An early and all original Fender USA Strat Plus from 1998 and yes I’m sure you’ve already checked out the cool fiesta red finish – Over the years I have sold a fair few Strat Plus models, but rarely have I come across a fiesta red finish – This is an early example with a E4 serial number that may well indicate a 1984 date of birth to some – But the Strat Plus was not released until late 1987 – Looking at various features it is safe to assume this is a 1988 model – Includes the oblong fibre Fender case with the ‘red label’ with handle and catches in good working order – Condition wise and overall it is a clean guitar taking into account it is now pushing 30 years old – The fiesta red gloss finish is in good condition with only light signs of use – Certainly no nasty nicks or grazes – But sometime in the past someone has stuck a couple of stickers on the guitar – They have been removed but you can still see a feint outline of them – Frets dressed and clean – Re-strung and set up with a new set of 10’s – This Strat comes in at 9lbs and 2oz –
The late 70’s and early 80’s gave birth to the customised guitar market – Many players found that their old Strats no longer measured up to the task, as they gravitated towards more advanced playing styles- As such, guitarists, plus many workshops, started to experiment with various customised options, that would allow the guitar player to enhance their technical skills and ability- Companies like Schecter and Anderson offered a whole load of hot rod option, spares and accessories, as well as their own custom spec’d built instruments, – Somewhat behind the game, but in the 80’s, Fender took all this on board – So whilst they still produced the much loved ‘replicas’ models, for the die hard vintage buffs, early customised factory produced models included the Strat Plus – A flatter fingerboard radius, plus chunky frets, ensured fluid licks and cascading tricks would no longer feel a battle on a Strat
Hot rod features on this Strat Plus Deluxe included a set of Fender/Schaller locking tuners, with a brushed satin finish – Wilkinson roller note (a Mk11 version with a top and lower roller for all 6 strings – ie each string goes over and under a metal roller – So no string trees required to snag up tuning issues – To compliment such improvements at the headstock end, Fender added a modern 2 point fulcrum trem system , that was essentially based on the Floyd Rose format, without all the hassle of the locking devices – This new trem package is not only more responsive, with a positive feel about it, but it can offer seriously improved tuning stability over a traditional vintage system – Note this Strat Plus still has a block for a screw in trem arm (some models had the push/snap in format) – Has a new trem arm, otherwise all original hardware – Now we add a chunkier set of 22 frets, on to a rosewood fingerboard with a 9.5″ radius, along with a satin finished maple neck and all of a sudden a more fluid playing action, easier string bending and no choking out when pulling off the big blues bends ensured the Fender Strat had traveled into the modern times – The neck shape retained a comfortable and rounded C profile with just enough meat on it – Additionally the Strat Plus was spec’d with a slightly wider fingerboard – Traditionally Gibson have preferred a 43mm top nut width, whilst Fender ran with a slightly narrower nut width at 1.65″ (around 42mm) – The Strat Plus models featured a 1.6875″ top nut width, which is effectively 43mm, as per a Gibson – So marginally bigger – Hidden under the fingerboard is the Fender Bi-Flex truss rod, which along with the micro-tilt option, within the 4 bolt neck plate, will all help to ensure a more precise set-up
Tone – Finally, onto the white pick guard assembly and you’ll find a set of noiseless Lace Sensor pick-ups (recessed covers with the Gold Lace Sensor logo on them) – Tonal wise the Lace Sensor pick-ups have a strong Strat flavour yet with more of a soft, sultry, smooth and rounded character – This will always be considered a good or bad thing subject to your own tonal requirements – I think it always sounds a touch like the Gilmour tone on Shine on you crazy diamond – Very warm and melodic – Less sparkling highs, but not mushy or moody – A stronger voice that is less thin than many Strats – The 5 way switch allows you to access all the regular options – master volume + tone neck plus tone middle/bridge on the TBX pot with a middle/centre click around 5 – This allows you to dial in additional highs on the middle/bridge combination – Many Strats are itching to get onto overdriven amp settings but the Strat Plus loves clean based amp tones – Hi-gain amp settings are more warm and melodic and less on the edge, whilst more subtle overdriven amp settings allow this Strat to show its true character – On such overdriven amp settings the volume pot will allow you to dial in/out subtle but effective changes of gain that add more soul and emotion to your playing
Never sure if it is the neck or the pick-ups, or both, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the Strat Plus models
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