Review: Fender Player Stratocaster HSH

(Image credit: Fender)

Much in the same way VR (virtual reality) technology has advanced light years ahead with state-of-the-art sophistication at a lower cost to the consumer, guitar manufacturing has similarly grown by leaps and bounds in building affordable instruments with futuristic precision. I’m seriously blown away at how good most budget guitars are these days, with some companies going the distance in crafting highly polished instruments with up-to-date componentry that offers a plethora of sounds for the working musician. Fender is one of those companies that seems to nail this trend with stylistic verve, and the Fender Player Stratocaster HSH is one of those guitars that packs so much versatility and performance features, it’s the kind of guitar you’d want in your musical world — or virtual world, for that matter.

FEATURES The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH starts with a classic combination of an alder body and maple neck, with the body being hand-shaped to Fender’s original specs, making it even more sleekly contoured for player comfort. What’s different is the fingerboard is now Pau Ferro. Because of international trade laws placing certain restrictions on rosewood, Fender is replacing some of their rosewood fingerboards with Pau Ferro, which they’ve done here, and trust me, you won’t notice it aesthetically or sonically because it looks and sounds just about the same. Incidentally, Fender has been using Pau Ferro for years on the SRV Stratocaster.

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Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.