When someone mentions a Fender Stratocaster, the first thing that comes to mind are three single coil pickups these guitars are known for. However, what happens when you step out of that framework?
Standard Fender Stratocaster is still the bread and butter for this giant brand, but they have explored other possibilities as well.
Fender Stratocaster Deluxe HSH is a result of one such effort. This guitar brings a lot more than just the humbuckers, even though this is the most apparent difference compared to the standard model.
Even though every guitar player will appreciate the Strat in its original form, this type of pickup configuration limits the range of sound you can get. Strats were never really known as heavy metal guitars, although some guitar players have used them to play that genre with much success.
Having two humbuckers and a single coil completely changes the range of tone, giving the good old Stratocaster a whole new dimension.
It seems that Fender really wanted to make this Strat stand out from their usual lineup. The overall design of the guitar may be the same, but there are certain differences which will let you know immediately what you’re looking at. Fender included a number of finished that are rarely found on other models from their lineup.
The neck is also different, and there are some features that aren’t standard for the Stratocaster. All of these only increase the appeal of the Fender Stratocaster Deluxe HSH, that is for sure.
What we have here is your standard Fender alder body. The finishes include the regular Sunburst, but also Silverburst and other not so usual options. The shape of the body hasn’t changed, it’s still your standard Stratocaster. One thing that did change is the neck. This Strat sports a modern “C” neck that comes with a standard Rosewood fretboard and pearl dot inlays.
With that said, the neck is made of Maple.
In terms of hardware, there are some interesting differences compared to the standard Strat. First and foremost the LSR Roller Nut is a nice little addition. This nut prevents the strings from moving around, and reduces the friction. Bridge is a 2 point synchronized tremolo with an arm that pops in. Finally, we have a set of Fender locking tuners.
The most noticeable thing about this Strat are the pickups. Fender chose to install Modern Twin Head humbuckers at the neck and bridge positions, while the middle pickup is the Noiseless N3 single coil. All three of these are controlled by your standard volume and two tone knobs.
Where to even start with this one. It’s a Stratocaster that can handle just about any kind of distortion you throw at it. The Twin Head humbuckers have a pretty hot output, and can eat up any amount of gain you throw at them. One at the bridge is perfect for driving rhythms, and has incredible amounts of definition.
Playing heavy metal on a legit Fender Stratocaster definitely feels weird, but it’s possible. The single coil in the middle brings out the balance, and offers a nice noiseless experience. The neck humbucker is a bit darker, but very warm in general.
One of the things to notice about this Strat is just how good that roller nut performs. You can bend the strings with ease, go insane on the tremolo and the guitar will stay in tune. Overall this is one hot rod Stratocaster that completely changes the nature of the family it belongs to.
What we like
Perfect combination of pickups combined with high quality hardware make the Fender Stratocaster Deluxe HSH a really awesome guitar. The output of the humbuckers is hot enough to handle all kinds of distortion.
What we don’t like
The only flaw of this guitar, if it’s a flaw at all, is the lack of the lacquered Maple fretboard. The only thing available is the Rosewood one.
If you want a Stratocaster that can play all kinds of metal, Fender Stratocaster Deluxe HSH is what you’re looking for. This guitar has the range necessary for the task at hand, while it does it all with incredible definition and clarity.
It’s just an amazing guitar overall.