Great guitar. A new Strat Concept.
By: Razorbill from Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Would you consider this product to be made well? How dependable?
I would say is has "Custom Shop" quality standards. Fender is giving big bang for the bucks on this unit.
How has it stood up over time?
I've had it for six months.
Your general opinion of this product.
Fantastic guitar for the price. I could not tell the difference within this model and a more expensive custom shop. It definitely fits my definition of a "Magic Strat". I've been performing regularly in Classic Rock gigs, and I think the sound of this axe is inspiring. It actually enhances my playing experience. The only thing I would change is the case. I love the light weight case of my American Deluxe. In the promotional video on the Fender Web Site, they originally showed this guitar in a light weight case ("TSA lock approved"). Further advertisement correctly stated that the guitar comes with a tweed style case. The tweed case looks nice but is really heavy. Since this is now my main axe, I "borrowed" the case from my Deluxe strat.
Playability and Feel
How does it feel, Heavy, Fast, Chunky? How was the neck? Are the controls easy to get to while playing?
The action was super low right out of the box. Fender Techs must have spend some serious time setting this up before shipping. I also own an American Deluxe HSS, which I love, but I had to set the action myself.
Bright and snappy? Dark and smooth? Were the pickups hot, mellow, thick, thin?
The pick ups are unbelievably sweet. I usually use a humbucker in the bridge, but this guitar sound so sweet I don't want to mess with it. The only thing to mention is that, unlike the American Deluxe, these are true single coils, so expect some minor hum (which I don't care, but for some players this could be and issue). The hum completely cancels out when using the "in between" pick-ups switch position.(i.e. neck and middle activated at the same time).
How did the stain or paint job look?
Drop dead gorgeous. (Beauty is in the eye of the beholder). This guitar is not as contoured as most strats. The reason being, it has a thin layer of select maple wood on top of the traditional alder body. This maple layer constitutes the "face" of the guitar.
Then, the paint is somehow transparent, so that the maple figure/grain shows through the paint. To me is visually astonishing but it also contributes to the bright and snappy overall sound of the guitar.
How was the action out of the box?
The lowest action I ever experienced on a strat. One factor is that the upper part of the neck has a 14" radius, which to me is almost un-heard off. Most strats have a 9.5 radius. American Deluxe has a 12" compound radius. So this guitar was designed with "Low Action" in mind.
Also it has a "C" shape maple neck. My favorite type of neck!. Not too fat, not too skinny, but moderate. Works for me, although other players will have different respectable opinions.