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Fender American Special Stratocaster - Surf Green Reviews

5.0 stars based on 21 customer reviews
  • from December 8, 2015


    Been playing over 30 years, American Standard Strat for the last 20, bought and love this guitar. Can't tell any difference in play ability vs my Standard Strat, very smooth and easy to play. Like the look of the head stock and tone of the Texas Special pickups. Great guitar, if you're on the fence just PULL THE TRIGGER!!!!

  • from Bakersfield, CA November 26, 2015Music Background:

    Great guitar

    So this is my fourth guitar I've purchased from Sweetwater, and I figure I should finally write a review - if for no other reason than Mike Baldonado deserves a big "Up The Irons!" He's been great every time. I have also purchased two amps from these guys and couldn't be happier. On to the guitar:

    Arrived in perfect condition. The surf green is beautiful. The action, intonation, fret edges, etc., were all great. The guitar looks and feels like an expensive guitar. I really love the CBS headstock. At first I thought it might be TOO big, but that quickly changed. It's awesome.

    I've had a couple of Strats in the past, one Squier and one Highway One. I liked them fine but was never a fan of the tremolo system. All my other guitars have hardtails. I really wanted a hardtail strat but they hardly make any and I saw a ton of instructions online how to alter one anyway. I "decked the bridge" on this, meaning I added a couple of trem springs and tightened the claw all the way in. Now it's a hardtail! It took me a while to get the action adjusted back right and eliminate the fret buzz, but once I did it is a dream. I also added strap locks because I've dropped guitars in the past and it's a heart attack moment.

    I play mostly through my Marshall DSL40CST and it sounds amazing. I can sound exactly like SRV, Pearl Jam, and most of all Ritchie Blackmore. Well, the tone anyway. I am still discovering different sounds everyday with it. It's a fun guitar to play. It's got a little wider nut that typical Strats and that makes it easier on my fat little sausage fingers.

    Once again a big thanks to Mike Baldonado. He's called me after every purchase to see how things are. Unfortunately I work crazy rotating hours and have only actually talked to him like twice. So Mike, if you read this, everything's great!

  • from Michigan August 24, 2015

    Excellent Guitar, Excellent store!!

    I purchased this guitar as an upgrade from a MIM Strat, and I absolutely love it! The satin finish on the neck is so much nicer than the gloss on the old MIM. Love the color, and the large headstock. The set up from Sweetwater was spot on. Nice to just pull the guitar out of the box and go to town! It came packaged well, and a bag of candy!! Thanks to the wonderful folks at Sweetwater. They are the standard for how a store should be run!!

  • from Wichita Falls June 12, 2015

    Surf Green American Special Strat

    My go-to guitar these days. In-tune and set up perfectly out of the box. Arrived in a jiffy. Love the color and 70's style head stock. Plays like a dream and has excellent tones both clean and overdriven. Jace from Sweetwater was very pleasant when he called to make sure everything had arrived on time and was in excellent condition. Could not be happier with the Surf Green American Special Stratocaster! My next guitar purchase will certainly be from the ladies and gentlemen at sweetwater.com due to their remarkable customer service.

  • from Maryland April 9, 2015Music Background:
    Metal, Blues,Classical, Folk

    Awesome guitar

    Amazing guitar, pure Fender awesome tone. I can't put it down. I don't even wanna go to work. The guitar is finely made if you're looking to crossover to the fender side this is it. The Sweetwater team was the best, fast and professional I highly recommend them, specially Linsey for taking care of me from the get go.. I got my guitar in about 3 days or less I think. Very fast. Perfect set up and intonation right out of the box. I am very happy, I get lost in it. Buy it it's an amazing guitar. Thanks Sweetwater.

  • from Ohio November 13, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Hobbyist

    Fantastic American Made Tone

    This guitar is everything you already know a strat to be AND is American Made quality at a more affordable price.
    I mean, being an American worker, I prefer things made by American workers.
    This guitar is beyond super-nice. If you are wanting the strat tone, you will love this one.

