American Ultra Strat HSS review by Fender

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8 (2 votes)
Fender: American Ultra Strat HSS

Purchased from: GC

Features — 10
1991, USA Stratocaster Ultra. 22 jumbo frets with Ebony fretboard with Abalone Dot inlays. Maple Neck with Alder body laminated with Matched flame maple top in Antique Sunburst. LSR nut, Buzz Feiten tuning system, Deluxe Tremolo bridge - replaced bridge saddles to Graphite. HSS pickup configuration with Red (Bridge Humbucker), Silver (Middle single coil) and Blue (Neck single coil) Lace Sensor pickups - Passive. Volume, Tone (neck pickup), TBX (bridge & middle pickups), Five way selector with three way mini toggle switch. Locking Sperzel Tuners.

Sound — 10
This guitar has been my go to since I bought it in '97 & suits my musical style perfectly (progressive alt rock). I use it primarily with a Krank Revolution Tube Amp and a TC Electronics G System Effects Processor w/ an Ibanez TS 808 & a Voodoo Labs Wahzoo. This baby is super quiet unless I'm going totally nuts with overdrive, gain & effects. The pickup selections are pretty endless & offer up a myriad of tones. It covers quite a bit of tonal ground, from sparkly, spanky country tones, to smooth, crisp jazz to dark & brooding blues to screaming metal.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I bought this guitar used, so when I got it I'm sure all the bugs had already been worked out. The finish was pristine when I bought it & there were no flaws whatsoever. The flame maple top is beautifully matched and looks amazing. I've never had any issues with the pickups, great sustain and clarity from any and all switching combinations. I still haven't had any issues with scratchy pots or a noisy pickup selector. I had the frets replaced after owning & playing it for about ten years, this was when I had the Buzz Feiten tuning system applied to it. This is really the only repair/change I've made to this guitar since obtaining it.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I've been using this guitar in live situations for close to 20 years and haven't had any issues. I've also used it on over ten albums and it hasn't let me down yet. This is my number one guitar and most likely always will be. I always have a backup guitar at gigs just in case of string breaks, but otherwise, this is always my go to for gigs & recordings. Considering the amount of playing time I have on this guitar, I'd say the finish has held up awesomely. There's only a small wear spot on the upper bout where my picking arm rests/rubs.

Overall Impression — 10
I play progressive alt rock & this guitar does everything I've ever needed it to do. I've been playing for 33 years and own twenty other guitars (7 Fenders, 4 Gibsons, 2 Gretschs, 2 Washburns, 1 Martin, 1 Taylor, 1 Ibanez, 1 Dean & 1 Harmony. I would lose my mind if this got stolen & would need to find another one immediately. I love everything about this guitar & hate nothing. My favorite feature is its absolute playability. The only thing I would change is the tremolo - I'd rather have a hard tail just to solidify the intonation with alternate tunings.

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