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Rating and Reviews: Fender USA DLX Strat V RW

Get a rockin', but balanced tone with this American Deluxe Strat. It features noisless pickups that don't hum and deliver a bright tone that chimes.

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"Fender's finest... but a couple 'flaws'" submitted October 16, 2013

By JB Miller in St.Louis, MO
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Musical Background: Professional musician. Over 40 years of studio and performing experience.
Music Style: Classic Rock, Country, Jazz, Blues, Big-Band.
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Overall: This Strat model is Fender’s best attempt at producing the finest guitar they can make. They’re almost there… but not quite. Let’s start with the FINISH: it is flawless. Very well done, very beautiful. The NECK is the best thing about this guitar. The ‘V’ profile creates a contour that matches the natural curve of the hand as you play. The result is that you feel very comfortable all up and down this neck. The COMPOUND RADIUS fret-board is a very good design. For most of the neck, you have a nice 9.5 radius… but when you get to the 12th fret the radius flattens to 14. This means you can bend strings high on the neck without fret buzz. This also allows you to set the strings lower to the fret-board to get better action. Great design. Some people claim they “can’t get used to it”. I’ve had no problem jumping right into it and feeling right at home. The TUNING KEYS are high quality locking keys, and they make it very easy to quickly change strings. They are also very stable, helping keep the guitar in tune. The AGED FINISH on the neck is very classy, and it will only get better with age! The N3 PICKUPS sound very nice, and are really quiet. This is because they are designed like a humbucker (that is, 2 cancelling coils). With the S-1 SWITCHING turned OFF, the standard strat switch positions are smooth, clean, and quiet on all 5 settings. You get the classic Stratocaster tones. However, I do not like the S-1 ON position at all. With the S-1 switch turned on, the 1,2,& 3 positions produce the 60HZ hum. This is because Fender wired them in ‘series’. If you take a humbucker (which is basically what an N3 strat pickup is) and run it in ‘series’ with another humbucker… then the 60HZ buzz will return to the mix. Why? Because the humbucking mode only works with paired coils, and running these pickups in ‘series’ cancels the humbucking mode. Fender tried to compensate by adding some circuitry (a couple capacitors) to catch that hum, but you can still hear it fairly well. Also, even though the S-1 mode produces a hotter sound (typical of series wiring), the 1,2 & 3 positions are ‘muddy’, and all sound similar to one and other. No real 'definition'. Remember, the unique sound of a Strat has always been that ‘clear’, punchy sound. The ‘quack’ on the 2 and 4 settings is only front-and-center when the wiring is standard ‘parallel’, but the S-1 switch puts these pickups in ‘series’, and hence… the “Strat” sound as we know it is degraded. Of the 1,2 & 3 positions, I like the 3 the best. Even though it ‘hums’, it sounds nice and beefy, and is ‘usable’. The 4th position turns the bridge and neck pickups on. The problem with this, however, is that Fender wired them in ‘series’ and ‘out of phase’. This setting sounds “ok”, but it’s not as good as it could be. It doesn’t sound like a Tele… but more like a Gretch. Because the pickups are wired ‘out of phase’ in position 4, and the 60HZ buzz is again cancelled. So this is a decent sound. Position 5 is useless. Even though there is no buzz, the out of phase / parallel wiring on this setting sound terrible. I can’t think of any situation where I would actually use this on a live performance. The sound is ‘thin’, 'hollow' and ‘tinny’. Almost all of the midrange frequencies are cut out with this pickup configuration. After a couple jobs, I ‘had it’. I took my new Fender and put it under “the knife”. I opened her up and rewired the S-1 switch so that all the positions were strait ‘parallel wiring’. Now, with the S-1 switch ‘on’, I get a true ‘tele-like’ sound with the 1 and 3 pickups on. The 1,2, 3 setting is also very nice. The tone has a distinctive ‘quack tone’, but with more fullness than the 4,5 position. Now for the BRIDGE… I have a couple problems with the bridge. 1st off, the tremolo handle was VERY hard to insert and pull out. I mean, I must have put 20 or 30 pounds of pressure on the trem arm to get it to click into its slot inside the bridge! Also, the tiny set screws inside the string saddles where sticking up through the saddles. They are sharp on the edges, and I actually cut the palm of my hand on one of them. Soooo… this was such a bad design that I was thinking about returning the guitar! However, I stepped back and regrouped. Because I never really use the trem bar anyway, why even try to push it in? Then I lowered the bridge all the way to the body and tightened the internal bridge springs in the body of the guitar all the way down. The tension has now locked the bridge to the body firmly (no need for blocks … like Eric Clapton does…). When I lowered the bridge I had to raise the string saddles to compensate for the change. Hey, when I did this, the sharp screws sunk into the string saddles and hence… no more visible screw, no more sharp edges! Fixed. Now, I’m happy with my guitar. VERY happy. It plays good, sounds good, and looks good. It’s a keeper. Oh, the case. The case is that nice molded style with the Fender logo molded on it. But to tell you the truth, I would have been more happy with the classic wooden Strat / Tele case. This molded case fits the guitar nice, but there’s very little room for anything else (tuner, strap etc.). The old fashion cases have PLENTY of room. All in all, I would recommend this guitar if you are a Strat lover. It is very high quality. It's a little pricy, but if your a pro and you want a pro Strat... this is 'it'. The only things I didn’t like were the S-1 switching and the bridge. I fixed them (for nothing), and you can too if it bothers you. Some people may not be bothered with my these things, but I was... so I had to fix it. This is also why I didn't give my review 100% perfect marks. So BUY ONE! You won't be disappointed!
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Fender USA DLX Strat V RW Customer Review submitted November 20, 2011

