American Select Stratocaster HSS Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 11/09/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Fender: American Select Stratocaster HSS
With the original Strat guitar body shape and tremolo bridge, this is a Stratocaster that rocks with a traditional vibe and screams out modern sonics with the hot humbucker at the bridge.
 Sound: 5.5
 Overall Impression: 5
 Reliability & Durability: 8.5
 Action, Fit & Finish: 7
 Features: 8.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (2) pictures (6) 22 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
American Select Stratocaster HSS Reviewed by: Charley2715, on november 09, 2012
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1300

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 8

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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overall: 4.8
American Select Stratocaster HSS Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1300

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: Comes with many features found on the American Deluxe Stratocaster including roller nut, beveled heel, locking tuners, select Switch and case. The pickups are set in an HSS configuration, with select choices from the S-1 Switch volume knob. Tone controls are of Standard design. While these features are quite nice, they contribute in no way to the guitar's overall sound and playability. Nevertheless, the quality hardware gives it high marks. // 8

Sound: The guitar "features" a Diamondback humbucker and two custom-staggered Tex-Mex single-coils, and herein is where the problem lay. This guitar does not provide an "incredible" sound as advertised. First of all, the Tex-Mex pickups have always been a topic of mixed reviews. The reason? The reactance of the pickups produce sound in a frequency range that the human ear typically interprets as shrill and undesirable. Tinkering with amp adjustments can make it playable enough, but make no mistake, these pickups are cumbersome to work with. The inductance of the humbucker is married with the Tex-Mex pups to complement, and "ostensibly" compensate for all that lacks in the Tex-Mex configuration. It can be said that with the S-1 switch, some decent tones can be created while maintaining that swank sound associated with a Strat. Overall, however, the sound disappoints. The truth is, you can obtain the same sound on much cheaper HSS guitars. It has all the looks of a great guitar including fine wood craftsmanship, but as far as sound is concerned, it is the Edsel of Stratocasters. I recommend you pass on this guitar and go for either the American Standard or American Deluxe. If you buy it, you will find yourself among a large group of players who ended up swapping out pups for a more desirable sound and never quite satisfied. // 1

Action, Fit & Finish: I have never had a guitar set up correctly from the factory. This is not uncommon. A considerable amount of time is required to adjust an instrument to deliver absolute perfectly comfortable action with no buzzing. Action aside, Fender's quality control is among the best. The tuners, frets, wood joinery and finish are all exceptional. The black headstock is interesting and a welcome departure from other Strats I've seen come from the factory in some of the worst color combinations imaginable. This is a guitar with a beautiful look and great stage presence. Buzzing and tone dropout: The neck is not rolled off above the 12th fret, and is susceptible to buzzing and tone dropout for players who wish a lower action and who typically like to solo at the high end. To fix this, the guitar will have to be taken to a luthier to rework the frets and action. Adjusting the neck tilt and truss does not resolve the buzzing problem with this guitar. // 6

Reliability & Durability: The jury is still out on the durability of the S-1 Switch as this is still a relatively new feature for the Strat, but overall, this guitar should hold up as well on the road and gig playing, as well as the American Deluxe. As I mentioned before, this is a guitar with a beautiful look and great stage presence. The trem bar is one of the nicest features of this design. // 8

Overall Impression: I have played and worked on guitars for over 30 years. I have owned and played a lot of gear over the years. My tastes are eclectic and I have played everything from metal, to classic/southern rock, to blues, country and pop. I had this guitar for several months and ended up trading it for a Fender Deluxe Custom. I will never again own, nor will I recommend one of these guitars. Overall, this guitar is attractive to the eye, but an ugly assault to the ear. // 1

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