time whereas rosewood doesn't. It's personal preference
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2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#17
Quote by MrFlibble
The Texas Specials in the American Special are not the same as the Custom Shop Texas Specials that you find in the SRV signature Strats (and even the Mexican-made Deluxe Lonestar and Roadhouse Strats). They're still alright pickups, but not as amazing as the proper CS Texas Specials. .


where do you get that from ?
I have the SRV and the american special and they sound the same to me...
you can listen yourselve :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NroOgVYY6sc&feature
#18
I personally fell in love with an American Special the first time I picked it up and couldn't really justify the extra cost of a Standard at that time.

Played a bunch of American Standards, Deluxes, Selects, Artist models and so on in stores from time to time, yet I always seem to find the American Specials and Road Worns the most inspiring and best feeling to me personally. (Also have to say that I have to find an American Special with as good looking rosewood and maple as my own one.)

It's a personal preference thing IMO. I personally loved to black pickguard, big headstock, satin finished neck, jumbo frets and Texas Specials of the American Special. The trem is something I don't use anyway, the tuners are absolutely alright and the only little things I don't like about it (electronics configuration and the humbucker) are thing that I would have changed on the Standard as well.
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#19
That being said, the finish on my mexican guitars (both standard and classic player) was superior to my american special, except for the satin on the back of the neck of the american special.

Tone-wise, there is no difference between the texas specials in an american special and the SRV strat, the wood of the guitar and the setup will have its influence but they are the same pickups, trust me. The american specials sound really good.

But, with the fat50's in the 2012 strats.... and higher quality, I think I would choose for the American standard strat. Anyway a nice guitar needs a nice case to put it in

Choosing guitars can be hard I know, always worrying about which one will be the best buy, but actually the classic players, american specials and american standards are all great anyway.

for looks & great sound & best value for the money :
go classic player

for american label & great sound & satin neck & good resale value :
go american special

for case & quality & satin neck & american label & great sound & good resale value :
go american standard
Last edited by anticlock at Sep 18, 2012,
#20
MrFlibbleA lot of inaccurate guff and half truths. Ignore what he says and look elsewhere for a discussion of the differences between standard and special strats. Woods??? Tuners???? Not custom shop Texas pups??? Can't play or accurately describe worth a damn! Just look elsewhere and you'll see.
#21
Quote by seanduggan75
MrFlibbleA lot of inaccurate guff and half truths. Ignore what he says and look elsewhere for a discussion of the differences between standard and special strats. Woods??? Tuners???? Not custom shop Texas pups??? Can't play or accurately describe worth a damn! Just look elsewhere and you'll see.


yes let's re-open a thread from 2012 for that ...