Sunday, May 07, 2017

2012 Fender Standard Stratocaster HSS

There's hardly any information on the web concerning this particular guitar. Could be because Fender has so many strat-style models out there with almost identical specs. Anyway, this post features a 2012 Olympic White Fender Standard Stratocaster (Mexico) with an HSS pickup configuration. The owner brought it in for a fret level and dress, string change/setup; and cleanup. Someone had been using this strat with a Roland guitar synth, and this had left a horrendous amount of double-stick tape residue on the body and pickguard. As the current user was not interested in using the synth, he wanted the guitar restored to its original condition.

On the whole, I'm impressed with the quality of this guitar. To be frank, you'd be hard-pressed to find any major differences between it and a US-made instrument. Let's take a closer look at this fine instrument then. To start off, the headstock is typical Fender (small), with stamped sealed tuners and a single "butterfly" string tree for the B and E strings. The truss rod is accessible at the headstock end, and is encased in the usual walnut "skunk stripe." A major plus point here is the nut, which is seated very snugly in its slot. Not a trace of filler to be seen anywhere. Tight-fitting nut = better sustain.

The bolt-on maple neck sports 21 medium-jumbo frets on a 25.5" scale rosewood fingerboard with a radius of 9.5". The fingerboard is striking, with streaks of reddish-brown amidst the darker hues. The neck plate, on the other hand, is an uninteresting unstamped four bolt affair. I should also add that the neck pocket fit is good and tight, as I found out while removing the neck. Once again, a tight fit equals better sound transfer and sustain.

The bridge is vintage-style, with six stamped bent steel saddles and ... a humongous zinc PW-29 Fat Sustain Block. My oh my, sure beats the skinny trem blocks you see on stock Mexican strats. Nice touch!

Electronics-wise, there's nothing much to complain about. Pickups are neck and middle single coils with Gavitt leads, and a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates bridge humbucker. The pickup and control cavities are adequately shielded with carbon paint, while the back of the pickguard is fully shielded with aluminium foil. The Oak Grigsby 5-way switch, CTS pots and Switchcraft output jack are neatly soldered and extra cable length bundled with cable ties. The first tone control affects the neck pickup only, while the middle and bridge pickups share the second.

Soundwise, this strat can handle anything from blues, funk and jazz to hard rock, thanks to its HSS pickup configuration. The Pearly Gates humbucker is a good match for the single coils, and positions 2 and 4 are especially satisfying if you're after those classic strat tones.

As for work done on this guitar, the first task was removing double-stick tape residue with naphta (Zippo lighter fluid) and lots of elbow grease. Following this, the frets were leveled and dressed in the usual manner, and the fingerboard cleaned and conditioned with lemon oil. A new set of 10s was installed, followed by action and intonation adjustments. All said and done, I like this guitar. Let's look at some pics now, shall we?        


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