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Welcome into stock a used American Fender Strat Plus from 1989, with a natural finish on a 3 piece ash body  – The E9 serial number on the headstock ensures that it is easy to establish that this Strat is a 1989 model  – The package includes an oblong moulded Fender case, with the 3 catches all in good working order  – Hard to believe that this Strat Plus is now around 30 years old – Granted a natural finish generally hides any grazes, far better than most other colours, but overall this is a clean guitar – No negative issues, so any blemish is slight and only applicable to the top surface of the gloss finish – It appears to be all original regarding the hardware and certainly no changes to the scratchplate assembly, pots, switch or pick-ups – Re-strung and set-up with a set of 10’s to provide a sensible fluid playing action – For the weight watchers then 8lbs and 13oz is the outcome according to my digital scales

The late 70’s gave birth to the customised guitar market – Many players found their existing ‘old school’ Strat was no longer suitable, as they gravitated towards more intricate playing styles – As such players and workshops began to experiment with various customised options, with a view that such ‘hot rod’ features would further enhance the guitars potential, to deliver a slick action with effortless string bending – Companies and workshops like Schecter, Valley Arts and Anderson offered a host of hot rod options, spares and accessories – They also began to build their own custom spec’d  ‘supa Strats’ that still influence the market place today – Around 1983 and somewhat behind the game,  Fender took all this on board with the introduction of the Strat Elite – Yet it was a few years later, when the revamped Fender Guitar company brought production back to the USA, that in 1987 the Strat Plus was born – Hot rod features included a 2 point modern trem assembly, locking tuners, a flatter fingerboard radius, chunky frets, along with noiseless pick-ups – This blue print survived as Fender moved from the Strat Plus models, to the AM Strat Deluxe models, which in turn morphed into the Strat Ultra

Hot rod features on the Strat Plus includes a set of Fender/Schaller locking tuners, with a brushed satin finish, whilst the Wilkinson roller nut was designed to eliminate the need for any string trees behind the top nut – To compliment such improvements at the headstock end, Fender introduced a modern 2 point fulcrum trem system , that was essentially influenced by the Floyd Rose format, minus all the hassle of the locking nut and saddles – This new modern trem package is not only more responsive, with a smooth positive feel about it, but it will offer an improved tuning stability over the traditional vintage format – Note the traditional screw in trem arm on this Strat Plus, as Fender also utilised a snap in arm on the Strat Plus – Remove the rear trem plate cover and you’ll find this Strat is set-up with the factory ‘Trem Setter’ – Some like it and some loathe it, so it can be easily removed as required  – Spec’d with a set of 22 medium jumbo frets, along with a 9.5″ fingerboard radius, which allows for a fluid playing action, plus effortless string bending, with no choking out, when pulling off those big blues bends – Such features ensured the Strat Plus had travelled into the modern era, to deliver a more user friendly playing experience – The neck shape retained a comfortable and rounded C profile with a hint of additional 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 feature a 1.6875″ top nut width, which is effectively 43mm, as per a Gibson – So marginally wider – Hidden under the fingerboard is the Fender Bi-Flex truss rod, which along with the micro-tilt option, within the 4 bolt neck plate, helps to ensure a more precise set-up

Tonal character – Finally, onto the pick guard assembly and you’ll  find a set of noiseless Gold Lace Sensor pick-ups – Note the worn and faded font on the pick-up covers – 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 issue, subject to your own tonal requirements – I think they sound  a touch like the sultry Dave 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 access to all the regular options – From top to bottom, you’ll find the usual master volume pot + tone neck, plus tone for the middle/bridge pick-ups, via the TBX pot with a middle/centre click around 5 – This TBX pot 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 adds more soul and emotion to your playing

Never sure if it is the feel of 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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Guitars4You is not another corporate high street guitar store - My selection of premium grade guitars is about quality not quantity. Every guitar has been selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention to the set-up and playing performance. Every sale, phone call, email and mail order transaction is handled by me. A journey that is now over 40 years old, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars.