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Fender Blacktop Stratocaster HH
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Fender Blacktop Stratocaster HH

STC-Shaped Guitar from Fender belonging to the Blacktop series.

Public price: $699 incl. VAT
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James... James...

« Needs some work »

Published on 12/28/11 at 13:11
A Unique Stratocaster Design with Powerful Humbucker Tone!
Alder Body with Bolt-on Maple Neck
Rosewood or Maple Fingerboard (as shown)
Hot Vintage Alnico Humbucking Bridge and Neck Pickup
Vintage Style Synchronized Tremolo
Standard Cast/Sealed Tuning Machines


Mexican made. Basic strat specs. Rosewood board. 3 control knobs with classic bridge. 2 humbucker pickups.

UTILIZATION

First of all my biggest issue is the tuners. They are garbage. Mine out of the box were very hard to turn and wouldn't stay in tune very well at all. They are borderline unusable even for the least picky players. The setup as well was pretty bad. It took about an hour of messing with the bridge and truss rod to get an action that was playable. The neck angle needed a ton of adjustment. The bridge is hard to adjust because some of the hardware is very cheap. And the finish is pretty cheap feeling. I know it sounds like I'm being harsh on what is a budget Mexi made guitar and maybe I am. The electronics, while feeling cheap work well enough. Overall I guess I feel dissapointed because in the past, Fender's mexican line has wowed me and this is just not good for their standards. Not to mention the equivalent G&L model feels way better.

SOUNDS

When I got it home I plugged it into my Matchless Chieftain combo. The tone was a bit disappointed. I feel like this guitar is not a victim of bad pickups, but more a victim of bad wiring, and cheap wood. I think if you gutted it and put in some new pots and maybe a set of Duncans you would have something. The pickups tend to sound pretty sterile no matter what you do with the tone knobs. I'm not expecting miracles from a guitar at this price, but with the overseas makers ramping up their game, I think Fender should be able to do better than this.

OVERALL OPINION

With new tuners, new electronics, new pickups, maybe a new bridge, and a good setup, this guitar would be very playable and probably tourable. But we're talking about $300 worth of upgrades which would get most players into American or GL territory. I hate to bash on a manufacturer that has given me so many good guitars but this was a letdown and I'll be returning it.
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