Highway 1 Stratocaster review by Fender

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (195 votes)
Fender: Highway 1 Stratocaster

Price paid: $ 599

Sound — 6
I think this will be great for blues and classic rock. I have a stable of fine Jacksons for metal. I use this with my Tech 21 Trademark 10, which I sometimes run through a Marshall 1960A 4X12 cab. It sounds like a classic Strat. It does offer some piercing feedback sometimes (sounds microphonic). I like the sound, but I'm getting used to it. It doesn't have near the sustain that I'm used to, but it's not really fair to compare this to my neck-through Jackson with EMGs.

Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing for over 20 years. I have 7 electric guitars (4 Jacksons, 1 Kramer, 1 Squier Strat, 1 Highway 1 Strat), 3 amps, a few effects, etc. If this were lost or stolen, I'd be interested in getting another just like it. I enjoy it. I had a beautiful Fender Custom Shop Strat with a gorgeous cherry sunburst (my favorite color) flame maple top, flame maple neck, pearloid pickguard, etc., that I never felt comfortable playing. It was like driving a Cadillac. Not as much fun as a VW, IMO. I love the stripped-down aesthetic this guitar has. It's a player, and that's just what I wanted. I think it was so cool of Fender to offer this at a reduced price, instead of calling it Vintage and jacking up the price, like they do on their Closet Classics and Relics. This is just what I wanted. A quality USA Strat with the important stuff included and the frills left out. Thanks, Fender!

Reliability & Durability — 10
This thing is heavy, solid and built to last. The finish may well wear off. It already had a ding in it when I bought it brand new from the store (I live in a small town - they had a total of 1 to choose from). I hope the finish does wear off. I love seeing those worn-looking Strats, like the one Kenny Wayne Shepherd has. I think I could depend on this. Though I'm used to Floyds, this vintage-style trem stays in tune very well.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I'm reminding myself that I didn't buy this for metal. Nevertheless, I think I'll replace at least the bridge pickup with a DiMarzio Virtual Vintage, as the soundclip for the Virtual Vintage Blues on DiMarzio's web site sounds the way I want this to sound. I also may get GraphTech String Saver saddles for it, as they are said to improve sustain, and they appear to have flush adjustment screws that won't poke my picking hand like the Fender screws do (these are nowhere near as sharp as the screws on my Squier Strat's bridge though).

Features — 8
2004 USA Highway 1 Strat, 22 frets, S/S/S "Vintage" Fender pickups, tobacco sunburst alder body with maple/maple neck/fretboard, vintage-style tremolo, modern sealed tuners, 25.5" scale. Fender includes a gig bag, but I paid extra for a case instead. The rolled-edge fretboard feels wonderful. All the typical features of a Strat, which add up to a very flexible guitar, thus I'm giving it an "8". It would be nice if they included strap locks and a case - and I also really like the slotted backplate Fender uses on some Squiers (lets you adjust the claw screws without removing the backplate), but I'm happy.

