FENDER > Fender American Stratocaster HSS guitar in Blizzard Pearl

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Fender’s new American Standard Stratocaster is the latest update to one of the most iconic, instantly recognizable electric guitars designs of all time. The Fender Stratocaster has been widely popular for rock, country and blues guitarists ever since Buddy Holly appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1957 with his maple necked Stratocaster in hand. Since then, the Strat has been strapped on by a who’s who of famous guitarists—from Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, to John Frusciante and Sheryl Crow. So important was this instrument to early sounds of rock and roll that Ritchie Valens, Holly and Hendrix all lie under tombstones with Stratocasters engraved on them. Thankfully the new American Standard version incorporates new features without compromising the sound and feel that made these guitars famous.LIST PRICE: $1,399.99
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Fender’s new American Standard Stratocaster is the latest update to one of the most iconic, instantly recognizable electric guitars designs of all time. The Fender Stratocaster has been widely popular for rock, country and blues guitarists ever since Buddy Holly appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1957 with his maple necked Stratocaster in hand.  Since then, the Strat has been strapped on by a who’s who of famous guitarists-from Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, to John Frusciante and Sheryl Crow. So important was this instrument to early sounds of rock and roll that Ritchie Valens, Holly and Hendrix all lie under tombstones with Stratocasters engraved on them. Thankfully the new American Standard version incorporates new features without compromising the sound and feel that made these guitars famous.

Upon first glance, the American Standard had already impressed me; it has a new SKB molded case that has extra padding to keep the guitar safe for travel. The tasteful new Blizzard Pearl finish is definitely a nice bonus. The bridge boasts improved bent-steel saddles and a heavy duty block for better sustain. This “floating” bridge is also designed for easy use of a whammy bar, which comes in handy when seriously rocking out Hendrix-style. The maple neck is a modern C-shaped type so it is easy to get your hands around.

I plugged straight into a vintage Fender Deluxe Reverb amplifier and let her rip with the neck pickup. I effortlessly got the fat rhythm and blues tone I was looking for.  The middle pickup had the typical Strat tone we all love, and while the bridge pickups are usually a bit trebly for my taste, this one smoothed out nicely when I rolled back the tone knob a bit. Speaking of the knobs though, one thing I wasn’t pleased with was their stiffness; that said, they’ll probably wear in with a little more playing. The instrument stayed in tune exceptionally well, even after I abused the whammy bar!

The American Standard is a bargain at $999.00 retail. It more than lives up to its legendary name and is even made in the U.S.A. Imagine that! A couple of new features in the bridge and the chrome hardware are also welcome updates. While the knobs tweaked me a little bit, such a slight problem isn’t enough to overshadow the overall quality and sound of this American classic. Props to Fender for another well built music machine.



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  1. I have tried both maple and rosewood versions of the Stratocaster and they both have their sounds. I personally prefer maple. Fretboard wise I found the American much better than the Mexican versions. I mainly use the middle pickup and it had that nice fender sound. Overall I like the sound alot and I totally recommend it.

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