Sam checks out the brand new Fender American Ultra Stratocaster!
The American Ultra series is joining the American Original and Professional guitars, as the latest addition to the Fender USA range, manufactured in Corona California, and just like the Elite series guitars that they’re replacing, they offer a few of the more advanced, none traditional features designed for the modern player who needs the ultimate in precision, performance and tone.
As you’d expect to find on a Fender Strat, the body of the guitar is made from either Alder or Ash, depending on the finish, and it’s fitted with a 4 bolt Maple neck with either a Maple or Rosewood fingerboard, as opposed to the Ebony boards that were found on the previous Elite series guitars.To aid performance and playability, the rear of the body features newly designed tapered contouring around the neck joint, which massively improves comfort and ease of access when playing at the highest frets. The neck features Fender’s unique modern D profile and has a smooth satin finish, so it feels slim and very comfortable to play, but still rounded and very Strat-like, and the fingerboard is fitted with 22 Medium Jumbo frets and has rolled edges to improve comfort.
Now whereas most Strats feature a 9.5 inch fingerboard radius, or a more rounded 7.25 inches on vintage models, the American Ultra has a more modern compound radius, going from a slightly less rounded 10 inches at the nut to a much flatter 14 inch radius at the higher frets, so overall, the neck feels really speedy, accurate and effortless to play.
In terms of hardware, in keeping with the modern, performance based ethos of the American Ultra, there’s a set of deluxe locking tuners, making restringing quick and easy, Fender have reverted to putting the truss rod adjuster back up on the headstock, as opposed to at the heel of the neck like on the old Elite guitars, a bone nut is fitted for maximum string vibration transfer, and down at the other end of the guitars 25.5 scale length, there’s a really smooth, accurate 2 point deluxe synchronised tremolo with a push in trem arm.
Tonally, the guitars fitted with a set of Fender Ultra Noiseless single coil pickups, so you don’t need to worry about any of the electrical hum or buzzing that you might get from standard strat pickups, and these run through a 5-way switch, volume and 2 tone controls, and it also features Fenders S1 switching system, allowing to combine the neck and bridge pickup, or use all of the pickups at the same time, something that you can’t do on a traditional stratocaster.
Ascetically, there’s a wide range of new gloss polyurethane finishes to choose from including this gorgeous Plasma Red burst. The guitars are fitted with vintage looking pick guards and aged control knobs, which when combined with the Gold Fender logo, pearloid dot inlays and darker tinted necks and headstocks, gives the American Ultra a slightly more traditional vibe to it, so personally, I’d say it definitely looks a little more stylish when compared to the previous American Elite models, offering all the modern playability upgrades, but with classic Strat looks.Finally, as you’d expect, the guitar comes supplied with a premium quality, bombproof Fender moulded case to keep it safe when you’re not playing it.