Here’s the American Standard Stratocaster electric guitar by Fender. This beauty had the privilege of spending some time in my studio for a little routine check. And what a ride it was! For some rock chords, blues riffs, funky rhythms and lots of modern jazz, this Strat is a versatile, high-end guitar. The American Standard I personally tried is equipped with three single coil pickups, features a black body finish with a classic white pickguard. The sexy curves of this solid body (it has contours that fit the musician’s arms) makes this guitar a gem of modern electric instrument manufacturing.
The Stratocaster model, with its two asymmetrical horns continues to be the most imitated guitar body amongst all lesser brands of electric guitars. Thousands of timeless albums feature the tones of this american musical giant. Hendrix, Clapton, Stevie (and many more) used the Strat as their main instrument. We shouldn’t take this lightly!
Fender Guitars: Some History
Leo Fender, founder of Fender, started the company in 1946 in Southern California. This great business went through several golden ages within less than half of a century of its inception. The first Fender electric guitar was built in 1951: the infamous Telecaster was born. This guitar model (with a solid wooden body) changed the course of music history, and also changed the way electric instruments are designed and built. The author of this article is using a G&L Bluesboy as his main axe; it’s a guitar based on the Fender Telecaster body-type. G&L stands for “George and Leo”, and we are referring to LeoFender, of course! I’m a big fan of Telecaster-based guitars. A story for another time.
But, back to the Strat: we had to wait until 1954 to get the first commercially available Fender Stratocaster electric guitar.Fender’s website even qualify this one as “the best guitar in the world.” It is thus without any kind of hidden humility thatFender stamps the Strat with this title. I believe that it has become more than a simple musical instrument: by the 1960’s, the Stratocaster was a pop culture icon. It is almost as if electric guitar had become synonymous with Stratocaster. And it’s easy to see (hear) why: no other guitar model can deliver the sounds a Strat can. No other guitar is that versatile. Think of all the blues, rock, punk, funk, jazz and even metal that has been recorded and played live using Stratocaster guitars. It’s mind boggling!
American Standard Stratocaster: Features
Ok. Enough praises: the Strat is great. Now, here are a few important features of the American Standard I had the privilege of playing on recently. That’s what this post is about, remember?
- Alder body
- Modern bridge for better, long-lasting tuning
- Bent-steel saddles
- Chrome hardware
- Three Fat 50’s single-coil pickups
- Five-way switch for the pickups
- Maple neck
- Rosewood fretboard
- 5 inches radius, for a modern “C” neck, flatter than older Fenderguitars
- Medium jumbo frets, for modern fingerings
- 22 frets
- Default strings: 0.009-0.042
- Aged plastic knobs and parts, for a vintage look.
American Standard Stratocaster: Let’s Try it!
One word: wow. Once out of the case and plugged into a decent (small) amp, this guitar blew me away. You see, I never acquired a “real” Stratocaster so far in my life. I certainly played a handful of Fender Strats made in Japan or Mexico, but never the genuine ones. And for this guitar model, the word “standard” is even part of the name! It really is the Cadillac.
And I still amazed myself at being so surprised by the guitar. I mean sure, I have already possessed Strat copies in my youth, or even genuine Gibson’s in my collection. I played (lots and lots) on the “Made in Mexico” Stratocaster that was sitting in my high school music room. So I have a good idea of the general feeling of playing this kind of electric guitar. But I insist …
… there’s nothing like a US made Fender Stratocaster!
So, after plugging it in, it became hard to stop playing the darn thing! Note after note, chord after chord, I would only discover good things to say about this instrument. A little more drive for a rock sound. Trying out the different pickup switching options. Little more reverb. And always: wow!
Several minutes passed, then I stopped and tried to convince myself: “But this is just an ordinary assembly line guitar under the two thousand dollars price tag, not a collector item for the museum.” That’s it! I now believe that Fender, as a company, is able to get the magic touch to most of its US made guitars. Even if they are made in a factory, I feel like there’s genuine effort and care in every single guitar. Else, Fender would probably not be this big success!
Time to move onto serious matters. Here’s what the American Standard Fender Stratocaster inspired me. Forgive the wrong notes and hesitations, this is what we call a “one take” in the musical jargon.
It’s a genuine Fender, what more can be said? It’s a Strat. A good one. In summary: nice touch, vintage design, modern technology, high-end electronics, great sound and versatility. This FenderStratocaster American Standard electric guitar continues the great tradition of building quality electric instruments that was started in the 1950’s. It’s a nice instrument that fulfills its mandate; great straight out of the box. As were the Fender Stratocaster guitars from the past six decades.
I am even convinced that someone (let’s say, me!) could go purchase ten of theseFender Stratocaster American Standards from ten different retailers and still get that same playing feeling and experience every time. Fender is synonymous with quality and the American Standard Strat is no exception. So, it’s a guitar to purchase, to play lots, then to keep for the years to come. Who knows, maybe someday my son will play “dad’s old worn out Stratocaster Standard 2015”. This could be sooner than we expect.