N3 Noiseless Pickup
I’ve had a lot of inquiries into the new Fender Noiseless N3 Pickups here at deluxe guitar. My new 2010 American Deluxe Ash Stratocaster has them installed as standard equipment. I also own a 1996 Strat Plus with Lace Sensor pickups, a 2002 American Deluxe Stratocaster with Vintage Noiseless pickups and a 2004 American Deluxe Ash Strat with Samarium Cobalt noiseless pickups. So I’ll be using those guitars as a basis for comparison to the N3 noiseless pickups on my 2010 American Deluxe Ash Stratocaster.
First of all let me tell you a little about the design of the new N3 Noiseless pickups. According to Fender’s promotional material the N3 Noiseless pickup has an improved stacked-coil design and are specially tailored for each Stratocaster pickup position. It also represents a return to the warmth and clarity of Alnico magnets. Also the type of alnico magnets used is tailored to each specific pickup position. The bridge pickup uses Alnico V for power and warmth as well as the signature snap and spank of the classic Stratocaster bridge pickup. The middle N3 pickup uses Alnico II to give the pickup it’s signature sweetness and sparkle. The neck pickup uses Alnico III to give it it’s fullness without undue magnetic string pull.
The previous paragraph is all taken from Fender’s own promotional material so let me tell you what I hear when I play these pickups. First of all, the bridge pickup which Fender states uses the Alnico V magnet. To me it sounds very much like a classic Fender single coil Stratocaster bridge pickup. It has spank, it has twang and it has absolutely no dreaded 60-cycle hum. It is wired to the no-load tone control so you can cut the tone control out of the signal path and wire the bridge pickup directly to the output jack. Of all my Strats this pickup is the most alive sounding pickup I have. It is much livelier than the Samarium Cobalt noiseless pickups and very much more responsive to my picking attack. It picks up more nuances of my hand and pick sliding on the strings as well. It also seems to have a lot more output power than the Vintage Noiseless pickups. It is also the first noiseless pickup I own that can pick up the 3rd fret harmonic as well as I like and I have a suspicion that Jeff Beck may have been using this pickup for a while before they were placed in the American Deluxe line up. This is a very powerful bridge pickup and perfectly noiseless. It’s very close to an original single coil bridge pickup but it does have more of a growl to it.
The middle pickup definitely has the classic Fender Stratocaster middle pickup chime. I use it more than I have ever used a middle pickup on any of my other guitars. I think the best way to describe it is that the middle pickup is balanced with the neck and bridge pickups. There isn’t a big drop-off in volume and attack when switching from the bridge pickup to the middle pickup and there isn’t a huge loss of warmth when switching from the neck pickup to the middle pickup. The middle pickup is just perfectly balanced tonally between the bridge and the neck pickups.
The neck pickup is close to perfection! It is warm, slightly rubbery sounding with a sweet muted attack. I’m sure a lot of this sound comes from where the pickup is placed under the strings as well as the scale length of the Fender Stratocaster. But the pickup captures that true, classic neck pickup sound of the Fender Stratocaster. Again, like the bridge pickup, there is a slight growl to the sound that isn’t found on a classic single coil pickup. It doesn’t bother me and I prefer the slight extra power that the pickup seems to give me. If you’re looking for the true, classic single-coil neck pickup sound the N3 Noiseless is not an exact replica but it is extremely close to it. Of course, it’s completely hum free which is what I love about these noiseless pickups. Again, it’s perfectly balanced with the middle and bridge pickups and still has it’s own signature sound.
In summary, the new Fender Noiseless N3 Pickups are a wonderful addition to Fender’s pickup offerings. I absolutely love them because they are noise free and very powerful. The sound isn’t as dark as the Samarium Cobalt pickups, they are much more powerful than the Vintage Noiseless pickups and they are much warmer and more true to the classic Fender sound than my Lace Sensor pickups. If you’re looking for a Stratocaster that has an excellent set of factory installed pickups then look no further than the Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster with the new Noiseless N3 Pickups.
