Fender American Professional Stratocaster Olympic White Maple Neck SSS Review

Fender American Professional Stratocaster Olympic White Maple Neck SSS

Here is my guitar review of my Fender American Professional Olympic White Maple Neck 2020.

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  • American Professional Series
  • Body shape: Stratocaster
  • Body: alder
  • Neck: Maple, Satin Finish
  • Neck profile: Modern "Deep C"
  • Fretboard: maple
  • Fretboard radius: 9.5 "
  • Scale length: 25.5 "(648 mm)
  • Frets: 22 Narrow Tall
  • Inlays: Black Pearloid Dots
  • Saddle (width): bone (42.8 mm)
  • Neck Plate: 4-bolt
  • Truss Rod: Bi-Flex Dual Adjust
  • Bridge Pickup: V-Mod Single-Coil Strat
  • Middle Pickup: V-Mod Single-Coil Strat
  • Neck Pickup: V-Mod Single-Coil Strat
  • Controls: Master Volume w / Treble Bleed, Neck / Middle Tone, Bridge Tone
  • Pickups Switching: 5-pos. Blade
  • Bridge: 2-point Synchronized Tremolo w / Bent Steel Saddles & Pop-in Arm
  • Tuner: Standard Cast / Sealed Staggered
  • Pickguard: 3-ply Mint Green
  • Buttons: Aged White Plastic
  • Hardware: nickel / chrome
  • Strings: Fender® USA, NPS, (Gauges .009 - .042)
  • Color: Olympic White
  • Finish: Gloss Polyurethane

I bought it on September 24th at Soundland.de including an Elite Molded hard case for 1495 €.

I. Mechanics:

Fender-typical standard 6 series staggered, many swear by introducing the strings into the middle of the respective mechanics and complain about the standard tuners. I do not care. There is nothing to complain about, they all work great, nothing skips, the system is not too sluggish or too smooth.

II. Saddle

A real bone saddle as standard. Top!

III. neck

1. curvature

The guitar already made a great impression ex works, including the neck curve.

2. frets

Narrow tall frets, absolutely pleasant, even large barrés sound very clean if you don't press too hard. :-) The higher narrow frets make it easier for me to grasp cleanly because I can use them to orientate myself better on the fingerboard. Training 1a! [IMG] The empty E and A strings as well as the G strings rattle unplugged when you hit it hard. This is due to the extremely pleasant low string action, which I still owed 009s with Fender strings ex works. Actually, I'm meticulous, but that's how it is with a Strat and you don't hear it amplified. Maybe I'll go up to 010s ... I'm from 011s on a Jazzmaster, so a real change, but super pleasant.

3. Scale length

A Stratocaster is a long-scale guitar. You have to deal with that. Personally, I find the long-scale property very beneficial, especially for chords. The fingers have a lot of space when playing, where Gibson sometimes gets tight [IMG], standard A major barre fingerings are easier for me (I grab the three strings for the A major fingering with my ring finger and the high E- I don't touch the string with this "Stratocaster-Scale" guitar). However, I wouldn't overestimate the long-scale property either. It's not that the guitar is unplayable with small hands. But I'm 1.93m tall and have roughly proportionally large fingers [IMG] and can therefore handle the long scale very well.

4. Maple deep C-shape neck and maple fingerboard

Probably the most pleasant thing I've ever played. [IMG] Quasi the showpiece of the instrument! The grip angle for the left hand is incredibly comfortable to play. Even after hours. The neck is neither too thick nor too thin. Not too rounded, but also not a straight board and the workmanship is great. Very suitable for all common playing techniques. The developers have shaped the neck so that it can be used in all positions, be it high above the XII. The fret and the first frets in the case of Open Chords are simply optimally adjusted everywhere. The lacquered maple fingerboard invites you to play quickly. Deep C is not the most popular option in the Custom Shop Strats for nothing. Finally, the black dots on the light maple facilitate an overview. Nice subtle grain. The Strat even smells good, I imagine. : tongue:

