American Special Stratocaster HSS
RoughDraft274, on november 09, 2012 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 639
Purchased from: zZounds.com
Features: American made Strat with a nice back glossy finish, black three ply pickguard, three piece alder body with maple neck, rosewood fretboard. Modern C-shaped neck, 9.5" radiused fretboard, 22 jumbo frets, 25.5" scale, 1.685" nut width. Equipped with a Vintage styled 6 point tremolo and Fender brand non-locking tuners. Pickups come stock with Fender texas special pickups and an atomic humbucker in the bridge position, equipped with fender's grease bucket tone control and electronics.
The only thing I don't like is that I hate tremolo's so I blocked this one off like I would do to any strat, so I won't count that against it. Some locking tuners would be nice too. It came with a Fender deluxe gig bag. // 9
Sound: I play mostly all styles of blues, classic rock, a little alternative stuff now and then. I'm playing it through a Fender Deluxe VM 40 watt amp and have used a Boss blues driver and Dunlop Cry Baby wah pedal with it.
This guitar is very hot when you want it to be. Very easy to pull off Stevie Ray Vaughan tones and the like but it isn't a one trick pony. I play mostly on the neck pickup, you can easily pull some warm rhythm tones out of it. The neck pickup gets very warm and bright Fender cleans, amazing clarity for me, I've yet to find a way to get the tone out of this guitar to sound muddy at all. The middle pickup is almost useless for me by itself but sounds good when in the 2nd and fourth position with the other pickups. It's just too bright and twangy and without any tone control of it's own it just doesn't do it for me, but when mixed with the front pickup it sounds much better, they mix very well and get a slightly brighter sound than just the neck pickup alone. When mixed with the bridge humbucker it sounds ok for slightly distorted tones, but the humbucker sounds so good by itself I feel no need for the fourth position. The humbucker sounds amazing with plenty of distortion. It nails the classic rock tones I'm going for. Sounds damn good with the blues driver in front of it but I prefer the gain channel on my amp. I don't think I'd ever use it for any clean tone but with the tone controls being very versatile it's easy to dial in great sounds. It's great distortion but you can hear what's being played behind it all, not muddy at all.
Overall, if someone's looking for a very pure and classic Stratocaster tone, you might consider this guitar with a pickup swap, but I doubt you'll find any pickups that sound better, just different.
Someone might have a difficult time pulling a very mellow vibe out of this guitar, but that's not really something that I care about much. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: I bought this guitar as a blemished item and was very glad when it came in to see that the blem was a minor warp in the pickguard which I've already fixed.
The action came in not so great, but I've played a few at guitar center before ordering this and they were set up great at the store. The high e snapped when I went to tune it up, worrying me about the quality of the nut, whether it might have a sharp edge, but I think it was the string acting funny cause I've had no problems since that. The strings were set a little too low with abolutely no relief in the neck, which I like a little bit of relief.
I set it up to fenders standards according to their website for a guitar with this fretboard radius and whatnot, it's playing perfectly now. The action isn't very low, right where I like it, but it could go lower. I didn't have to touch the intonation, that was already perfect. It came set up with 9's which I like.
The pickups were already where they needed to be and it sounded great already so I didn't do any altering to them.
The finish is exactly what I would expect from an american made fender. Nice a glossy body, very shiny, very good fretwork, the neck is nice and smooth, very well done and easy to play. I can't find any flaw with it. Everything was snug and perfectly placed other than the action being low like I said.
The 9.5" radius is perfect for me, I've always enjoyed a smaller radiused fretboard. The jumbo frets are something I really wanted on a strat. It increases the playability for me greatly. Some people might like a more Standard feeling neck with a 12" radius and medium jumbo frets, but if you like those features then definitely check out this guitar. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I placed some strap locks on this guitar just for safety reasons, I se no reason to worry about it's reliability. The strap buttons are solid but I don't trust any strap with holding any guitar worth more than a few hundred. I just wouldn't risk it. The finish I'm sure will hold up but if it wears down a little I'll probably like it even more. I haven't played a gig lately but am looking to soon and always bring a backup but not because I don't trust this guitar.