  • from Jersey City, NJ September 2, 2014

    Fender American Special - Surf Green

    I absolutely love this guitar! When it comes to a Strat, I had two desires.....I wanted it to be American made, and I really wanted the larger style headstock (always a favorite of mine). I wouldn't have looked at the Surf Green normally, but when Ryan from Sweetwater pointed it out to me, I kept looking at it and decided it was what I wanted. But when it showed up at my house, I KNEW I had make the right choice. It's STUNNINGLY beautiful!! That's not an overstatement. Plugging it in only reinforced what a great decision this guitar was. It has a beautifully warm clean tone, the PERFECT overdriven tone that you'd expect from Fender, and most surprisingly, really screams when the gain is turned up. I couldn't be happier. Suddenly, it's the most versatile instrument in my collection! You cannot go wrong with the American Special!!

  • from United States February 18, 2014Music Background:
    Guitar Teacher, Hobbyist, Amateur guitar tech, Player

    The American Special Stratocaster

    It's been said, that a good instrument should inspire you. This is the case with this wonderfully made guitar. I came up with a nice beginning to a song hours upon playing it. I received this guitar from Sweetwater about 2 months ago. I pulled the guitar from it's gig bag and immediately grinned as I gripped it's maple neck and felt the frets against my palm, it just felt 'good' to me. The satin finish was smooth and sleek compared to my good looking yet cumbersome glossy neck I was used to. I checked it's tuning, I checked intonation, I measured neck relief, I checked the action; and everything was completely up to standard thanks to Sweetwater's 55 point evaluation. I changed string gauges and tweaked the truss a bit to my liking specifically. Then I plugged it in! Sorry, I don't own a 60's blackface yet, but this guitar sounds amazing through my two solid-state amps and friends 72' super reverb silverface amp. Rolling the tone knobs down takes you through different shades of tone. I plugged it into a high gain amp w/distortion and rolled down the bridge pickup to find it makes a fine heavy metal tone. I can't wait to hear what it does with a good old BF. I love everything about it. There were no flaws cosmetically and there was nothing that effected play-ability or tone. Of course I actually plugged it in before changing string sizes and it sounded amazing, but too thin for my taste. Upping the string gauge was a breeze and only required tightening the tremolo claw, made very simple thanks to Fender's design.I want to add one last thing; I just got through looking with Musicians Friend's ratings on this guitar, and it seems a couple of their clients got a lemon when ordering this guitar. Never fear, Sweetwater would never let those guitars out of their warehouses. My sales engineer was with me from step A to step B. If there is a problem, rest assured you will be taken care of. It will be fresh, from the moment you take it out of the box. I will order all of my online guitars through Sweetwater from this day on.

  • from Orange County, California January 27, 2014Music Background:

    Fender American Special Strat in Surf Green

    I waited a long time to buy an American Strat after playing around with a Squier. I couldn't be more pleased with my decision to get the American Special. It plays and feels great and the color is better than expected. I'd also like to thank the Sweetwater customer service, specifically Bart. From the time I order it online, he has been in touch with me to make sure everything with the delivery and guitar went smooth. Thanks again!!

  • from groveland,ma January 22, 2014Music Background:
    gigging musician

    fender american special strat in surf green

    outstanding guitar,great price,plays and sound terrific,nice surf green model.
    can't ask for much more than that!

  • from Washington, DC October 1, 2013Music Background:
    Amateur hobbyist

    Very Happy w American Special - Surf Green

    I've been playing acoustics (blues, folk, slide etc., mostly on my couch) for 40 years and prefer the tone of upper end Martins. I only just recently started goofing around w electrics and know next to nothing about pickups, amps, switches, pedals, etc. I do know what I like in tone and this strat has it. When I decided to buy an electric, I test drove dozens at local music stores, high and low end, new and used, solid/hollow body - everything you can think of, and I kept coming back to stratocasters. When Fender and Sweetwater offered this model, this color, at this price, I jumped and the Texas Special tone is everything I hoped for.
    A word about Sweetwater - The first guitar arrived w a small cosmetic issue, but Sweetwater techs Lindsey and Sara were responsive and helpful, even over a holiday weekend, to get out the replacement that arrived perfect, professionally set up and ready to play right out of the box. I could not be happier w the guitar or Sweetwater customer service. I wish every company I dealt w had policies and employees like Sweetwater.