37 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Croat wrote: wtf, metalheads playing s-s-s strats?
    if you can call malmsteem and iron maiden metal bands/performers, then I see no point on your comment...
    i hear good things about this guitar... i think it's worth checking out
    At some reviewers: U talk about bad sound ? Man, buy a real amp with TUBES, and dont run it through crappy FX-Boxes and Marshall MGs...
    Got a dimarzio tone zone neck and a seymor hot rails in the bridge. This thing thrashes like no other.
    I was at Steve's Music yesterday playing on one... sounded amazing. Had a maple neck but wasn't overly bright. Very little hum. Nice clean sound. Looks great! I think I'm going to buy it.
    this guitar owns!!you could totally tear it up with the sss one not that gay hss.the tone one this beast is so nice and milky,really nice to the ear.
    Kinslaya wrote: At some reviewers: U talk about bad sound ? Man, buy a real amp with TUBES, and dont run it through crappy FX-Boxes and Marshall MGs...
    Marshall MG's aren't bad at all. Better than most solid-states and even some tube amps.
    stuart townsend
    ive got an older 2005 highway 1, sounds and plays emence but have had 2 do so much work to get it right
    Just picked mine up last night. It's a FSR Highway One in "Surf Green". Apparently this model was only distributed to the Midwest. Looks great and plays great. Here are the specs from Fender: Model Name: FSR Highway OneTM Stratocaster(r) Model Number: 017-0069-(357) Series: Highway OneTM Series Body: Alder Neck: Maple, Modern "C" Shape, (Light Tint Satin Polyurethane Finish) Fingerboard: Rosewood, 9.5" Radius (241mm) No. of Frets: 22 Jumbo Frets Scale Length: 25.5" (648 mm) Width @ Nut: 1.6875" (43 mm) Hardware: Chrome Machine Heads: Fender(r)/Ping(r) Standard Cast/Sealed Tuning Machines Bridge: Vintage Style Synchronized Tremolo Pickguard: 3-Ply Mint Green Pickups: 3 Custom '69 Single-Coil Strat(r) Pickups with Grey Bobbins 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 Controls: Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), GreasebucketTM Tone Circuit, (Rolls Off Highs without Adding Bass) Tone 2. (Bridge Pickup), GreasebucketTM Tone Circuit, (Rolls Off Highs without Adding Bass) Colors: (357) Surf Green, (Satin Nitrocellulose Lacquer Finish) Strings: Fender(r) Super Bullets(r) 3250L, Nickel Plated Steel, (.009 to .042), p/n 073-3250-003 Unique Features: Satin Nitrocellulose Lacquer Body Finish, Aged Plastic Parts, Contemporary Headstock Shape, Spaghetti Logo, Original Body Shape, "Original Contour Body" Decal on Headstock Source: U.S. Accessories: Deluxe Gig Bag INTRODUCED: 1/2007
    I just played one today at sam ash but the HSS one. I LOVED it! Can't wait til i have enough money!! And for people saying the bridge pup isn't good for metal it is OK it could get by until you get a new pickup
    I didnt love the sound mine made, so I put dimazio tone zonee in the Neck, and seymor Ducan hot rails in the bridge, and I left the mid the same, now it rips like no other =D and it has a much deeper sound after putting those pickups and putting a higher guage strings in, thats the great thing about this guitar, its cheep enough to deck out with w.e u wanna put on it.
    im thinking of buying one of these, bashing a Tom Delonge pickguard and a seymour duncan invader pickup. good idea?
    Hagbard Celine
    Just picked up the HSS one it had been used like 5 times for 550$ CAN ,still even had the Fender cloth and manual/papers enclosed in the bag. It's beautiful and sounds great!
    macey wrote: this is macey who reviewed it, they must of made a mistake with the price, it cost me 439. dunno what there talkin bout :S
    your using a different type of money they are using U.S.D.
    I totally modded my '07 that I got used with a new nut, Sperzels, and Duncan Alnico IIIs in the neck and mid (reverse polarity), w/ a V in the bridge: sounds DAMN BETTER than it was at first, n it was DAMN GOOD then! I love it to death, and it's the only one that will not be sold or traded, considering all I did to it....lol Get one and save cash; a custom shop is great, but u can't beat getting a used one to mod up for less than a third of the price!
    Hey RevengeGoose, Santana isn't a great guitarist begin with? What the **** are you smoking dude? Tha man has been around since the late 60's and I'm sure when it comes to playing,he could stomp a hole in your misguided ass!I don't personally care for everything that he has ever recorded but at least show the man some respect.He is a legend who has influenced countless players,myself included.
    slashnzakkrule wrote: Brilliant guitar, getting one in a couple of days!!!
    very lucky person. have fun!!!
    Can you get a gary moorish fat sustained blues/rock tone out of the neck pickup, (thinking of this kinda tone:
    ) without running it through tons of distortion effects?
    i swear by it, my Highway one handles distortion better that my Gibson SG. This guitar is absolutely amazing, just simply amazing!
    Looking through these reviews i noticed a quote by Santana. WHY does everyone swear by what santana says? I know this is off topic but every1 seems to love whatever comes out of his move. Screw him he's not a great guitarist to begin. BTW the Highway One is lovely. THey have it at guitar center and i always use it to test out effects pedals.
    my upgrated review just got posted, its a great guitar, i own american 60th anniversory strat and they sound almost exactly the same.
    yeah i just posted a review for teh upgrated version, gotta wait a couple days until they post. The upgrated version is completly differant from this version, theyve pretty much changed everything to make it better. It lists at about 100 bucks higher than this strat, and runs like $730 at most places, i found mine for 600 : )
    just to say, i have this guitar, its my fourth guitar. Its got silk smooth action after a setup, adn the pickups are pretty good, im thinking about replzacing the humbucker (make sure u get the h-s-s model if ur into heavier stuff)
    this is macey who reviewed it, they must of made a mistake with the price, it cost me 439. dunno what there talkin bout :S
    J.J.G. wrote: Croat wrote: wtf, metalheads playing s-s-s strats? if you can call malmsteem and iron maiden metal bands/performers, then I see no point on your comment...
    +1 add me in that performers that use s-s-s but later it shall be just x-x-h and 1 tone 1 vol