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Price Paid
$2099
Condition
New
Country of origin
USA
Body wood(s)
Alder
Neck wood
Maple
Fretboard
Maple
Fretboard Scale
25.5
Number of frets
22
Pros

Compound radius fingerboard, deep D shaped neck profile, satin neck finish, locking tuners, noiseless single coil pickups with S1 switch, contours on the neck heel and back of lower cutaway, pop in tremolo arm, high mass steel saddles.

Cons

A bit pricey for a Strat. Fender brought back the headstock truss access, I personally prefer the pinwheel access at the end of the fingerboard, which was featured on the predecessor Fender Elite series Strat. I really wish this guitar had jumbo frets.

Summary

Do we really need another Fender Strat review here on DRG? Probably not, but this isn’t your fathers Fender Strat. A purists nightmare, the Fender American Ultra series Strat features a 10”-14” compound radius fingerboard, as well as a satin finish on the neck and fingerboard. Both of these features are preferable to me. The Ultra Noiseless Vintage Tone pickups have that sweet crystal clear chimney tone, and articulation you want and expect from a Strat, and snarl like an angry pit bull when overdriven, and the S1 switch, which engages the neck pickup in the 1, 2, and 3 positions, fattening the tone, especially in the 1 position. Fender reverting back to the headstock truss access seems like superficial aesthetic driven move, as the pinwheel is just easier, but the look of the Ultra is noticeably more classic without it, and the added skunk stripe, but really how often do you need to adjust the truss rod. I’m of the belief that locking tuners should just be standard on all guitars $1000 and up, the fact that you have to spend $2100 to get them on a USA Strat is absurd at this point. The cutaway contour is very comfortable, in conjunction with the contoured heel, it’s not mind blowingly noticeable, but the difference is there. I’m a sucker for compound radius fingerboards, and even though I find the straight 9-1/2” radius, common to Fender, to be very comfortable, the 10”-14” board is perfect to me. This purchase was a total snob move on my part, the American Ultra line is $300 more than the American Professional series Strat, but really superficially different, I don’t believe the cutaway contour and locking tuners justify the price difference, but I took the bait… The finish came into play as well, I really like this mocha burst. If I had the money to do so, I’d buy another, in the Texas Tea finish, the model is also offered in Cobra Blue, and Ultraburst. The American Ultra series is also offered with HSS pickups with both maple and rosewood fingerboards.