American Select Stratocaster HSS review by Fender

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (38 votes)
Fender: American Select Stratocaster HSS

Price paid: $ 1300

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
I play blues all the way to metal-ish music. It handles all of it fantastically. The singles are great for early stuff like clapton, and with some thick gain even get some good SRV stuff. Being singles they are noisy, but I've heard much worse. The Humbucker is thick warm and punchy, with a good edge to it. Might not handle super heavy metal stuff great but anything below that it sounds great, and is totally noiseless. Blended, all the pickups sound great. and the S-1 is a nice addition. I play it through a Vox-VT100 and it sounds great for almost everything. Humbucker is very responsive to how you hit the strings.

Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing for 2 years now, and own another MIM Strat and a vox-VT100. This Strat is fantastic and a joy to play plugged up or not. There's really nothing I dislike about it, which is good given it wasn't cheap. If it was stolen, I would literally destroy whoever stole it. If I couldn't, I would definitely buy it again, though that might take a while given I'm 17 and on a budget. If nothing else, the only thing I'd change is getting some noiseless singles, but that's not very high on the to-do list at all. The thing Rocks.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is one heavy mother, and feels as durable as a tank. The hard is all on tight, no loose strap buttons or anything, and personally I would gig without a backup if I had to. The wood and finish seem durable and even with its fair share of bumps, none have broken through to the wood. The frets have worn down to where I like them now. So that was a plus. This guitar seems like a it may outlast me.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When it got to me, the action was slightly high, but nothing unbearable and I fixed it next time I strung it. The action is very low now, but it never frets out and there's only fret Buzz on the Low E if you slam it. The pickups are set great and the finish was flawless, and ten times better than the pictures (they make it look kinda light red, but its a very deep, grain-laden red). The Hardware all came in good shape, though bridge seems to be more of a dive only style bridge rather than a free-floating one. I personally like it as I tune down to drop D often, and it keeps perfect tune. It also holds tune well after a broken string. HOWEVER, as the bridge and strings settle they start to lose their tuning, I woudldnt go more than a song or two without fixing the string and retuning.

Features — 9
I got a 2009 Fender American Select HSS strat. It has 22 jumbo frets and a C neck profile. The neck is maple with a clear satin finish and it has a rosewood fretboard. The body is solid Mahogany with a beautiful transparent crimson finish. The Humbucker is a Diamondback with plenty of gain and lots of warmth, and the two singles are Tex-Mex Singles with the neck having a thin but punchy sound and the middle being more full but still mildly twangy. It has a Volume knob with S-1 switching (which lets you incorporate the humbucker into all the positions) and 2 tone knobs. It has an LSR roller nut and Schaller Locking Tuners on a sweet black headstock. The tremolo is 2- point and it has the elongated (I think string saver?) saddles on the bridge. It came with a molded Hardshell case, a strap, snap in whammy bar, strap locks, and a 12 foot Fender Cable. It also had every sized allen I needed.

21 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have this guitar myself. it plays amazingly well. I use it for Metal, rock, and classical stuff. It works with any type of music.
    Own one. Striking appearance. Great build. Humbucker stands up well. Would think about replacing the single coils with something that sounds a little thicker.
    After playing a bunch of Gibsons in stores (in the $800 - $2000 range), this is as close as I'd come to getting a Gibson. When/if I do get a short scale guitar it'll probably be a Mustang or a Jaguar, but those are even 3/4" shorter than the Gibsons. Maybe they're different now, but most of the Gibsons I've played had really shallow nut slots and the high strings kept popping out of the nut. I've never had that happen with any other guitar. I don't know if the slots just need to be cut deeper or if the nut is just shorter overall. It would suck to have a luthier cut the nut deeper to retain the string, but then have a buzzing problem from the action too loo at the nut.
    lespaul4eveR wrote: I'm debating... Gibson Les Paul studio.... or this..? Gonna have to go play them both I suppose.
    The only way for this to get closer to a Gibson style and still be a Strat would be to give it a glued-on neck, HH config, and 2 volume controls/w 3-way switch. Hell, it's even made of mahagony. This is more like what Vablo said, it's the Fender Strat for Gibson SG lovers. Otherwise the big question to ask yourself is do you want a full scale or a short scale guitar. This will be harder to play than a Gibson (for most people), but it could be worth it (just ask Jeff Beck about the basic difference between Fender & Gibsons)...
    LP, I played them both and my preference was the Strat. It felt better for me...but that's subjective, but also i personally liked the sound better too. The Singles are very strong and bodied and id rather have a couple of them than a neck HB. Plus if you use the S-1 with position 5 or 4, its about the same character as a Humbucker too. Full and mellow with plenty of warmth.
    I'm debating... Gibson Les Paul studio.... or this..? Gonna have to go play them both I suppose.
    CkY freak
    I have thus guitar, its great! Its a great rock and metal guitar believe it or not. I used an Ibanez Prestige for most of my shows I did, and this Fender was able to keep up, no problem. I love it.
    If a strat and an SG had a baby, it would raise a lot of questions. But it would also make this guitar!
    This guitar is pretty sexy. The fender's housing humbuckers are pretty damn good for metal too. I have a Jeff Beck signature that house single single hum, rather than all singles and it can shit all over my ibanez. High end fender's are not to be ****ed with.
    I love Mahogany HSS Strats. Adds some much needed punch and body to the traditional Strat tone.
    Wow, I'm not a fan of Fender's (I don't like their necks, but I do find them Telecasters attractive), but this looks badass! O____O
    Not a huge fender guy, but that's definitely one of the few I'd give a chance