Price paid: C$ 1300
Purchased from: The Arts
Sound — 10
This is where they seperate. I have play the HSS for much longer and have tried in on a number of different amps. I could not find an amp to accomodate the muddy sound the neck pickup gave with the S1 switch. Mix that in with the fact that the first bridge is deemed useless with the S1 (because it's already humbucked), I then lose out on two of the many Switch possibilities. Harmonics are crazy on this guitar. The SSS really shines here. I use all positions ( S1 and req.). I don't feel limited as I did with the HSS, simply because I get the best of both worlds. Single coils and a hum free warm tone with the S1. This Strat has more of the authentic "quack" sound we Strat lovers enjoy. Plus, with the S1 positions, you get a warm full tone with added bite/crunch. I prefer this tone, distorted, more so then the HSS DH-1 humbucker at the bridge position. The cleans are perfect aswell. Keep in mind that I play genres ranging from Blues to a Silverchair esque Metal. The SSS takes my vote here.
Overall Impression — 10
My main amplifier at the moment is a Marshall 50 watt Valvestate. Thanks to both my Fender guitars and my Marshall amp, I can deliver any style of music. The cleans are to die for. Warm, full tones with a hint of reverb. The distortion, either on full gain or half way, rocks when adding the mix. I can hit some heavy Soundgarden "spoonman" riffs or some Clapton "Layla" styles. I play mostly rhythm guitar but occasionally hit lead. In saying that, I have to go with the SSS hands down. To let you know how much I like it, I am now getting rid of all my other guitars simply because I don't need or will ever use them when confronted with the SSS. I have finally found my guitar after so many years and after so much waisted money. Fender out did themselves with this one. I would buy another if this one ever got lost or stolen. Hope this helped.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Like all Fenders, before or after, these beauties will last a lifetime or two. I don't need a back up guitar when I bring either of them to a gig, thanks to the ease and stability of the locking tuners that make life so much easier. They keep strings in tune very well and make re-stringing a joy (20-30 seconds per string). My only required back up now are just extra packs of strings.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action on both of these guitars is impeccable. No problems here. Oddly enough, however, my SSS seems to be lighter in weight then my HSS. Yes, I have compensated for the DH-1 humbucker in the HSS. Not really a problem but I find more comfort in the SSS when strapped to my body. I hate to put it down.
Features — 10
I am going to do a comparison between the American Deluxe strats HSS and SSS. I own both and had plenty of time to get to the know the differences. Who would have thought that two similar guitars would, in fact, be so different. However, in this category they remain the same. Both have locking tuners, strap locks, S1 Switch with noisless SCN pickups, hand rolled necks etc. Just beautiful craftsmanship altogether. The HSS, however, has the added DH-1 humbucker(at the bridge), and a LSR roller nut. My HSS is a Montego black with a gold pickguard, while my SSS is the Amber with the brown pickguard. Both lovely finishes and features.