  • from DFW, TX July 16, 2013Music Background:
    30 year guitarist, currentlyn solo original song recording at home.

    Surf Green - 100% American

    I own 25-30 guitars. Everything from a Line 6 Sampler to 2 PRSs; Gibson Standard Classic 496/500 to several Epi LPs; Parker Fly, Jackson DXMG and many Fenders. Strats and Teles. Each of these guitars has its strengths and some have minor weaknesses. At the end of the day: I'm a Strat man! To me, there's nothing more comfortable or well balanced than the iconic Fender Stratocaster. I have a 'made in Japan' model from the '80s, several MIMs and 3 American strats. They are ALL good! My favorite guitar has been a 2000 American Deluxe Strat in Crimson Red Transparent. She is butter smooth on the neck and curves in all the right places. She came with Vintage Noiseless PUPs (which I dropped into a MIM model-a GREAT feature with strats: you can change PUPs w/o any fuss). My Deluxe got a Lace Sensor set as I'm a huge David Gilmour fan. She is a sexy machine. My American Standard is in black with rosewood and completely stock. It provides the classic Strat tones when I want it and can shape the sound from there. The neck is really good, but IMO not dramatically different from my MIMs! I really love ALL of my Strats. But THIS guitar... I had a secret love for the sea foam green, but didn't care for the platforms that were that color. The American Standards had great specs: USA made, smooth hand rounded jumbo frets and Texas PUPs! Loved it, but I like variety and have a red guitar and a brown burst Tele, so the colors didn't fit--until this year!! OMG! An American Special in Surf Green AND a Fender sale AND Sweetwater offering 24 months 0% financing. If ever there was a guitar that I was to buy--this was it!! She is BEAUTIFUL! I know I've read that a lot about various guitars, but I haven't said it a lot. This green is SO much better in person. Call your local shop and go see one. Then come back and tell me if I'm lying! The 70's headstock is not as obtusley large as I feared. It actually fights the proportions of this guitar perfectly. "O.K.", I think. "She looks good". The knobs rotate and the switch is quiet. The body seems heavier than other Strats, but once seated or strapped-on it balances perfectly. Running my had over the neck, feeling the satin back and perfect fret ends, I could easily think it was my deluxe! So far so good. Now to plug her in. NO disappointments here! She's a screamer. I usually believe about half of what I read--but these Texas Specials are hot! It's like my Standard on steroids. The string harmonics are super ease to get. She drives my tubes like Ghost Rider. Gain at half and breakup with harmonic pick attack! Little more gain and she starts to growl. It's not your daddy's Strat. The breakup is not from the amp (well it is) but its because of the PUPs. I normally have to use a pedal to get this kind of belly growl. All things considered, you are missing one of the greatest guitars Fender has ever produced, IMHO, if you let this one get by. I've been playing for 30 years, through all kinds of amps and pedals. With most guitars you can get the sound you want from amp/pedals, software. You will not get THIS sound without this guitar! I've seen the other finishes and they're beautiful, but as I've shared, this was the holy grail instrument for me! Life is good and I am very blessed! Thank you Sweetwater! p.s. this shipment was UPS and delayed due to 'train derailment'. I'd never seen that before. But she arrived safe and sound in perfect condition, well packed and set-up!

  • from South Carolina, USA June 25, 2013Music Background:
    Church Praise Band Guitarist

    Great Looking, Great Sounding & Affordable American-Made Strat

    Just received my Fender American Special Strat (Candy Apple Red) from Sweetwater and I have to say I really love this guitar.

    Although there was nothing wrong with the tuners I decided to swap the stock tuners out with some locking Fender tuners but other than that the guitar was sounds really great right out of the box and this was just a personal preference for me.

    The Sweetwater setup is great and really is reason enough to persuade me to purchase all of my online guitars here in the future. Even though I can setup a Strat myself it is great to have the guitar arrive already playable with no buzzing frets, etc., so only a few minor tweaks have to be made.

    The only con that I can point out is that the gig bag that comes with the guitar is quite flimsy. I understand that Fender had to do this to cut some costs to make this guitar more affordable and I certainly don't blame them for that. If you don't have an extra hardshell case just plan on budgeting for one so you can keep this beauty in the best possible shape.

