Fender 97 Fender American Strat Reviews 5

Purchased New in 1998 in Warrington, UK. price was 529. I eventually decided I wanted a "real" strat, for "that" sound. In the shop it was the best sounding of the ones I tried (without an amp) AND luckily also my favourite colour - Candy Apple Red.

The first thing has to be the silky tone and the oodles of sustain. Every Fender is going to be slightly different, due to the peculiarities of the wood. In this case, I got lucky... the slab of wood this guitar was made from has been truly blessed, and that has been the opinion of all who have had an opportunity to play it. This guitar sounds as beautiful as it looks, and is so very easy to play too.

Perhaps my only complaint is the screw in tremolo arm - there is quite a lot of play in it and it tends to wobble unless tightened to a point where it becomes too stiff to move comfortably. I undertsand this can be remedied - I have yet to try. Also the jack socket has a habit of working itself loose and frequently requires tightening up ... a friction washer might be a useful addition as standard.

The translucent, glass like depth of the metallic red "candy-apple" finish is a sight to behold, and reflects the light at different view points to look anything from deep crimson to arterial blood... mesmerizing. The maple neck is smooth and silky to the touch, by comparison to my last guitars "laquered" neck, there is no friction present when gliding up and down the fretboard. The rosewood fingerboard, is smooth and solid, and the medium jumbo nickle frets are all perfectly seated an and finished - no rough or sharp edges, smoothly rounded at the edges. The very slight (almost flat) radius of the neck makes string bending a dream, double tone bends are no problem with no sign of choking. Machineheads are of the tension adjustable non-locking type - smooth and firm and I have had no tuning problems at all. The bridge saddles are finished in hardened and polished stainless steel, for extra sustain and strength, and are minutely camfered so as not to bite the strings. The tremolo unit is balanced on two posts and floats to give a tone bend up and will dive as far as you care to take it. For a non locking tremolo, it stays remarkably in tune - however treating saddles and nut with graphite powder certainly would improve things (as I have done). Electronics are standard three single coils, 1 volume, 2 tones and 5-way selector - giving all those famous strat sounds. No pops and squeaks on pickup changes or knob adjustments - although the single coils do hum a little through an amp on standby - but then thats single coils for you. The factory set up was good but not the optimum. A quick set-up from a guitar tech had the action down to almost non-existent... no fret buzz or choking - lovely.

This is truly a class guitar and a pleasure to play. Its a real peach :)

Two-Tone rated this unit 5 on 2003-12-02.

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