Price paid: $ 1400
Purchased from: Musician's Workshop- Asheville, NC
Sound — 9
I play mostly blues and southern rock like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ted Nugent, Skynyard. Also some Hendrix, Clapton, and old school Metallica. The guitar fits me perfectly, and with the right amp/effects combination, you can get some crisp thrash sounds. Obviously it plays the blues beautifully, it's a Fender! I run it through a gnx4 multieffects processor into a Blackheart BH5H for blues, and a Mesa Boogie F30 for harder rock and metal. It sounds amazing, especially clean blues. The S-1 switching system offers SO MANY tonal options. Each one is unique from the others, and all are very useful for different tunes to give each a different flavor. there's only one position that's really useless (s-1 on- 5way in the 5th position) But all of the others are great.
Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing for about 4 years. I've played lots of different guitars.. A couple of Gibson sgs, ltd, G&L american made strats, Parker flies, epis, yada yada. The only guitar I've ever played that I like (as a whole) close to this one is a Parker fly my buddy had once, and that's only because of the Acoustic amp in the bridge. I love everything about this thing, and if it was stolen I would definitely save up for another one. It's just too good. Fender deserves a lot of props for the new American Deluxe.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This thing is built to last. The hardware is solid, the tuners feel very sturdy, and I have no doubt it WILL last. The Schaller strap locks that came with it are great, as always, and I would gig without a backup if I had to. The finish is great, I haven't bumped into anything yet though, so I don't know how thin it is. But I think it will fade beautifully with time.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The factory setup was pretty good. There was a little fret buzz on the d string around frets 5-7 if plucked exceptionally hard, and on the E strings around frets 2-3. But not much, and it was easily adjustable. The pickups' poles are just right out of the box, and the finish is flawless. Every control works perfectly, and feel very strong.
Features — 10
My Sunset Metallic Deluxe Strat is an SSS made in 2010. It has 22 frets, a solid alder body, and a maple neck. There are some great upgrades on this guitar from previous years. The locking schaller/fender tuners are fantastic, and cut restringing time in half. They also stay in tune wonderfully. The S-1 switching system is awesome, but I'll talk about that in a bit. It has a compound radius fretboard going from 9" to 14", and a paint job fit for a king. Fender outdid themselves with the sunset metallic paint. The noiseless pickups have been upgrades and produce zero hum, even around a lot of electronics. Which is really helpful while home recording. It came with the Standard molded SKB Fender locking case. A black leather Fender strap was a surprise to me, as most Fenders come with the typical retro looking strap. I love it, though. Also included were a pair of Schaller strap buttons which are much better than the Dunlop straploks I have on my Epiphone (which are still good).