SMG Review: Fender Blacktop Stratocaster HH Electric Guitar with Floyd Rose Tremolo

Fender Blacktop Stratocaster with Floyd Rose Electric Guitar

What is known today as “Fender Guitars” began as Fender’s Radio Service towards the end of 1938 in Fullerton, California, USA. As an electronics technician, Leo Fender had experience repairing radios, phonograph players, home audio amplifiers, public address systems and musical instrument amplifiers. Leo soon became interested in improving the musical instrument amplifiers, and he began custom-building a few amps based on his original designs.

OFF THE RACK

I have always been on the fence about Fender guitars. Not because I think they are bad guitars, but because I have trouble playing them. That being said, the new Fender Blacktop felt pretty good in my hand. The neck resembles the 60’s neck which is a bit thinner and easier to play. I wouldn’t say it’s a fast neck, but it’s definitely not slow either. The alder body has a great tone to it, nice and fat. The larger scale of the neck is nice, giving more room in between each of the 22 frets. The hot vintage pickups are similar to 80’s pickups that came from Les Paul Standard’s. The blacktop has a HH pickup configuration that is complimented with a 5- position selector switch giving you both humbucker and single coil action. With the added Floyd Rose Tremolo the blacktop moves into the metal and hard rock category giving you an array of techniques to add to your arsenal. The alder wood is actually not bad as far as weight, it’s quite comfortable. The maple neck is topped with a rosewood fretboard giving you that classic feel. The action is like most Fender guitars in that it’s a bit high from the factory…. but that’s as easy fix. All in all, the Fender Blacktop is a great intermediate level guitar that includes all the features that you need to tear it up!

THE SPECS

  • Model Name: Blacktop™ Start® HH Floyd Rose®
  • Body Material: Alder
  • Body Shape: Stratocaster®
  • Neck Shape: Modern “C” Shape
  • Number of Frets:22
  • Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
  • Position Inlays: White Dot Position Inlays
  • Fingerboard Radius: 9.5″ (24.13 cm)
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Nut Width: 1.650” (42 mm)
  • Scale Length: 25.5″ (64.8 cm)
  • Bridge: Floyd Rose® Special Double Locking 2-Point Tremolo
  • Tuning Machines: Standard Cast/Sealed Tuning Machines
  • String Nut: Floyd Rose® Special Locking Nut

THE LOW DOWN

This is a great affordable guitar that plays well and stays in tune beautifully. The double locking Floyd Rose feels really nice on the Strat body, definitely a great add to a classic guitar. The pickups have decent chunk and are moderately hot but compliment the natural tone of the wood. I would possible change out the pickups to something a little warmer in the neck like a Seymour Duncan JB or a Dimarzio Evolution. If your style is standard Rock, than the bridge pickup is fine and doesn’t need to be changed. Both pickups sound nice on the clean channels giving you a crisp bluesy tone. I like the fact that Fender kept the 5-way switch, giving you more versatility in tone. I would recommend this axe to any intermediate player looking to upgrade as well as for advanced players looking for something different but still looking to keep the Fender feel. Try one out and see if this guitar is for you.

Pros: Floyd Rose, Priced right, Plays great, nice tone, thinner neck.

Cons: N/A

Price Tag – $400 – $499

Till next week, thanks for reading and keep on shredding!

 

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