IV. Pickguard

White on white, really classy. For a long time I thought about whether I would prefer mint green for my dream aesthetic, but no, that's exactly how it is perfect. [IMG] It should be noted a minimal elevation of the pickguard (roughly so that a Plec fits underneath. Pedants would swing the "shit processing", "Oh no, Fender, what's going on in the quality control ?!" but for me it takes a bit more for a complex construct to suffer from considerable manufacturing defects. Rock 'n Roll. Those who find a Strat without any "flaws" throw the first Strat! It was anyway the last American Professional one in Germany in my color scheme.: D

V. Body

I like the body shaping that is mostly associated with electric guitars very much, as a gimmick above all the abdominal omission for absolutely optimal ergonomics. For me the most comfortable body to wear, both while standing and sitting. In addition, the cutaway and horn are simply pleasant for playing in the highest registers, no comparison to the Paula as an example for the other guitar world.

The paint has no quirks and also looks well made. Here, of course, is a big difference to the Vintage Strats: Cheaper polyester paint / coating is popular with my model. Sounds different, say the vintage nerds, the wood can't breathe and this is of course bad for Relic lovers, because even after decades - with careful use - the guitar will hardly show any noticeable flaws or marks. For a long time I was also a friend of nitro and broken, but now I'm even more of a team poly, because I just really like the noble white when it is healed and Olympic White does not have to darken / yellow, but is naturally creamy. As expected, paint chips or even dings / dongs are not to be found on this rather high-priced USA Fender, even or even though it was at least a showroom guitar. Classic alder, as standard on Strats, more heavy than light for a screw neck Fender guitar, but no, I didn't weigh it.

VI. Button

Strat-standard, optimal movement of the pots (with treble bleed on the volume, which doesn't bother me, but I don't prefer either) in beautiful aged white, just like the pickups, which we now have as the centerpiece next to the deep C neck come [IMG]

VII. Pickups

Fender Vintage Modified Pickups by Tim Shaw or "V-Mods" for short. The neck pickup sounds really smooth, warm, dynamic and soft with simultaneous lightness and gutural hollow with light tugging. Top notch. I play the neck pickup mostly for clean surf and slightly overdriven indie sounds. As with almost every other guitar, the Middle PU alone is, as expected, unusable. : D The bridge pickup alone has great twang and is surprisingly really useful, which is rather unusual with Strats. The two intermediate positions are definitely super cool, I always think of the 90s pop band "Roxette": ugly: but at home, as I said, I'm primarily alone with the Neck Single-Coil. Pickup guru Tim Shaw has put together different Alnico types so that each string gets its individual best accentuation and that overall the volume is very balanced. I know that very differently from my previous guitars (especially Jazzmasters). Shortly after I bought this American Professional, the American Professional II came on the market. Fender advertises that the V-Mod IIs of the new series are still

be "better". I haven't played them in comparison yet and the amazingly few Vs. videos on Youtube do not offer a real comparison because body and / or fingerboard materials do not match. It becomes even more difficult to compare the sound when you play ash / rosewood against alder / maple. In addition, even Mexican strats sound almost like master builts on YouTube via appropriate amps and mics, so much for sound comparisons of this kind, but that's another topic ... [IMG]

The single coils definitely have the basic sound you would expect from a Strat. A shortcoming could be that you lack a certain independence. The American Professional series probably sounds most typically like Strat of all Strats that are currently available in US off-the-shelf goods. Feedback has not been a problem with her so far. Of course there is minimal noise, as it should be for a single coil guitar, rock 'n roll. No, I did not measure the output values ​​...

VIII. Bridge / tremolo

The annoying topic of many stratists: does the guitar stay out of tune? For me, who is very meticulous, a clear "it's ok". : evil: It's always better, but you definitely don't have to retune it every 20 minutes, even if you use vibrato intensively. As a longtime offset player, I am not used to having such a great, sophisticated standard tremolo available. A whole tone up and down is super feasible with my present setup. My previous Jazzmaster only went a semitone down. In contrast to the Jazzmaster, the bridge also causes zero problems. Simply great and enjoyable, much more comfortable game. I just have to get used to the fact that when playing Palm Mute I can rest my hand on the bridge less courageously, as the sound would otherwise be distorted due to the construction. The pop-in arm comes off extremely difficult for me, so you would probably have to loosen a screw in the right place. However, I have only used the Strat at home so far (Covid 19 sends its regards) and therefore the arm is always in place and the guitar hangs on the wall when not in use and is not in the super practical elite molded case, so the arm would have to be released. Compared to my old guitars, the tremolo is very smooth-running, I might retrofit 2 springs, stock 3 are installed as standard. The double-rolled Bla Blubb block of the American Professional II is not necessary in my opinion because I do not feel or hear a lack of sustain, quite the contrary. After my first professional setup with graphite on the saddle, 010 strings, etc., tuning stability is probably even better.