2010 Fender American Deluxe Ash Stratocaster - Wine Transparent
There have been a lot of reports that Fender has been very slow shipping certain color options of the new 2010 American Deluxe Stratocaster. I know some people have been waiting for 6 months or more for their guitars. These are standard color options that are listed on the Fender website yet they have been out of stock for months. I have checked with the online retailers such as Music123 and Musician’s Friend and they’ve informed me that Fender is trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. Music123 told me that they can ship any color option that you want between now and the 2nd week of November. Please remember that they are still at the mercy of Fender.
I am currently recommending that you buy your Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster at Music123. The reason being that they require no money down, you will not be charged until your guitar ships and you can request a refund at any time if you get tired of waiting for your new guitar. I have used Music123 many times in the past and they have always been excellent to work with. They have the best customer service I have ever found from an online music equipment retailer.
Simply follow the links below to order your new Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster from Music123.
2010 American Deluxe Stratocaster Sunset Metallic
One of the biggest improvements on the 2010 Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster is the new compound radius neck. Both the American Deluxe Stratocaster and American Deluxe Ash Stratocaster feature the compound radius neck which comes in both maple fretboard or rosewood fretboard.
So what is a compound radius fretboard or fingerboard? The first thing you have to understand is radius. If you look at the neck of your guitar, you’ll see a curve or a hump in the middle of the fretboard. This is the radius and it is there to make playing chords easier on the guitar neck. Most Fender necks have a single radius of between 7.25″ and 12″ with the higher number meaning a flatter radius.
So why would you want a flatter radius? Having a flatter radius makes string bending much easier and allows for longer bends without the notes fretting out. This makes the guitar easier to solo on. A flatter radius also allows for a lower action on the strings. Having a a more rounded radius makes the guitar easier to play bar chords on and fits the natural curve of your finger.
A standard guitar neck will have one continuous radius from the nut to the end of the neck which works well enough but isn’t the best solution. The new Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster has the best solution when it comes to getting easy chording as well as easy soloing. The compound radius neck has multiple radius measurements along the length of the neck. The neck is more rounded at the nut and flattens out as you get to the higher frets.
The American Deluxe Stratocaster compound radius neck measures 9.5″ at the nut, 12″ at the 12th fret, and 14″ at the 15th fret. This makes for a very smooth playing neck and allows for very comfortable string bending without fading notes associated with fretting out.
The compound radius neck is more complicated to manufacture but the reward in ease of playing and sound quality during string bending is well worth it. The fact that Fender has incorporated 3 radius zones instead of the usual 2 is just an excellent decision as well. If you are looking to upgrade to an easy-playing compound radius neck, then the 2010 Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster is the guitar for you!
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster
Fender has just released the new 2010 American Deluxe Stratocaster. This new American Deluxe Stratocaster is a serious update to the American Deluxe Stratocaster that was released in 2004. The biggest changes are to the neck and the pickups.
The new neck is a compound radius neck that is silky smooth along the entire fretboard. The pickups are the newly designed N3 Noiseless pickups that use an Alnico 5 magnet which is the same magnet that Fender has used in Stratocaster pickups for many years. It’s a return from the unique Samarium Cobalt magnet used in the last design of the Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster.
Another huge change is the wiring of the S1 switching system. The pickup configurations are completely different from the previous incarnation of the American Deluxe Stratocaster. Keep checking Deluxeguitar.com as we will be taking an in depth look at each of the new features on the 2010 Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster.
Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton Onstage At Ronnie Scott's
Okay all you American Fender Stratocaster lovers out there, two of the very best Strat players in history will be touring together this year. I’m talking about the great Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. These two phenomenal players have made the Stratocaster their signature sound and they can make a Strat sing like nobody else. This is really the dream team of Stratocaster players.
As you know, Jeff and Eric have always been very competitive with each other. Eric is not afraid to acknowledge this but Jeff tries to play off the competitiveness like it’s no big deal. Come on Jeff! We know you love it when you toss off a lick that makes Clapton look over at you in awe. So it’s really fantastic for us as fans that these two great players are going to be touring together and sharing the stage as well.