Sound: THIS FENDER AMERICAN "V" NECK STRAT WITH S-1 SWITCHING IS THE BEST GUITAR YOU CAN GET REGARDLESS OF PRICE. WITH S-1 SWITCHING YOU GET 5 VINTAGE STRAT SOUNDS AND 5 HUMBUCKING "FAT" PICKUP COMBINATIONS. TREMOLO WORKS AWESOME AND STAYES IN TUNE WITHOUT LOCKING NUT GARBAGE AND HASTLES. IT BLOWS AWAY ALL THE OTHER STRATS, LES PAULS, AND SG'S, AND PRS GUITARS OFF THE MAP, PERIOD! IT IS EXTREMELY VERSATILE FROM SURF MUSIC, COUNTRY, OLDIES, ROCK, METAL, JAZZ, WHAT EVER YOU WANT TO PLAY, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT PICK UP COMBINATION. THE NECK IS SLIM AND FAST FOR VIRTUOSO LEAD PLAYING. I DO NOT PLAY ANY OTHER GUITAR NOW. NOTHING SOUNDS OR PLAYS LIKE THIS GUITAR. ALL OTHER GUITARS ARE "FURNITURE" COMPARED TO THIS GUITAR. I'M BUYING ANOTHER ONE. YOU CAN PAY OVER $5000 FOR CUSTOM LES PAULS AND PRS GUITARS, BUT THIS STRAT SMOKES THEM ALL, HANDS DOWN, NO CONTEST!
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"A Guitar For All Seasons and reasons!!!" submitted October 25, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Senior Pastor/Praise Team/Played on the road for over 20 years before returning to pastoring.
Music Style: Country-rock/Blues/Contempory Christian/Southern Gospel
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Sound: The sound of this guitar reminds me greatly of the vintage strats that I have played many years ago and wished I had held onto. It is warm and biting.....a very rare combination in today's market. This guitar is more for those who have developed a "touch" in their style and playing over the years. It is probably not for "Thrashers" but is for many who play various kinds of music as you can get almost any sound you desire from this guitar; very wersitile! As a Pastor and a member of our Praise Team as well, this guitar is truly a blessing in every way imaginable. Extremely cool!!!!! Feature: Fender includes great case candy! Ease of Use: If you can't get a good sound from this guitar, I would have to ask if you know what you're doing? Seriously, it is that good! Quality: Super quality as you would expect from Fender. The price also demands high quality and on this guitar Fender does not disappoint. Value: Is anything really worth its price anymore? Having said that, for the price I paid for this guitar through Zzounds, I am completely satisfied! Manufacturer Support: I've played Fender guitars and amps for over 40 years. I still do! The Wow Factor: As a pastor in a church, I'm not sure that "sex appeal" is an issue that concerns me or the congregation as we are way more concerned with function, sound and stewardship in this matter. In the catagories stated Fender shines.....oh, by the way......did I mention it looks very good too? Overall: Till either I wear out or it does. At sixty four years old, it most assuredly will outlast me.
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"American Deluxe Vneck" submitted May 7, 2014

By Randal B in Temple, TX
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Musical Background: been playing for 25 years and as a professional for several.
Music Style: I play Blues and Country
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Overall: This guitar is one of the best I've ever played and that includes many boutique manufacturers. The N3 noiseless are way better then the original Fender vintage noiseless pickups I tried years ago. It set up easily so low with now fret buzz I actually had to raise the action because I wasn't use to it that low. One issue at all is the dateline finalist on the neck felt sticky. It's getting better over time.
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