My new Fender Standard HSS Strat!

Fender Standard HSS Stratocaster $399 USD

Well, after a week of pondering whether or not to return this back to Guitar Center, and order the chrome silver American Deluxe instead, I've finally decided to keep my black HSS Standard Strat. It's what I've always wanted, cosmetically, a black HSS Strat, with a Maple fretboard. Black is simply unavailable in an American Deluxe (they have "Montego Black" which has gold flecks in it).

Although, I would've preferred black pick-up covers as well (and may still change out the pickguard to a black one) for a completely, blacked-out Strat. But, I FINALLY at least, have the Maple-fretboard I've been wanting since day one. I've had my hot pink, Rosewood-fretboard, HM Strat for like 15 years, and I'm so sick of Rosewood fretboards (not to mention hot pink)! I would have loved to have just ordered the Fender Standard Floyd Rose Strat, but it ONLY comes with a Rosewood fretboard. At only $341 for this HSS (bargained down from $399), and an added $251 in functional and cosmetic upgrades, this makes for a total investment of $592. And at that price, I think I'll have a great guitar for the money.

I decided against the American Deluxe largely because the SCN pick-ups sound muddy and undefined. The Standard Strat's pick-ups sound much brighter, and are actually louder, if you can believe that. The Deluxe also sounded the same no matter where the five-position selector switch was set. When you switch the five-position blade switch on the Standard HSS, you get a world of tonal differences.

The $251 in additional functional and cosmetic mods I'm planning are:

• Fender LSR Roller Nut, SKU no. 361268 $39.99 [Musician's Friend].
• Roller string retainers $5.37 [Stewart-MacDonald].
• Wilkinson/Gotoh VS-100N drop-in tremolo, chrome $99.94 [Stewart-MacDonald].
• Schaller locking tuners, part no. 0661, chrome, 6-in-line, $75.75 [Stewart-MacDonald].
• Black, three-ply HSS pickguard $22.94 [Stewart-MacDonald]
• Black volume/tone Fender-style knobs, $2.36 each [Stewart-MacDonald].

[EDIT: I'm actually going to go for the GraphTech polymer nut instead of the LSR roller nut for now, since that's just a drop-in replacement, whereas the LSR requires enlargement of the nut cavity. But I really want to install the LSR nut eventually someday. I just think it looks way cool, and probably works really well, too.]

Then, after I finish modding my HSS Strat . . .

Squier FSR Affinity Detonator $199 USD

By not buying the American Deluxe, I can now buy that $199 Squier Detonator that I've been wanting, too. It's an all-black guitar with double humbuckers, and a bitchin' built-in kill switch! I can use that for rhythm. I can add the same package (less the pickguard, knobs, string retainer), which brings it down to only $217 of drop-in upgrades to this guitar, too. Then, I'll have a pretty rockin' double-humbucker, totally blacked-out Squier Strat for a total price of only $416.

Then, after I get my Detonator all tricked out, I'll move onto my next Squier modding projects . . .

Squier Black & Chrome Special Edition Stratocaster $199 USD
American HM Strat | LP Studio
Soldano Avenger w/DeYoung OT | Mark IV rackmount | DC-3 rackmount | Single-Recto

Last edited by LEVEL4 at Oct 28, 2007,