This is my “HSS Strat Review” – or “What I Hate Standard Strats!”

I never used to to think I was really either a “Gibson” or “Fender” kinda guy. The first guitar I became really partial to was my Ibanez Artcore semi-hollow body. Well, now that it’s rewired with “Pearly Gates” pickups in both the neck and bridge – maybe that’s why! I had quite a few before this that I got rid of for one reason or another. There are two things I look for in a guitar, and they are “tone” and “versatility”. A standard strat (to me) has NO tone whatsoever in the bridge position, the neck is great for jazz or blues, but all positions lack…..well for lack of a better term – “balls”.

I play a wide variety of music from pop, to rock, southern rock, country, blues, classic rock, dance, disco, a bit of everything. When you’re talking about versatility, I tend to think that humbuckers are the way to go because you can go “balls out” if you need to for say “Gimme 3 Steps”, but cut it down for a very bluesy “Fool For Your Stockings”. You’re good for either “Brickhouse” or “Free for All”.

On the other hand, I saw a guy in a bar not to long ago with a great rig playing the hell out of a standard strat on a Pink Floyd cover and he sounded great! Then the next song was “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC, and my jaw dropped when I heard the tinny, trebly, horrible fake-distorted sound of that strat! There’s just no way that guitar could EVER sound heavy enough for that (or any other) hard-rock based sound.

In addition – I even owned (and paid $900 for) an “official SRV signature” strat from Fender’s custom shop last year. I finally sold it (digusted) a week later, because (while very playable) it just wasn’t versatile enough (sound-wide) for me at the time. Now fast forward to last month, when I was in my local GC, and I checked out 2 or 3 of the HSS (humbucker, single coil, single coil) “fat” strats, both American and Mexican made. I plugged these into a Vox, 3 different Marshalls, a Peavey, a Fender, and a Line 6. I have to say – I wish I would have bought one of these a long time ago…

The HSS or “fat strat” gives you a humbucker in the bridge position, and then 2 single coils. So if you want to belt out Pink Floyd on the neck with chorus and bad-ass delay, great! But you can go “balls-out” in bridge with your AC/DC and Angus impressions no problem! Now, to be sure – I STILL wouldn’t recommend this for death metal or anything (check out the Ibanez ART300 for that), this type of strat is probably the only kind that can handle most types of hard rock. I had forgotten how many of these there were back in the 80’s, and that would probably explain why I hadn’t seen many of them in the store over the years (again) until now. Back in the 80’s in the land of hair metal – these were called “heavy metal strats”, and those are kind of rare to find today.

Here are some great deals on HSS Fat Strats on eBay right now, the retail for a mexican made strat is about $399, and American Made is $799+. You can get great deals both new and used on eBay for these guitars.

Squier Bullet Strat with Tremolo HSS Sea Foam Green Rosewood Fingerboard

End Date: Sunday May-13-2018 16:51:39 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $109.99
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2015 Fender Stratocaster HSS Fat Strat w/ Bag

End Date: Friday May-25-2018 10:48:09 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $399.99
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Ibanez strat hss guitar

End Date: Sunday Apr-29-2018 12:20:29 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $110.00
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Fender Standard Strat, HSS, Floyd Rose, Olympic White, MIM + New Gig Bag

$259.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Monday Apr-30-2018 18:37:13 PDT
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Fender Squier Bullet Strat HSS Arctic White - with Locking Tuners - Excellent

$125.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday Apr-27-2018 17:02:44 PDT
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Here’s the latest auctions on eBay for “HM” or “Heavy Metal” strats, there are usually under 6 or so for sale at any given time (there are getting rarer by the day).

Vintage 1989 Fender HM Strat - White - Upgraded pickups - Seymour Duncans

End Date: Sunday May-20-2018 14:13:40 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $525.00
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Vintage 1989 Fender Squier HM Strat E-Series Made In Korea! RARE! NO RESERVE!!!!

$103.50 (5 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Apr-29-2018 18:05:19 PDT
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Late 1980's Fender HM Strat Electric Guitar Made in USA

End Date: Saturday Apr-28-2018 12:15:14 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $600.00
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1991 Fender HM Strat V2 Rosewood neck COMPLETE w/tuners, locking nut, neck plate

End Date: Tuesday May-22-2018 5:25:47 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $329.00
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RARE original Fender black knob for HM Strat, Flame, Contemporary Stratocaster 2

End Date: Friday May-25-2018 12:31:42 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $49.99
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