A Closer Look: Fender's New Highway One Stratocaster

NewhighwayonestratBack in July we covered the release of Fender’s newly upgraded Highway One line of guitars, but now that some time has passed I thought it might be nice to take a deeper look at what is easily the most popular of the bunch – the Highway One Stratocaster.

Now, the Highway Ones have always offered a lot of bang for the buck – they’re the most affordable American Made Strats you can buy today – but the new upgrades for 2006 only make them that much more attractive.

Perhaps the top new features are a trio of hot single-coils – including a reverse wound & reverse polarity pickup in the middle position – and a Greasebucket tone circuit, which when paired with the new pickups provides for a rounder tone all around by rolling back that piercing high-end; all without unduly boosting the bass response.

Also new to the Highway One Stratocaster are a set of 22 jumbo frets, vintage-style synchronized tremolo, a highly playable satin-finish modern C-shaped neck (in maple,) and a new satin nitrocellulose lacquer body finish.

Like their predecessors, the Highway One still sports an alder body, rosewood or maple fretboard, and that cool over-sized 1970s headstock, but perhaps the one big downside (there had to be one for this price range, right?) is that unlike the more expensive Stratocaster models you don’t get Fender’s incredibly versatile S1-switching system.

But hey, if the lack of the S1 really bothers you that much just try to remind yourself that the traditional Strat pickup set-up was good enough for generations of guitarists before you, and hey–if you really want to save a few hundred bucks or more, well, it’s probably a very small trade-off in the long run.

The New Fender Highway One Stratocaster Features–

  • Solid Alder Body
  • Maple Neck (Satin Finish/Modern C-Shaped)
  • 25.5-Inch Scale Length
  • Rosewood or Maple Fretboard With 22 Jumbo Frets
  • Over-Size 1970s Headstock & Original Body Shape
  • Three Hot Single-Coil Strat® Pickups
  • Reverse Wound/Reverse Polarity Middle Pickup
  • Master Volume, And Two Greasebucket™ Tone Controls
  • 5-Way Pickup Switching
  • Vintage-Styled Synchronized Tremolo Unit
  • Standard Cast/Sealed Tuners

Comes with a gig bag (yawn!) and is available in a plethora of cool new finishes including my two favorites, 3-Color Sunburst and Daphne Blue, plus Honey Blonde, Wine Transparent, and of course good old Flat Black.