Text Box: 2009 Fender Custom Deluxe Stratocaster, Ice Blue Metallic, Matching Headstock

Iíve owned a couple of different Strats over the yearsóan American Series and Eric Johnson.  Both were great guitars, but neither really resonated with me like my Custom Shop Tele, so both were eventually ditched.  When Fender announced the Custom Deluxe Strat this year, I thought the combination of features was pretty much exactly what I was looking for in a Strat.

First of all, my favorite switch position on a Strat has and probably always be the neck position.  You can probably thank Jimi Hendrix for that.  Itís the combination of huge bass response and crystalline, full sound that I love in that pickup.  The Custom Dlx has Fenderís 69 Custom pickups in the neck and the middle, which shoot for that big, clean sound that Jimiís so famous for.  However, I also like a grinding, overdriven sound out of the bridge when Iím playing lead.  The no load tone pot, which increases the overall output of both the middle and bridge pickups, is a great addition to give those pickups just a little bit more oomph.  That, and the Custom Shop has outfitted the bridge with a Texas Special pickup.

Combined with the modern hardware and radius, which I prefer, and the locking tuners, the Custom Deluxe just seemed like the right guitar for me. 

Outside of the lackluster QC from Fender on delivery, the guitar has been really fantastic.  The playability and tone are exquisite.  Everything I could have hoped for in a Strat.  The neck is even chunkier than I was expecting, which I really like.  I donít like the really shallow neck profiles.