#1
Well, I've been reading a lot of reviews on Harmony Central, and everyone's been commenting on how the American Deluxe's hotter pick-ups sound much "darker" than the Standard (Mexican) HSS Strat's pick-ups. One reviewer recommends that if you're looking for that classic Fender "Strat" sound, don't get an American Deluxe HSS.

Now, I just bought a Standard HSS Strat, and I have to admit, I really, really like the tones from this thing. The 5-position switch really changes the color of the guitar's sounds, from classic Strat "twang," to the treble-filled, bridge-posiiton, humbucker-only, switch-position. My old American HM Strat (configured like an HSS), which came with DiMarzios, have much less difference in tone, when switching among its five positions, and overall, has a darker, heavier sound. But I play the crap outta this thing, and it detunes very quickly. So, I either need to upgrade this Strat, or return it and move up to an American-series Strat.

The Amercian Deluxe's "Hot Samarium Cobalt Noiseless" pick-ups are responsible for what I imagine is a similarly "dark" sound to my HM Strat. Now, I have an excellent tube preamp already, which gives me all the gain I need, and more, so I don't need "hot" pick-ups. What I need is tone. And my inexpensive Standard HSS sure is delivering that tone. Now, the regular (non-Deluxe) American HSS has the Tex-Mex single-coils, and the Diamondback humbucker, so I guess this is a bit mellower than the Deluxe, but still hotter than the Standard.

But, I really love the American Deluxe series for its upgraded neck and fret work, and its improved tremolo, preinstalled LSR nut, and locking tuners. Just wondering what thoughts others here had on this subject.
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American HM Strat | LP Studio
Soldano Avenger w/DeYoung OT | Mark IV rackmount | DC-3 rackmount | Single-Recto

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Last edited by LEVEL4 at Oct 24, 2007,
#2
Pickups are very switchable. I don't really like fender stock pickups at all, and if the Deluxe series has everything you want, get it and switch the pickups.

Secondly, the pickups in it aren't actually hotter - they are just duller/darker sounding. This is due mostly to the noise canceling technology in them.
#3
Thanks, Timmy. Well, sure, I guess I could just switch them out. So, you're telling me, that the SCN pick-ups actually reduce your frequency response? I was also wondering about the SCN's "feature" that they have no "microphonics.' Is that a good thing? On both my DiMarzio HM and my Standard HSS, I have the gain cranked so high on my preamp, I can reproduce muted-picked string harmonics at will. I can also make this really neat "string growl" sound when I rub the stings against the fretboard. I wonder if that particular SCN "feature" diminishes this capability?
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American HM Strat | LP Studio
Soldano Avenger w/DeYoung OT | Mark IV rackmount | DC-3 rackmount | Single-Recto

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#4
Quote by LEVEL4
Thanks, Timmy. Well, sure, I guess I could just switch them out. So, you're telling me, that the SCN pick-ups actually reduce your frequency response? I was also wondering about the SCN's "feature" that they have no "microphonics.' Is that a good thing? On both my DiMarzio HM and my Standard HSS, I have the gain cranked so high on my preamp, I can reproduce muted-picked string harmonics at will. I can also make this really neat "string growl" sound when I rub the stings against the fretboard. I wonder if that particular SCN "feature" diminishes this capability?



Yeah, I say go with what you're used to.


So, If I was you, I'd just switch out the machine tuners on your mex stat for some schaller locking ones, if that is the only problem you have is tuning problems.
Leader of The Cult of Echoes, for those who believe 23 min. of Pink Floyd Epicness just isn't enough.

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#5
Thanks, Alex. Well, that's the crux of my dilemma. I'm able to afford one good guitar, so it's not really a price issue (plus, I'm trading in my HM Strat, worth about $800 retail). I would love to just hot rod my Mexican Strat (It really sounds GREAT through my set-up), but I'm not too happy about its slightly curved neck, and lackluster fretwork (the neck on my American HM Strat is PERFECT). But my HM has a Rosewood fretboard, and I've always really wanted a Maple fretboard (my fingers just "think" they're "faster.").

Anyway, I would much prefer to have a well-crafted American Strat. I've been going back and forth on this in the last couple of days. It also doesn't help that Fender doesn't make an American HSS in black, or that the Floyd Rose HSS only comes with a Rosewood fretboard.
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American HM Strat | LP Studio
Soldano Avenger w/DeYoung OT | Mark IV rackmount | DC-3 rackmount | Single-Recto

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#6
Today, FINALLY, I played BOTH, an American Deluxe HSS Strat, and a Standard (MIM) HSS Strat, and compared their sounds side-by-side.

Fender American Deluxe HSS Strat w/SCN pick-ups:
• Less output (softer) than a Standard.
• Less defined sound.
• More bass-ey.
• Duller, not as "bright" as the Standard.
• The range of sounds appear to have a much narrower frequency response than the Standard.
• Far less tone variation than the Standard, among the five standard switch positions.

Fender Standard (MIM) HSS Strat w/standard Fender pick-ups:
• Hotter output (louder) than American Deluxe.
• That "Fender Strat" sound.
• Far greater range of sound, with more overall high-frequencies.
• Far more tone variation than the American Deluxe, among the five standard switch positions.

So, guess what? I'm keeping my Standard HSS. This, after ALMOST ordering the American Deluxe yesterday. Here's the way I see it:

• Buy an American Deluxe HSS for $1,200, then spend another $200 replacing the pick-ups. Final cost: $1,400 USD.
• Buy a Standard HSS Strat for $400, and spend about $250 upgrading the bridge, nut, and tuners. Add a $50 guitar set-up and fretwork fee. Final cost: $700 USD.

Difference = $700 USD.

So, the answer to my original question: Standard HSS Strat has "better Strat" sound than American Deluxe HSS? A resounding YES!
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American HM Strat | LP Studio
Soldano Avenger w/DeYoung OT | Mark IV rackmount | DC-3 rackmount | Single-Recto

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Last edited by LEVEL4 at Oct 26, 2007,