NAMM 2020: Fender's iconic HM Strat makes an unexpected return

(Image credit: Fender)

NAMM 2020: Famously wielded by virtuoso guitarist Greg Howe on his 1992 REH Hot Rock Licks instructional video, the short-lived 88-92 run of heavy metal-friendly Strats were very much tailored to an era of super shredders. 

Famous for their extreme playability and bold color schemes, the line has now been brought back to life at this year’s Winter NAMM - the new models offering a basswood body, Gotoh tuners, a HSS pickup configuration with a coil split switch for the bridge pickup, a Floyd Rose locking tremolo and 24 jumbo frets.

Of course, these latest versions wouldn’t be the same without a black headcap and that infamous 80s stylized Fender logo on the headstock.

Fender Heavy Metal Strat in Frozen Yellow

Fender Heavy Metal Strat in Frozen Yellow (Image credit: Fender)

“It was Mike Varney who reasoned that my approach was bluesier than a lot of the other guys, so we should try for Fender,” reflected Greg Howe in an interview conducted many years after he was the face for the original guitar’s promotional campaign. 

“Fender were putting their own version together of a modern-type guitar, it seemed be a perfect fit… I still use a load of these to this day in combination with my other guitars.”

The new limited-edition models come in four finishes - Bright White, Ice Blue, Flash Pink and Frozen Yellow - with options for rosewood or maple fingerboards on the original 17”radius/25” scale narrow C-shaped neck that was highly praised for effortless performance. A deluxe gig-bag is also included.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).