The hardware seems very sturdy, but admittedly I hate tremolos. I blocked off the tremolo as soon as I got it because I never use them and haven't met one that I liked. // 10
Overall Impression: I've been playing for about 10 years, have had numerous other guitars, this is the guitar for me. I could have went higher in my budget and bought something more expensive but I love strats and this guitar spoke to me. I've tried out other american strats and even the deluxes, this one just played effortlessly for me, though the others were top notch guitars also. It fits my style perfectly.
I own a Fender Deluxe VM and it sounds great through this amp but I've also played through a number of other fenders at a few stores and it still gets the same great tone.
If it were stolen I'd buy this exact same guitar without question. The only thing I come close to hating on this guitar is the tremolo, but I hate them all. My favorite feature would have to be the texas special pickups mixed with the greasebucket circuitry. It produces the most usable tones of any guitar I've ever played.
The only thing I'll ever do is thrown in some locking tuners when I start gigging it soon, just for ease, but these tuners work great. // 9
American Special Stratocaster HSS
philth, on november 09, 2012 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Features: 2011 Model American Special HSS Stratocaster in Black on Black finish. Before I go any further in this review I should state that I'm writing and rating this review relative to the guitars price point in the market. I also own an American Deluxe Strat so that serves as a good contrast to this Fender offering. Anyways... Features of the American Special HSS:
- Made in USA.
- 2 x Texas Special Single Coils in Neck and Middle position.
- 'Atomic' humbucker in the Bridge position
- Greasebucket tone circuit that removes treble frequency without adding bass.
- 22 Jumbo Frets.
- Maple neck with Rosewood fingerboard.
- Fender branded non-locking tuning machines.
- Regular (vintage/conventional) truss rod.
- Modern 'C' shape neck profile with 9.5 inch radius.
- Satin feel neck.
- Vintage style 70's large headstock.
- 5 position pickup selector.
- Vintage style tremolo with screw in tremolo arm.
- Solid black lacquer finish.
- Gig bag, polishing cloth and Allens keys.
I'm very pleased with the features of this guitar for it's price point in the market, I specifically ordered this model, in this colour because I was looking for a solid workhorse guitar that can be a 'go-to' guitar for jamming and gigging. Usually I will have my American Deluxe Strat (2001 pre the S1 switching models) and my Gibson Les Paul Standard on hand at band practice and switch between those two in order to get the tone that the song dictates. My hope with this guitar is that I can just take one guitar along with me, use the humbucker with the tone rolled off a bit to try and bluff a Les Paul like tone.
Across the board the features of this guitar might not be top of the line but Fender has done a reasonable job of reaching into the parts bin and putting together a USA made guitar at a cheap price. I will leave fit and finish comments until later in this review but feature wise the only small niggles include not offering a case and the older style Vintage Tremolo but hey! Like I said earlier, at this price point you can't hope for the world and my rating reflects that. Interestingly - and not something I ever remember reading anywhere before (and no bearing on the rating) - the truss rod in this neck is the older style non bi-flex rod unlike the other Strat necks I'm accustomed to in Deluxe's and American Standards etc. I thought Fender had bi-flex rods in everything but I'm not an expert on the topic I must admit. // 9
Sound: I've never owned a guitar with Texas specials before and I was surprised at how bright and punchy in the mid range these are. I play through a Fender Pro Reverb and I found myself dialing back the tone to compensate for the extra punch. The greasebucket tone circuit however seems to be everything that Fender claim it to be and the tone doesn't get mushy at you roll off the treble.
Home base for me is usually in position one or two, I.e neck or neck/middle pickup selected. I've read reviews of American Special Strats saying that the middle pickups sounds great or whatever but umm... I've never really got a useable tone out of a middle pickup on a Strat yet and that doesn't change here either. In the middle position you're somewhere in the tonal twilight zone, flying with only the volume control to help you. But, tone of course is subjective so I'm sure someone out there will like that sound. I view that region more like an annoying stop along the way to the humbucker in the bridge! Of particular interest to me and I'm sure other guitarists out there is the Atomic humbucker. It does a pretty good job for both rock and metal tones with the tone rolled off a little.
