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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.