Few would argue that Fender has produced some of the most popular electric guitars of all time. The reviews have spoken for themselves, but what is impressive is musicians spanning a wide range of genres have favored these guitars. From Country to Funk, Fender products have been the tool-set for hobbyists and professionals in virtually every category of music. However, where does Rock come into play? Which two Fender guitars are best suited for the Rock player who is ready to make a new purchase? The Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster HSS and Jim Root Telecaster are the top two choices for Rock players. In the reviews of these two guitars, we will discuss the dynamics that are most critical to this style of music. For both models, we'll identify why each detail makes that Fender guitar the best choice for Rock, and the subtle advantages that are important to be aware of. If you are a Rock player who prefers Fender guitars, these reviews provide the best guidance for an indecisive musician’s next purchase.
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster HSS
The Fender Stratocaster has been the instrument of choice for respected guitarists such as: Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, Robin Trower and Yngwie J. Malmsteen. All of these players generally used stock Stratocasters. Today, modern Rock guitarists look to a more specialized set of ingredients in order to best produce the kind of tone and performance that their audience expects.
The Fender American Select Stratocaster HSS features an Atomic Humbucker Bridge, which makes it a perfect choice for Rock. This double-coil pickup employs an Alnico V magnet, and packs a midrange snarl, which is a hallmark of the best Rock sound. Searing leads and chunky rhythm work are easily achieved, and the high output can be tamed with the guitar's volume knob when subtlety is needed.
Rock players will appreciate the noiseless N3 middle and neck pickups, which eliminate the 60-cycle hum that is common amongst single-coils. The middle position is powered by Alnico II magnets, and the neck position features Alnico III’s. Classic middle / neck tones, and also warm in-between sounds await; from thick and creamy to sweet and subtle, with a mere flick of the five-way switch.
For guitarists that are fond of dive bombs, the 2-point synchronized tremolo bridge allows for a much smoother interaction when using the whammy bar. On the other end is the LSR Roller Nut, which virtually eliminates string friction, allowing for the right balance of tension. This translates to complete dive bomb freedom without tuning headaches.
There is something special going on with the neck here. Maple has an inherent low-end that shines at high volumes, and reviews as a critical asset for live Rock performances. On top of that, the compound radius starts at a comfortable 9.5" and goes to 14", which means that bends and other aggressive soloing techniques will be easier.
Rock players need variety, and that is exactly what makes this guitar one of the best. The Fender S-1 switching system is an outstanding feature that is easy to overlook due to its subtle footprint, yet it unleashes a torrent of flexibility. The push-button on top of the master volume doubles the number of unique sounds. When the switch is engaged, at the guitarist’s fingertips are five more pickup combinations that feature series wiring and a special capacitor. They wind up with not only a dizzying array of tones, but many of them put two pickups in series, they are particularly useful for Rock: squeaks, squawks, harmonics and overtones become effortless.
The Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster HSS is a potent weapon for Rock players. It is an instrument that boasts promise of high-performance hardware, hot pickups, and incredibly versatile electronics. The guitar heroes of yesteryear accomplished quite a lot with a stock setup, the features detailed here are critical for modern Rock players who need the right tone, a wide variety of sounds, and hardware that can keep up with their playing style. All this comes packaged in an exciting guitar at the best price from American Music Supply.
Fender Jim Root Telecaster
Guitarists don't have to be a fan of Jim Root, Slipknot, or Stone Sour to enjoy the many benefits of the Fender Jim Root Telecaster. Root is a popular and well-respected guitarist; this model stands on its own as one of the best choices for Rock.
There are three main areas where this guitar shines: pickups, wood, and fret. There is always multiple variables in-play, and priorities can differ from person to person, these three areas of detail can’t be overlooked when it comes to serious Rock tone and performance.
The pickups Fender chose for the Jim Root Telecaster are two of EMG's best and most popular models. The EMG 81 takes center stage here in the bridge position. Some of the best Rock players such as Zakk Wylde and Kirk Hammett have turned in great reviews for the original 81 for their trademark tones, as have countless others. Like Zakk and Kirk, you can expect high levels of output and outstanding headroom. In the neck position is the respected EMG 60, also a high-output model, but well matched for the 81 and not quite as intense. It is also important to note that Fender® chose to exclude the tone control, which may raise some eyebrows. This move increases overall resistance, translating to higher output, and a more pure tone.
Choice of wood has a somewhat less obvious effect on the tone of a guitar, but experienced players understand it’s important. The inherent "Twang" of this Telecaster is adorned with unusually warm mids, thanks to the Mahogany body. In tandem, the Maple neck is the best complement, supplying the top-end that helps the tone cut through the mix. Fast players will appreciate the satin polyurethane finish, which has a much smoother feel than typically found on Maple necks.
Twenty-two Dunlop 6100 frets have been employed across the fingerboard, a popular choice among Rock guitarists, as they make aggressive playing easier. This includes: bends, finger-tapping, harmonics, overtones, and sweep picking. All of these techniques are certainly possible with smaller or thinner frets. Also, the sheer height and width of 6100 frets exaggerates the effect.
Rock players tend to be focused on parts. This makes sense, as aggressive playing requires a higher-level of performance from each ingredient in the mix. The Fender Jim Root Telecaster employs a smart combination of the right pickups, wood, and frets. This feature-set results in a guitar that is a top-notch instrument capable of seriously aggressive tone, and also reviews as one of Rock’s best.
There are numerous differences between these guitars, but probably the most striking is that one is a Stratocaster, and the other a Telecaster. The overall body shape, balance, and general tone of these instruments are noticeably different. Ultimately, this is a decision best made by the guitarist: are they a Stratocaster player, or are they a Telecaster player? Regardless of which guitar is chosen, musicians are assured a perfect feature-set for Rock playing. In these reviews, we covered the most common challenges faced by Rock players. In both cases, Fender has provided an instrument that rises to each challenge: The American Deluxe Stratocaster HSS and Jim Root Telecaster both feature optimum neck and body woods, pickups that speak directly to the style, and hardware that ensures first-class performance. To check out one of these guitars, watch videos, or look at customer reviews please visit American Musical Supply.