Fender's Uptown Strat gives the Stratocaster a Les Paul-inspired makeover

Fender Parallel Universe II Uptown Strat
(Image credit: Fender)

Back in 2018, Fender released the aptly named Troublemaker Tele, which injected elements of Gibson’s Les Paul DNA into the Telecaster outline – and now the company has done the same thing with the Stratocaster, as it introduces the Uptown Strat.

The latest model to be released from the Parallel Universe II series, the Uptown Strat channels the LP with a one-piece mahogany body, finished in Static White nitrocellulose lacquer, and topped off by a four-ply tortoiseshell pickguard.

A block inlaid rosewood fingerboard with a 24.75” scale length continues that vibe, while the neck – which is also made of mahogany – boasts a ’60s C-shaped neck profile and 9.5”-radius fingerboard. There’s an American Ultra-style sculpted heel, too.

Pickups, meanwhile, are Fender’s DoubleTap design, which the company claims are based on PAF humbuckers. These are adjusted via individual volume and tone controls, the latter of which split their respective humbucker. Note the cheeky position of the three-way pickup selector, too.

Despite its nods to rival guitar designs, this is still very much a Strat, courtesy of the two-point tremolo and classic Stratocaster headstock, complete with ClassicGear tuners.

Fender Parallel Universe II Uptown Strat

(Image credit: Fender)

It may not be quite as radical a makeover as the Troublemaker Tele, but bass on its look and features, the Uptown Strat looks to be one of the more successful model mash-ups in the Parallel Universe II line-up.

The price tag for this one clocks in at $1,999 – Fender has more info.

It follows the Jazz Strat and the Maverick Dorado in Parallel Universe II launches so far this year.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.