American Stratocaster review by Fender

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (399 votes)
Fender: American Stratocaster

Price paid: $ 1000

Purchased from: second hand

Sound — 9
Sounds amazing. Let me tell you right away, all the new strats I played in my life, (and I played quiet a few, every single music store in the state knows me already) don't sound anything close to how the old strats sound. Tone is much richer. Makes me wish I could have a pre-CBS era stratocaster, but for that kind of money I can buy a new nice Cadillac. Mostly I play bluesy stuff and classic rock, influenced from Clapton, led zeppelin, Hendrix, etc... Although sometimes I do play metal like black sabbath, and this guitar when set on the 2nd pickup position, the neck and the middle together (I know some consider it the 4th position) it gives much darker tone, perfect for metal and very heavy music, so over all I can get sound I need from it, the only downside is what I mentioned earlier, can't control the tone on the bridge pickup. My personal equipment is very simple, basically all I have is a Fender Frontman 25R amplifier, no pedals. I'm on a budget. And the cable I use is very old that I bought for 5 bucks 3 years ago. So with those its quiet noisy, still enough for home practice, and when I go somewhere with the guitar there is usually a better equipment and almost no noise.

Overall Impression — 9
All in all this guitars suits perfectly my needs, I couldnt expect more with the budget I have. I believe I really landed on something great with this guitar. In this review I didn't compare it to guitars from its price range, since its not a budget guitar or an entery level guitar, but rather considered professional, so I compared it to guitars like Gibsons, PRS (and I don't mean SE) and other american Fenders, now I wouldn't say this guitar is on a level of an American Stratocaster deluxe but definitely better then the new Standard stratocasters.

Reliability & Durability — 10
this guitars withstanded 20 years and looks almost like new, I got a squire Strat that is 4 years old and looks much older then this strat, and I saw many guitars from the 80s and 90s that gain many flaws over the years, not this one, it works great for live playing, great strap buttons, never any trouble with them, I could definetly use it on a gig without worrying. the finish is great, like I said, I love the way it looks, almost like clapton's blackie. And like I said, if it lasted 20 years and still looks 99% new, it will last much longer.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar got a pretty low action, when I got it the B string were buzzing a little. The setup wasn't too good. But then again I'm never satisfied with a guitar's setup unless I did it to fit me. After working on it for a little bit I got a good clean sound with no buzz, put on new strings and raised them a little, I don't like it when they are too low, gave it a little truss rod adjustment, and set the pickups height to my liking, I really don't consider this a downside, everybody got their own taste. As I mentioned earlier the pickup Switch blade is a little noisy, need to change it. It really shock me how good was the condition of the guitar when I saw it, when I was told its from 89 I imagined it would look like the relic guitars, but it looks almost like a brand new. No rust, great quality wood. Everything exaclty the way its suppose to be.

Features — 8
The Stratocaster was made in 1989 in USA. It got an alder body and maple fretboard with 22 jumbo frets. The fretboard is with gloss finish which makes it slicker, some people like it, some don't, I personally love it, on the other hand my brother prefers the rosewood fretboard or the unfinished maple fretboard, so its to each his own. The neck is C shape. The body finish is black, so it kind of looks like Clapton's Blackie. There are up sides and downsides to having an old stratocaster, and I'll start with the downside, the tone knobs only work on the neck and the middle pickup, plus the Switch blade is a little loud, the pickups are the stock ones, didn't change them, although considering getting a noiseless set. The Strat got mostly the regular Strat fetures, 1 volume knob, 2 tone knobs. But it got one great feature about it and its the Kahler (Floyed Rose licensed) bridge and nut, the Spyder model. Its more difficult to setup and when you change strings its a lot more work, but if you know how to do it then its a perfect bridge, it got the locking system that can hold a tuning for very long time. The scale length is 25.5" (647.7 mm) radius is 12"(305 mm). Standard Gotoh Non locking tuners. Came with a hardshell case. And considering how old is the guitar, I couldnt have expected a better condition, only a couple of small scratches that you really have to look to notice. The headstock is the small kind, not the 70s large kind, which in my opinion looks better. Another downside to it is the way the pickup holes are cut in the body, its 3 holes for 3 single coils, which suits me because I don't like humbuckers on a strat, but the problem is that they are cut exactly to fit the pickups, so I can't take the middle pick up and put it there in reverse, something I like to do on a strat. Give more variety of tone. and for those of you who wonder why such high price, I live in Israel, here in the store a brand new american Standard Stratocaster cost 1600$

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