The voicing of this humbucker is naturally bright being in the bridge position but not so bright that it could cut glass. I like to use my Boss CS3 compressor and roll off the tone a little also and I can conjure up a ballsey, authentic Judas Priest or early era Metallica tone from the humbucker through a Boss MT2 Metalzone. Through an overdrive pedal I can achieve as close to a Zeppelin like tone that a Strat will ever get. Pleasing to note is the relative balance in output compared to the single coils in the neck and middle positions, it's louder for sure but not so much so that it sounds out of place. I have to say that before this guitar arrived in the delivery truck I was already looking at possible humbucker replacements on the internet but I think I will be leaving the Atomic humbucker right where it is for the time being.
I play everything from blues to classic rock and old school metal and I have spent some considerable time dialing in my favourite tones through my pedal board with these pickups. I currently have an Okko Diablo (amazing!), T-Rex Mudhoney, MXR 78' Distortion and humble Boss Metalzone MT2 for the harder edge stuff. The first position (neck) with a little compression thrown into the mix gives an instant SRV tone. Second position (neck/middle)is noticeably 'quackier' that my Deluxe Strat and you'll find yourself rolling off the tone a little more than other positions. Again I think that might just be my previous inexperience with Texas Specials. Middle position should be avoided like dinner with your inlaws... Position four (middle/bridge) isn't too inspiring either but once you get to Position five and the humbucker goodness, odds are you've stomped on the distortion pedal and you're smiling again. I'm going to give sound overall an 8 only because of the Texas Specials being a bit hard to rein in. The humbucker has been brilliant so far though, which justifies the 8. // 8
Action, Fit & Finish: This is the only area that I have any real criticism to direct Fender's way. Again I should reiterate that this is a well priced guitar and I can't expect the world but I'll try and run through my observations here anyhow.
I originally asked the store to setup the guitar with.10's for me because the stock standard.09's are a far too light. I also asked them to basically hard tail the tremolo as I've never been one for whammy bar theatrics and I believe there are benefits in sustain also. When I took the guitar out of the box I was disappointed to see that the setup work had not been done but I won't mark Fender down for that - obviously that was a customer service issue with the store. Anyways the trem was well and truly floating, probably half an inch off the body. I took the cover off the back of the guitar and was surprised to see wood dust in there from when they drilled the holes for the trem cover. Once I restrung the guitar with the correct gauge I play, balanced the trem flush with the body and replaced the trem cover I noticed oddly that I can no longer see the string slot holes through the 'window' in the plastic cover - basically when I restring I will have to take this cover off again! It seems that the slot wholes line up fine when the tremolo is floating but not when flush. I'm not sure if this has always been an issue with Vintage tremolos or not, as my deluxe has the 2 point tremolo system.
The next issue that gets me every time with Fender, is removing the plastic shrink wrap on the pickguard. How silly is it that you have to pop the Volume and tone knobs off to successfully remove the thin plastic film? Even then there is still residual around screws etc and on a black guitar it looks a bit stooopid!
That's the negatives out of the way though. I'm really pleased with the neck profile, fretwork, pickup height and pole piece staggering. The bridge seems to be intonated and radiused well. Aside from the tremolo height mentioned before the action was great at what I'd describe as medium height, just how I like it.
The overall paint finish is good, strap buttons were replaced immediately with strap lock buttons but the originals looked sturdy enough. I love the cool Vintage headstock and the jumbo frets make bending and vibrato a breeze. The string spacing and neck profile are wider than my Deluxe but somehow still very comfortable. The tuning machines do the job and the nut looks to be cut well with no string grabbing etc. I've read that these necks are Highway One upgrades left over from a few years back with Jumbo frets but even if they are, doesn't worry me! Feels great!
It might sound weird but you could sum the action, fit and finish of this guitar up as a workman who is good at his job. He doesn't care if he looks pretty or not, he just gets the job done with minimum fuss. As I've mentioned I have had a high end American Deluxe Strat for years and this guitar is under half what I paid for that yet it is put together solidly in terms of hardware, joins, tolerances etc. Only reason I'm giving a 7 here is the negatives mentioned above but even they should again be viewed relative to the price point of the guitar. // 7
Reliability & Durability: This guitar will definitely stand up to live playing, we all know and love the Stratocaster anyhow, they're so customizable and repairable that this section of review is hardly even neccesary.
I will always have a backup for a gig but I'm betting on not needing it and the whole reason of this purchase was so I could do a whole gig/jam/practice with the one guitar. Although not technically an issue of durability, rather protection - I think it's a bit strange to market this guitar as a working musicians guitar and not sell it with a case? Obviously trying to keep costs down but that's my only niggle on an otherwise rock solid guitar. I already had a Fender case on order when I bought this guitar. // 9
Overall Impression: Couldn't be more pleased with this guitar. At $1075 AUD street price it's a bit of a no brainer. I would recommend this to anyone who is in that middle ground between single coil and humbucker as the greasebucket tone circuit is a real get out of jail free card. I've been playing for 10 years and owned probably a dozen or so guitars and this is a real 'does what it says on the box' guitar. If it were lost or stolen I'd definitely buy another one.
There's always things that we'd change as guitarists to get our own little idea of perfection - for me that would be the tremolo being upgraded to the 2 point tremolo. You have to be careful when palm muting strings as you can cut yourself on these Vintage trems with the rough metal of the height adjustment screws. I may change the tuning machines to locking tuners in time to come but like I said I'm just being picky. Oh! And a case. (Did I mention a case would be nice?!)
Aside from a little workmanship niggle and some parts that are perhaps not top of the line this guitar is a versatile, solid and good looking instrument. You have to look at any guitar in light of what you paid and I believe that the features packed into this instrument at a great price make it a great buy. // 8
American Special Stratocaster HSS
Dawgman51, on november 09, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 750
Purchased from: Broadway Sound, Knoxville, TN
Features: My newest Strat is a 2010 model American Special HSS, made in California. 22 jumbo (I think) frets, black alder body, black on white pickguard, black pickups, maple neck, with a rosewood fingerboard. It has the large 70's style peghead, with the bold Fender decal on it. Six chrome Fender tuners. Vintage style (6 screw) tremelo. It has two Texas Special single pole pickups in the neck and middle positions and an Atomic Humbucker at the bridge. Three controls are Master Volume and two "greasebucket" tone controls, which shape the sound of the Bridge and neck pickups in this model, with the tone of the middle pickup being fixed. Takes a little getting used to, after you've played a regular Strat for years, with the normal fixed Bridge pickup. Standard 5 position pickup selector switch. It comes with a deluxe Fender gig bag, but I opted for a hardshell case which added $100 to the price. Got a very good price on this guitar because the dealer was selling out their Fender stock at the time I bought it. // 9
Sound: I play a mixture of blues, classic rock, country, and oldies pop tunes and Stratocasters have always fulfilled all my needs in an electric guitar. I quickly found that this one does, as well, and even allows me some extra dimensions that I never had in a standard, SSS-type Strat. It's still new, so I'm still investigating all its possibilities. I'm playing it mainly through my Fender Blues Jr., or Roland Street Cube amplifiers and it has impressed me with its wide range of sounds and tones through both. The neck pickup gives a warm, thicker tone that's perfect for the blues and pop things that I do, while the rather twangy middle pickup is ideal for the country things and pulling off a traditional Fender sound. But the Bridge humbucker is GREAT, IMO. I have pulled off some good Led Zeppelin-type tones with it, as well as a great Southern Rock sound, and a NASTY HOT blues lick or two. It has worked well with all the built-in effects on my Roland amp, and works great with my Boss Blues Driver box in front of it, through the Blues Jr. and this Atomic Humbucker has really good sustain, as well. As far as noise, well, the single-pole pickups are just that, and both of them can hum a little at higher volumes, but it's covered up when you're playing and adding a noise gate in front of the Blues Driver would silence it between songs in live performances. The Atomic Humbucker is as quiet as the name implies. The only mods I've done to this guitar are some set-up work and locking down the tremelo, which I don't use at all. That even increased the sustain a bit. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: The initial (factory) setup was a little off for me, but it almost always is, with a new guitar, and I really don't count that against it at all. Being bounced around in a truck during shipment doesn't do any factory pre-set a lot of good. After I got it, I dialed in the neck, then adjusted the action height, and tweaked the intonation a little. About thirty minutes of work and it's now perfect. I have learned, over the years, to do most of this myself, so it doesn't cost me anything but a little time. The finish, as in all of Fender's higher-end guitars, is excellent. Not a flaw that I can see anywhere. It's plenty tough and durable, too. The tuners and other hardware are solid, with nothing loose at all. All the controls work well, with no noise. The pickups were adjusted well at the factory; sound has been no problem at all. I did replace the strap buttons with a set of strap locks, but I've done that on all my electrics. Nothing was wrong at all with the originals. // 9
Reliability & Durability: About any American Strat will hold up well to live playing and this one is no exception. No major mods are necessary in order to take it on the road (unless you just want to mod something on it). Just set it up for your style of playing and wail away! If I were gigging live, my Strat probably would be my sole electric guitar onstage, along with one of my acoustics. Since it's the only Strat I currently own, it's the "only game in town" for me. // 9
Overall Impression: The Fender Stratocaster, IMO, is one of the most versatile electric guitars ever to be made. They've been used for almost all genres of music, except (obviously) jazz and classical. In popular music, they lend themselves well to every style. The sound combinations that can be pulled from a Standard Strat are many and varied, and the American Special HSS Strat makes even more sounds possible. I've played, on and off, since the mid-1970's, and have owned several Stratocasters over those years, but I'm thinking now, since I bought this one, that maybe it's the MOST versatile one that Fender has ever made. I have yet to find one thing about this guitar that I don't like, so far. // 10
American Special Stratocaster HSS
unregistered, on november 09, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: € 999
Purchased from: Guitar shop
Features: Built in 2011. Alder body with gloss urethane finish, 9.5-inch-radius maple neck, rosewood fretboard, 22 jumbo frets, Texas Special middle and neck pickups, an Atomic humbucking bridge pickup, and vintage-style synchronized tremolo. It came with a gigbag and some basic tools. It scored a 9 because American made instruments are real expensive in Europe. I think that for the equivalent of $1300, - us European overpayers deserve a nice hardcase in stead of the flimsy gigbag. // 9
Sound: I play lot's of stuff, but mostly rock and symphonic rock. The guitar works really well for this application. Mated with some stompboxes and my simple Jet City 20 tube amp (modded) it is more versatile than any standard strat. Even though you do lose a bit of the "bell like chime" you gain a guitar that can do a convincing SRV or Jimi Hendrix tone but can also chug some heavy stuff in dropped D tuning. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar's finish is perfectly done, nice high gloss urethane paint, perfectly alligned screws, just what you would expect from a U.S made instrument when compared to Taiwanese or Mexican guitars. The factory setup, however, was crap. If you buy one of these, have it setup by a luthier or do it yourself, but only if you have the experience to do this properly (anyone can hold a screwdriver, but that does not mean anything)! The frets are nice and level, tremolo is dead on perfect.
I think that the bad setup was the fault of the Fender dealer, not the factory. When you ship a guitar halfway across the world, it will lose it's setup completely. It is the retailers job to set it up correctly. Since the dealer is a Fender representative, the rating is lowered a bit. // 7
Reliability & Durability: This guitar and its hardware will withstand live playing just like any other US made Fender has for the last 50 (?) years. I was surprised by the quality of the hardware (especially the bridge and bridge-block) when compared to any guitar in the same price range. I do strongly recommend to change the tuners to locking Fender tuners, I have a feeling the tuners that came with the guitar are built to a lower spec than they where a couple of decades ago. // 9
Overall Impression: I own (and have owned) about 5 Les Paul-esque guitars, an Ibanez S470, and a TCS Strat copy. I've been playing for almost 16 years and think that with the Fender American Special HSS and a Les Paul, you really have all the sounds you can possibly need for (blues)rock, progressive rock and rock-like music. The American special HSS will however not be the ultimate blues or SRV guitar, its versatility is it's fort and you can't have it all (just look at the Strat lovers that own 5+ guitars that all nail ONE sound).