If you’ve seen the excellent Blu-Ray disc Jeff Beck Live At Ronnie Scott’s then you’ve had a chance to see Jeff and Eric play together onstage. It’s one of the best moments on Live At Ronnie Scott’s when Eric comes onstage and trades blazing licks with Jeff . You’ll get to see that interaction again on the Jeff Beck/Eric Clapton tour.
Word is that each guitarist will play a set with their own band and then join each other onstage to play a selection of songs together. This is definitely going to be one tour that you will not want to miss!
The announced tour dates are Feb. 18 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Feb. 21 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre and Feb. 22 at Montreal’s Bell Centre. These shows join the previously announced Feb. 13-14 engagement at London’s 02 Arena.
You can check out the Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck signature Stratocasters which are both American made by following the links below.
American Special Stratocaster – Candy Apple Red
For the 2010 model year Fender has released a new Stratocaster model, the American Special Stratocaster. As the name suggests, it is an American made Stratocaster which is why I’m talking about it here on Deluxe Guitar. I’m pretty excited about this new offering from Fender and very excited about the lower price point.
You can currently purchase an American Special Stratocaster from Musician’s Friend for $799.99. That’s the lowest price for a current production model American made Fender Stratocaster. I was pretty stoked when I heard that Fender was replacing the Highway 1 Stratocaster with the new American Special. The American Special has some nice, upgraded features not found on the Highway 1.
The Highway 1 Stratocaster had a thin coat of paint for a finish while the American Special Stratocaster has a fully finished and sealed paint job. On the downside, it’s only offered in two colors, Candy Apple Red and Two-Tone Sunburst. These are two of Fender’s most popular colors but I pine for the days of Surf Green, Daphne Blue and Fiesta Red on the American line of Stratocasters.
The American Special Stratocaster also comes with Texas Special Pickups and a new Greasebucket tone control. The Texas Special pickups are overwound and have a hotter output than standard single coil pickups. They are also wired with the middle pickup in a reverse-wind configuration so you get noise cancellation in positions 2 and 4 on the 5-way pickup selector. These are the same pickups used in the Stevie Ray signature guitar.
Another great feature of the American Special Stratocaster is the Greasebucket tone control. This tone control will roll of high frequencies without adding bass frequencies. This is good because standard tone controls on overwound pickups tend to get very boomy when the highs are rolled off.
There are a couple things I don’t like about the new American Special Stratocaster. I really hate the vintage style 6-point synchronized tremolo. I’ve never been able to keep a 6-point in tune very well. The American Deluxe Stratocaster has the silky smooth 2-point tremelo which is a much better tremolo. I wish they would have put it on the American Special Stratocaster. I also don’t like the bent steel bridge pieces that hold the strings at the tremolo. I much prefer the solid block steel bridge pieces found on the American Deluxe.
Another thing I really don’t like about the American Special Stratocaster package is the fact that you only get a padded gig-bag with your guitar. Gig bags are better than having no protection at all but they’re a poor substitute for a good hard case. Just remember that you should treat your guitar in a gig bag like it wasn’t in a gig bag at all.
Overall though, I’m very pleased with the new American Deluxe Stratocaster. It’s an excellent bargain for an American made Stratocaster. Kudos to Fender for bringing us a more affordable, quality instrument.
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Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster
Welcome to Deluxe Guitar, a website dedicated to the Fender American made Stratocaster. On this site I’ll be discussing the entire line of Fender’s american made Stratocaster series. My favorite is the same guitar I use live, the Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster. I’ll be talking about the American Deluxe Stratocaster quite a bit since that’s my main guitar. But, I’ll also be discussing the entire American line of the Fender Strat.
I will also be discussing other guitars both american made and others. I’ll mainly be discussing these guitars and how they compare to the Stratocaster. There are some other great guitars out there and I’ll be taking about those as well. Feel free to comment on anything you see posted here and join in the community. I welcome all opinions. By they way, my name is Matt Rushton and I’m the author of DeluxeGuitar.com.