Whenever Fender replace a 30-year-old series with something new, we all sit up and take notice. That’s what’s happened within the last year, as the brand ditched the long-running American Standard Series to replace it with the American Professional series, of which today’s model is a part. The new series sees some major improvements to an already pretty great collection and this Strat really shows these off. Let’s take a closer look…
What can we say about the design of the Strat? As the famous brand themselves state, it is arguably the world’s most-loved electric guitar and we’d be keen to support that argument – it truly is an icon! What about this American Professional Stratocaster? It doesn’t disappoint.
While it sports some advanced features in the hardware department, the actual design and build of the American Professional Strat is very similar to what you’d have found with the old Standard Series. In fact, the biggest change is in the maple neck, which now features a new ‘Deep C’ profile that feels a bit bulkier the closer you get to the body and is more comfortable in the hands, especially when soloing. This is capped with a rosewood fretboard and 22 new ‘tall narrow’ frets.
The rest of this axe follows suit with Strats of yesteryear. It features a solid alder body with a typical 25.5” scale length and has a myriad of colors to choose from – including classic Fender shades such as Antique Olive, Olympic White, Sonic Gray, and Candy Apple Red. The overall fit and finish is impeccable, as you’d expect from a high-end American-made Fender.
It’s the hardware where most of the changes between the series takes place and – we believe – for the better. This Strat is fitted with a trio of V-Mod single-coil pickups at the neck, middle and bridge, all made with different alnico and individually voiced specifically for its position leading to an improved tone. Controls are relatively standard – with volume and two tone controls – although the volume features Fender’s treble bleed circuit, allowing the gain to be decreased but the high-end tone to be maintained.
The American Professional Strat also features the traditional tremolo bridge, but with a new pop-in tremolo arm that can be adjusted to suit the specific player. At the other end you’ll find a set of sealed chrome tuners which are very pleasant to use, while another new addition to the series is a genuine bone nut (compared to the synthetic bone of the Standard). Finally, the guitar also comes shipped in an Elite Molded hardshell case – needless to say, this is a very welcome inclusion.
Onto sound and it’s once again impressive. To be honest, there wasn’t much room for improvement over the tone of the Standard Strat for the price you paid, but the American Professional Strat delivers even more. The new pickups sound clear, organic and vintage-tinted, retaining the sparkly brightness that makes a Strat a Strat, while the new circuit gives lead players more punch when lowering their gain.
Check out the following video for some excellent sound examples:
Just when you think they can’t get better, Fender’s American Strats surprise you. The feel isn’t too far away from what you are used to, the pickups deliver a hotter and more natural tone, and the hardware ensures things remain reliable and consistent. It’s one of the more expensive guitars we feature on this site, but it feels totally worth it.