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Fender American Special Stratocaster Review (2021)

The Fender American Special Stratocaster

Fender Stratocaster has been the standard for modern Strat since 1954. It’s a well-rounded guitar with explicit beauty and playability. However, if you’re going to buy the original, it costs a bit.

Fender American Special Stratocaster review
Photos provided by FMIC

To satisfy the beginners and those who badly want a Fender Strat in their collection, a more affordable version is being offered, the American Special Stratocaster.

Let’s explore what Fender is bringing to the table with this guitar.

Just Perfect Out-of-the-Box

Are a few tweaks needed? Perhaps, a little, but doesn’t need a professional luthier to check it and set it all up.

If you are buying your guitar online, strings are usually loosened up. This is to prevent snapping of the strings and damage to other parts while shipping.

However, if you are buying it from the trusted stores, you can play it out-of-the-box and it’s amazing.

This might sound so idealistic. But, yes, everything is all set up and all you need to do is get your hands on it and start the jazz.

Fender American Special Stratocaster headstock
Photos provided by FMIC

 

Well-Crafted Guitar

The guitar comes with an iconic design with a little modern touch and twists. It’s a double-cutaway guitar with an alder body and a very smooth gloss finish.

It has a C-shape satin-finished neck with a 9.5” radius maple fretboard. This is for easy bending and fast play. It comes with 22 jumbo frets and black dot inlays, which gives a modern feel.

The perfect neck and the belly cut on the back make you very comfortable playing it for long hours. Not only does it feel very solid, but, it’s also solidly built.

This can be seen in the flawless finish, exceptional design together with the secure installations of all the hardware.

Beautiful Tone

This guitar plays so nicely! You can play a wide variety of music styles and genres like blues, classic rock, hard rock, rhythm and blues, folk, country, jazz, and even heavy metal.

You can play some John Mayer styles with this one.

Fender American Special Stratocaster body
Photos provided by FMIC

It boasts the Greasebucket Tone Circuit – a Fender’s trademark to roll off high frequencies without adding more bass.

This allows the guitar to produce luxurious and warm vintage sounds like the sweet Texas tone. Enjoy the thick and dark tones without losing its clarity with Fender’s unique setting.

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Great deal with Reliable Hardware

Great hardware and electronics really make a good electric guitar. This one comes with amazing and easily adjustable controls, that even beginners can easily fine-tune.

It has three Texas Special pickups along with its five-way pickup selector switch. These pickups provide a powerful tone with clarity, which makes you a versatile player.

Switching this thing is very easy, making you play different songs and styles just a breeze.

Aside from that, there are also master volume knobs and two-tone control knobs for easy adjustments. The vintage-style sync tremolo and the whammy bar do their job well, too.

The tuners are nice and they are very easy to set up. Not only that, they’re great at keeping the instrument in tune.

Fender American Special-Stratocaster
Photos provided by FMIC

One drawback maybe if you don’t set up the bridge height well.

You might have a problem with strings E, B, and sometimes G when bending.

So, to avoid the problem, you should check the bridge height before playing with her.

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Great Versatility

I’ll give an emphasis to this feature. It’s indeed very versatile. It can play nearly every genre there is, thanks to its great hardware.

It plays chords well, picking notes is amazing and you can do just any string bending. The neck is designed to accommodate fast play. And, you can also bend notes at high frets to really make it scream.

PROS

  • Tuning and setup is perfect right out of the box
  • Great craftsmanship
  • Versatile three Texas Special pickups
  • Access to more style and genre
  • More sustain

CONS

  • Might be difficult to get access to higher frets, beginning at 12th

 

Drawbacks

I’m not an “anti-budget guitar” type of person, nor a snub, but, there are other good alternative guitars out there, even better than this.

Maybe I could add it up to my collection. But, if I want to use it for life, I want to get a different one – the original Fender Stratocaster.

I mean, if I want to be Eric Clapton(better check this Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster), I need to have something better. I want to be a legend too, that’s why I’m gonna get what the legend had.

It’s my take on the story. What’s yours?

Fender American Special Stratocaster bag
Photos provided by FMIC

Verdict

This guitar is great for guitar players who are on a budget. Setting its price tag aside and just look into the features, you seem to really have a real US Fender.

There are millions of Strats out there, why buy this?

Simply because you want an American Strat without breaking the bank. And, simply because this guitar is worth every penny.

In addition, no matter what kind of music you play or your skill level, it’s something that accommodates you. So, make your choice now!

2 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t see why this would not be a strat for life. Some aspects of this guitar that were built for budget and included are actually features that I like – such as the satin finish on the neck and fretboard. I think the tone is amazing and the texas specials do not take away from the straty-ness of it. It may not be the one strat to own if you are going to have one strat. I think the discontinued American Standard is a keeper (depending on the year for preference) is enough to own one and for life. Now, your dream strat is another matter. I almost got the 50’s Vintera modified, but for me it is not modified enough. Since they did modify it, Fender should have considered the placement of the truss rod. The base of the neck is a pain in the butt. It’s modified anyways, why not make that feature more modernized? I am gun shy around vintage strats for that reason – I don’t have the patience for that truss rod placement. I almost jumped out my socks for the Robert Cray Strat… same issue. It is just not practical. So I took a mexi and placed vintage 59 pups in it and other mods and I am happy. By the way, the only mod I made on my American Special was to place locking tuners on it. I love it. Hendrix used an American Standard. Yes he had S Duncan pups put in his by the time he’s at Woodstock. If I had to give up any of my strats I would say that my American Special would be the one hardest to let go of. It’s an awesome strat that respects it’s own lineage and has wonderful features that makes for a blues instrument extraordinaire! But yes – my dream strat is the Clapton custom strat or maybe the Jeff Beck model. But I accept that this is not going to happen unless I sell all my guitars and some of my amps- I don’t know if I am ready to do that. But if I was going to own one strat and possibly one amp… I may go there. But no sales or nothing and I have to give everything up but one strat and one amp- well then my American Special or my Princeton or Blues Jr.

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