Fender HM Strat Ultra Reviews 5

I stumbled over this guitar in a music shop. It looks quite strange, and the guys there didnt know what it was. One said it was a Fender Strat Plus and another said it was a Strat Ultra. I was testing it and discovered it played like butter and that the sound was great - but the price was low so I decided to buy it, since I had a need for a Strat. Later I discovered it was a HM Strat Ultra, a model quite rare made only in 1990-92, and which some say had to be ordered from the factory (but I donīt know if that is true).

I like everything about this guitar. It looks great with a flame maple veneer top, and the maple neck with ebony finger-board with its triangular mother-of-pearl inlays. All hardware are black, and the colour is transperent red (middle)sorrounded by some black glitter - seen only in the spotlight. It has a Kahler tremolo and three Lace pickups Blue/Gold/Red Dually and a mini toggle to split the Dually. It has only two knobs - one volume and a tbx tone control. So: it looks cool, it plays like butter and it sounds great and the price for this somewhat rare guitar was quite low. And itīs mine!!!

The Lace pickups sounded ok but was perhaps not the ultimate choice for this guitar with its Kahler double locking tremolo - known to make guitars sound trebly. The Red Dually sounded quite thin in this specific guitar so I decided to change it a DiMarzio Breed, for a beefier and more midranged sound with some more output and overtones. That pickup has a medium/high output so I decided to change the single coils to Laces new Hot Golds. I put a Hot Gold 13k in the neck and a 6k in the middle, and now this guitar really smokes!

I had a guitar-tech I know to check this guitar, since I had it so cheap. Heīs VERY pricky, and has downgraded many guitars if he finds fawlty work. He couldnt find ANYTHING to nag about on this one. And I do agree with him. Itīs a more than 12 year old guitar that looks completely new, so the finish of the body must be of good quality.

This is a quite rare guitar, and its not so well-known. I guess itīs often mistaken for being an ordinary HM Strat, a model said to be of lesser quality and often made in Japan in the late 1980s - a period when Fender had some overall problems with their quality. But the HM Strat Ultra was the top of the line of the Heavy Metal (HM) Strats and can be recognized by its flame maple top, the ebony fingerboard with its triangular mother-of-pearl inlays, the Fender logo on the peghead also in mother-of-pearl, and its three different Lace pickups. If you find a good exemplar of one of these for a decent price: buy it! Perhaps you need to change the pickups if you want a fatter sound, and then you will have a real great player! But save the pickups, since this guitar in the future can have a value for collectors...

Jerry rated this unit 5 on 2003-03-10.

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