I love the fact that you can see and feel that this IS an American made instrument. It's fit and finish is much better than any MIM or Epiphone will ever be. At this pricepoint I think that is a big achievement. YOU MUST HAVE THIS GUITAR SET UP PROPERLY, BEFORE JUDGING IT! // 9
American Special Stratocaster HSS
alexkim1878, on november 09, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 799
Purchased from: Musiciansfriend.com
Features: - Model Name: American Special Stratocaster HSS
- Series: American Special Series
- Body: Alder
- Neck: Maple, Modern C Shape, (Gloss Urethane Finish)
- Fingerboard: Rosewood, 9.5 Radius (241 mm)
- No. of Frets: 22 Jumbo Frets
- 1 Atomic(TM) Humbucking Pickup (Bridge),
- 1 Texas Special(TM) Strat(R) Pickup (Middle),
- 1 Texas Special(TM) Strat(R) Pickup (Neck)
- Master Volume,
- Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), Greasebucket(TM) Tone Circuit, (Rolls Off Highs without Adding Bass)
- Tone 2. (Bridge Pickup), Greasebucket(TM) Tone Circuit, (Rolls Off Highs without Adding Bass)
- Pickup Switching: 5-Position Blade:
- Position 1. Bridge Pickup
- Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup
- Position 3. Middle Pickup
- Position 4. Middle and Neck Pickup
- Position 5. Neck Pickup
- Bridge: Vintage Style Synchronized Tremolo
- Machine Heads: Fender Standard Cast/Sealed Tuning Machines
- Hardware: Chrome
- Pickguard: 3-Ply Black/White/Black
- Scale Length: 25.5 (648 mm)
- Width at Nut: 1.6875 (43 mm)
- Unique Features: Large 70s Style Headstock, Greasebucket Tone Circuit, Atomic Humbucking Bridge Pickup, Texas Special Neck/Mid Pickups, Large 70s Style Decal, Black Pickup Covers and Plastic Parts, White Dot Position Inlays
- Strings: Fender USA, Nickel Plated Steel, Gauges: (.009, .011, .016, .024w, .032, .042)
- Accessories: Deluxe Gig Bag, Polishing Cloth
- Case: Deluxe Gig Bag // 9
Sound: This is the perfect guitar for the music I play. I play from classical, Indie rock, all the way to Hard rock. The Atomic Humbucker makes this guitar a universal guitar. I Mostly use the Vox AC30, but I also hook it in to a Peavey Solo (it's really small). When I hook it up to a Peavey, my amp sounds AMAZING. The effects I'm using are MXR Dyna Comp, Rocktron Zombie, DigiTech Digital Delay, Crybaby Wahwah, Marshall Reflector, Marshall Blues Breaker II and a MXR Bluebox.
This guitar brings out a classic rock, fat/thick tone with the Atomic Humbucker (Bridge). but the 2 Texas Special Single coils give out an Amazing sound, the bright, and a but twangy like a Tele, I was mind blown! The single coals aren't that noisy, actually they're the quietest singles (besides the noiseless singles) I've ever heard. This guitar has good amount of varieties. From Fat and rich humbucker, to the bright, smooth, Glassy single coals. This is my first Fender guitar and the other one I have is a Yamaha, I forgot the model but it is HSH and the singles are REALLY Noisy. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: The action wasn't very impressing, the bridge needed to be set up. I had to sand the nut to fit in new strings (Ernie Ball Titanium 0.10-0.52). but everything else was fine. The pickups were adjusted perfectly! It's just like they read my mind, it was set up how I wanted it to be! Everything was fine besides the bridge. the B string and the low E string needed to be set up. This guitar was flawless, it is professionally made, the wiring were perfect, but the nut needed a bit of sanding if you're going to put 52's. // 8
Reliability & Durability: This guitar will probably last me more that 30 years! It is extremely strong. I've bumped it hard into corners and no dents or bumps. The hard was is going to last at least 20-30 years, it seems really amazing, the quality is American made. The Straps are good too, I didn't need to put staplocks, my strap doesn't fall or trying to fall. I wouldn't need a backup. this is one solid piece of guitar. The finish seems thick enough, but it has few scratches on the back, and some on the front because of picks. // 8
Overall Impression: Like again, I play from Classical, Indie to some hard rock! and this is the perfect guitar, it can do Guns N' Roses, U2, Muse, Green Day, any band! you name it! I've been playing this guitar for about a year, 1 year and no complains. I have a Yamaha (forgot the model) HSH, not the best quality but playable. There was no questions. I've played this guitar, and I went on the site and ordered it in less than a minute.
If it did get stolen I would hunt the person who stole it, if I can't find him, I'd buy the same guitar. It's just simply amazing! If you're thinking getting a Steve Ray Vaughn tone, get it. it works for almost every type of music! What I love about it is the Grease bucket. it makes a great tone. when you lower your tone, it doesn't get muddy! What I don't like is... NOTHING! There's nothing to hate about this guitar! But I would be good if it had a S-1 Switch! (push/pull and changes the way your pickups work). // 9
American Special Stratocaster HSS
Creebe, on november 09, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: C$ 500
Purchased from: Craigslist
Features: This guitar is made in the USA. Serial number indicates that it was manufactured in 2011. Alder body, 22 frets maple neck with rosewood fingerboard. It's a Strat with Vintage style 6-bolt bridge. HSS config with 5 way switch, 1 volume 2 tone controls. Nonlocking Fender tuners came with Fender gig bag. // 9
Sound: It's got an authentic Stratocaster sound. Especially on the neck pickup. Everything feels quite elegant. I play mostly rock and some blues, and also play for my Church almost every weekend. It is a very versatile guitar with the bridge humbucker. I can create some heart tugging riffs with the neck pickup; well defined clean rhythm with the neck+middle position, and a fat sound when I crank up the gain with the bridge position.
The middle pickup is somehow very very very bright. I rarely use it alone. But I can see myself switching it on when live, totally depend on the song we play and how the sound is mixed on the soundboard. It can produce some cool lead lines and definitely stands out when live. But I wouldn't play any rhythm with it, it's just too bright. I have a simple rig. I run the guitar through a Boss CS-3 Comp Sustain, an OD-3 Overdrive and a DD-3 Delay. I don't do any complicated stuff on the guitar, nor will I ever plan to. This guitar is sufficient to the type of music I play. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: The action was okay, but I did follow a YouTube video to get it fully set up. I raised the bridge pickup a bit just to increase the gain by a little bit. I used to have the neck raised as well because when I use the neck-middle position, I wanted the neck to be a little more present. I don't think the guitar had any flaws. I bought it from Craigslist, but the guy had it for half a month, unplayed, then decided to sell. All stickers, plastic are untouched. The manual bag was unopened. So I guess it was practically brand new. Guitar is an American Fender, so the quality is quite decent. // 9
Reliability & Durability: As I mentioned before, I play almost every weekend. So yeah, this guitar is quite reliable. I haven't had any issues with it on stage. Solid strap buttons, everything nice. I can definitely depend on it. Looks like it will last a long time. I've already got some pick scratches on the pickguard, so I will have to replace it after a few years. // 10
Overall Impression: Overall a good guitar. I got nothing to complain about except for the bridge. The g string is always more out of tune than the other strings after using the tremolo. I don't know how I can fix this, restringing doesn't really work... If this guitar were stolen, I'd probably buy another American Special. But I'd try a SSS with maple fretboard next time.