IX. Strap pins

The strap pins look good, no sec locks or beer bottle knobs required.

X. Conclusion

I had to get used to the fact that the Stratocasters are served more gently and smoothly than my previous Jazzmasters. The strings are easier to press and should also be pressed more easily, which will be a process for me, humans are creatures of habit, but in the long run this will generally pay off and have a positive effect on the cleanliness of my playing. Why else do you play with extremely loud amps !? The energy should be invested differently than in the standard stop. It will also be easier for me to create dynamics if I don't already fry in with a moderate game, but save the hard attack for highlights.

I had offset guitars for a long time because my idols play them (Sonic Youth, The Cure, Tocotronic, My Bloody Valentine). These guitars have their place and had a special style and vibe before the Jazzmaster became mass compatible again 5-6 years ago. However, these guitars have glaring quirks, especially related to the bridge construction, which ultimately affect everything.

I still have to get used to the fact that I cannot rest my hitting hand on the bridge so easily, as the floating bridge could move.

Also, I haven't played a Strat regularly for a long time, so when I hit the plek I mainly hit the Neck-PU, so I really have to evade it.

The neck-volume knob is very close to the strings, you could get to it, but the problem was bigger with my Jazzmaster and the volume knob of the Jazzmaster was uncomfortably smoother.

These first-mentioned aspects in the conclusion naturally sound like bad handling for me, but that's not the case. These are all things that correspond to the character of a classic Strat and / or that are largely relativized by getting used to or dissolve in pleasure. In my opinion, it takes years to become one with your guitar.: Angel:

I bought the American Professional because I'm a Fender single-coil type who just wants to buy a very high quality guitar and this specific instrument offers me everything I want and need. I use it at home to play surf and indie to myself in the living room over my blues junior lacquered tweed surf and indie. I've tried offsets for a long time, but the many construction-related "problems" with fine-tuning in relation to modern gaming just bothered me too much. Ultimately, I also came to the conclusion that with the offsets I wanted to emulate my idols who played them, but I fell into two wrong conclusions: First, my idols like Sonic Youth used offsets for extremely experimental tunings. Offsets are great for this, but I almost exclusively play Standard E. The excessive tremolo use, for which the offset tremolos are notorious, I did not practice in this form. Second, I always thought, I'm looking for the dream sound in Jazzmasters. But that turned out to be a fallacy. I always liked Jazzmasters best the closer they got to a Strat in terms of sound. : D

My Strat doesn't sound very independent, it's just typical Strat, almost as typical as it gets. The American Professional series replaced the Standard series in 2016 and ultimately the name "Standard" would still have been a great fit in terms of sound. As a reference one would probably take the sound of a pre-CBS vintage Strat, one would agree with most guitarists about that. But whether vintage means warm or treble or something completely different, no one will be able to answer that clearly in 2020. This Strat covers it all, that's why I like it so much. It has remained true to the classic, with meaningful modern adjustments.

I don't see it as a disadvantage that you could accuse it of lacking its own individual sound characteristics. Ultimately, it can do everything that my offsets were already able to do, only better, in a nicer sound and guise, with much more pleasant handling. Bendings over many semitones at the lowest string position are no comparison to my previous offsets. It covers both modern and classic Fender single-coil sounds, of course no metal sausage meat, it is not made for that. The best instrument in the world for my areas of application such as surf and indie and as standard in my favorite combination white on white with maple neck, for example as American Professional II, it is not available. It doesn't owe me the comparison to the Am Pro II, because I think it's optimal as it is.

For me it is the best guitar in terms of aesthetics, handling and sound, finally I was able to fulfill my dream of a real Fender USA and do not chase idols with it, but have found my individual dream guitar, no matter how individual it may be.