Fender Deluxe Stratocaster
50th Anniversary Edition.

A Bit of History

1954 was a magical year for guitar players. The Fender Stratocaster arguably the world’s most famous electric guitar was born.

Following in the footsteps of its groundbreaking older brother the Telecaster, the Stratocaster, otherwise known as the “Strat” went on to ignite a revolution in the way the electric guitar was placed in contemporary music.

To commemorate this event in 2004, Fender launched 3 different Stratocaster variants. All closely resembling a 1954 Stratocaster but each with a different flavour and price range.

The model we are reviewing is the deluxe version, which is a modern take on the 1954 Stratocaster.

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Specifications

The instrument sports a traditional 2-Colour Sunburst, which goes over a select alder body.  The pickguard is parchment with the 50th Anniversary logo embossed into the top rear corner in gold.

The C shaped maple neck has a satin polyurethane finish, and in our case has a maple fingerboard with rolled neck edges. Frets are 22 in number and medium jumbo in size. The fingerboard is adorned with elegant abalone dot inlays.

Deluxe locking tuners are which are also staggered, cast and sealed. These give tuning stability and easy string changes.

Electronics are comprised of 3 Single coil Samarium Cobalt pickups and 5-way switching in additional to the new 2-way S1 switching, which allows for ten different sound combinations.

Hardware is all gold plated and the neck plate also has the 50th logo engraved.

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Included is also a vintage tweed case with the 50th anniversary logo embroidered into the inside of the case. A very elegant touch. As part of the case candy we also find a leather strap, Fender cord and a sample Meguiars cleaning kit.

 



Playability

This is very comfortable guitar to play, any guitarist and especially Fender players will feel right at home on the smooth satin neck and contoured body. The tuners are also excellent with minimum fuss to restring as the excess is cut right at the tuners edge.

Sounds are your typical Strat, with twang on position 1, the famous quack on 2 and 4 (think Mark Knophler), a normal rhythm sound on 3 and a more mellow tone on 5. Additionally each position has an alternative sound with the new S1 switch, which is neatly embedded into the volume control to avoid any extra switches.

The instrument also lacks any 60-cycle hum, a positive feature for a single-coil guitar thanks to its specially designed pickups.

This Stratocaster though really shines when cranked up and given some volume, and then one can appreciate its tone better.

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Build quality is excellent and not one flaw can be spotted, this is especially true as the instrument was purchased in a sealed box so was not at all soiled in any way from the music store.

The neck gap is tight as are the strings perfectly aligned with the pickup’s pole pieces, sometimes a common problem with guitars with 3 pickups. The nitro cellulose finish is also impeccable and feels light and breathable.


Summary       

A truly excellent instrument which captures the vibe of the original 1954 Stratocaster with the features of a modern day guitar.

By Ernest H Slade