Special Edition Standard Stratocaster review by Fender

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (2 votes)
Fender: Special Edition Standard Stratocaster
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Price paid: $ 499

Purchased from: Music Center

Features — 9

  • Manufactured in 2016, Ensenada, Mexico
  • Purchased in Wisconsin in 2017
  • 21-Frets, 25.5" scale, satin Maple neck, Rosewood fretboard
  • Alder body
  • High-quality plastic nut
  • Chrome hardware
  • Polyurethane glossy metallic finish
  • Standard Stratocaster style body
  • Vintage style tremolo/vibrato with high mass block (Not a Floyd Rose)
  • One volume, Two tone, Five way selector switch
  • Three Single-coil pickups (SSS configuration) with standard Fender Stratocaster pickups
  • Standard, non-locking Fender tuners
  • Standard case candy

Sound — 9
This is a Standard Fender Stratocaster. What else can be said? It can do any kind of music I want to throw at it. It excels at classic rock, country, and blues, and can adequately make it through anything else.

I play it through a Fender Mustang IV or a Vox VT20X. Both of those are good quality amplifiers with an array of effects. I recommend reading reviews of those amps separately.

I prefer to play my Strat on clean channels. But she can be a dirty girl too. The pickups are the "Standard" for Fender. This Mexican version is great, but I've never played an American one in my home, so I can't give you a comparison. It is bassy where it needs to be bassy, and bright and clean where it needs to be as well. Nothing wrong with the sound of this instrument.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
At the store the setup was fine, although I needed to adjust the intonation a hair when I got it home. When bending the strings, I was unhappy with the way it detuned the other strings, so I tried decking the tremolo and blocking it, but it lost that "springy" sound, so instead I purchased additional tremolo springs to tighten it up a bit.

Also, this guitar ships with 9's but I prefer 10's, so I changed the strings, which required adjustments on the tremolo claw, truss rod, and saddle height. Additionally, I raised the pickups about 1/16". These were modifications I made on my own based on personal preference, and in no way reflect the quality of the guitar itself.

Where this guitar stands out is in its appearance. The White Opal color is like a silver, or light metallic gray. The only other time I've seen this color is on a high end SUV, such as an Escalade or Denali. The color is also painted on the headstock, instead of plain maple color. The dark rosewood fretboard really contrasts the brightness and brings it all ! On top is a pearloid pick guard, which dresses it up and gives it a "high-end" feel.

The fret work is not superb, but it really quite nice. Hard to keep frets from sprouting in the Wisconsin winters. That said, they were smooth and level, not scratchy or requiring polishing like I've found on other guitars in this price range.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I've only owned this guitar for about 2 weeks. I see nothing about it that makes me think it will break. In addition, the finish seems durable, but even if it isn't it will get the "Relic" look everyone seems so crazy about these days. (Like jeans with holes in them).

All the hardware feels built-to-last...

  • The switch seem fine
  • The pots feel good
  • Tremolo system works well
  • Pickups seem strong
  • The tuners are fantastic
If this guitar is half as good as all the other Made-in-Mexico Strats being reviewed, I'm certain that this is a workhorse guitar that will keep me happy for decades.

Overall Impression — 9
As I've already said, like so many others, the Fender Stratocaster is a good match for almost any kind of music. I'm a hobbyist with a year of serious playing under my belt. Far from a pro, but I know enough to tell a good guitar from a bad one.

I own other guitars including:

  • 2016 Epiphone Les Paul Plustop PRO in Wine Red
  • 2015 Epiphone Dot in Sunburst
  • 1988 Kramer XL3 HSS in Black
  • 1984 MIJ "SQ" Squier Precision Bass
  • 2014 Epiphone "1964" Texan
  • 1946 Gibson Southern Jumbo
I like to play country, blues, classic, and southern rock and the Strat nails it all.

I wanted a real Strat for my "collection," and I'm happy I got one. It's a little harder to set up with all the moving parts and what not, but now that I have it dialed in, its fun and easy to play. My favorite thing about the guitar is it's appearance and comfort. Fender nailed it over 60 years ago!

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