    I personally like the 70s style headstock on this guitar since it is quite different from my other strats and I really like the sound of this guitar. It is definately a keeper so if you're in the market for a great American-made strat and are on a budget this is really a great guitar and with Sweetwater's great customer service you can't go wrong.

  • from Waynesburg Pa. June 5, 2013Music Background:
    Hobbyist , Play the bars on weekends.

    Fender American Special Strat (CAR)

    I already owned the other two American Special Strats with maple necks so I guessed I might as well finish the trio. My wife is actually the one who liked this color I figure it will grow on me , The guitar arrived the next day , was set up perfect and played great right out of the box, I pulled the trem down flat tuned a half step down and played the heck out of it for an hour. Once again my thanks go out to the Sweetwater staff , you are the best and we love to do business with you. Keep up the great work. I would recommend this guitar to anyone in the market for a new guitar.

  • from Waynesburg Pa. May 3, 2013Music Background:
    Hobbyist , play the bars on weekends

    Fender American Special Stratocaster ( Surf Green )

    I love everything about Fender Stratocasters , I have always wanted one in this color and now I have one. Everything about this guitar is perfect and what I expect from Fender. Once again I must tip my hat to both Fender and the wonderful people at Sweetwater , The staff at Sweetwater always do a great job and take care of customers in a way that alot of other companies just don't. I can be difficult to deal with but the wonderful staff at Sweetwater take it in stride and continue to treat you right. The guitar was set up perfect , looks great and plays great . Again my thanks to all of you .I would tell anyone looking to buy a new guitar that they can't go wrong with this product.

  • from Waynesburg Pa March 24, 2013Music Background:
    Hobbyist play the bars on weekends

    Fender American Special Stratocaster (2-Tone Sunburst)

    What a great guitar for the price, With money being tight for most of us these days I must say it was a treat to find that Fender has given us something to feel better about . The guitar that I picked out looked very nice , I had worries that the materials used in this series would be less than good .Plays great sounds great feels nice and looks like a top notch instrument. I would highly recommend this guitar to anybody in the market .If you are like me it may take a few jam sessions to get the amp and guitar tones dialed in , the texas special pickups sound great clean and gritty but it took me a few days to get that heavier sound I wanted. The best thing about this purchase was the people at Sweetwater, it was a surprise to find that they actually set their guitars up before they ship them mine arrived set up perfect right out of the box. A quick tune of the strings and I put it through its paces.I am waiting for the HSS 3-tone Sunburst to get in stock so I can buy one of them as well.My thanks to the staff at Sweetwater I think that I have found my new guitar shop and will do the bulk of my business with them .

  • from Georgia February 8, 2013Music Background:
    Active musician

    Great guitar

    Checked around for a couple of months on where to purchase this strat. I have been a Sweetwater customer for a number of years and still find after checking out other sites, Sweetwater continues to provide excellent service, free speedy shipping and the best price around. Their customer service cannot be beat. As far as the guitar goes, it's an American Strat...

  • from pittsburgh August 27, 2014Music Background:

    Surf's Up!

    First of all want to give a special thanks to Phil S from the Sweetwater crew for taking the time to answer questions and get my new Surf Green Strat in solid working order. The guitar is great and certainly has plant of tonal versatility. And the color.......better in person! Love the maple neck and oversized headstock! Too bad my son has already taken this over as his favorite axe.

  • from Pennsylvania October 4, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    fender American Special Strat

    This is a great guitar. The build-quality and finish are fantastic. It covers all the bonafide Strat tones you'd expect and it plays beautifully. Everything about this guitar is cool and I especially like the 70's style headstock. My local music stores didn't have this model in stock and I wasn't able to try it before buying it so, I decided to purchase it after researching the reviews. The icing on the cake is the Sweetwater 55 point inspection....it's for real! Straight out of the box, this guitar was ready to play. I'm very pleased with this purchase and Sweetwater's attention to detail.

  • from tx February 15, 2013Music Background:
    Been playing for over 40 yerars

    Beautiful Guitar

    This is a berautiful guitar, received in perfect condition. Love the neck action and TX special pick-ups. Would highly recommend this guitar to anyone who is looking for a good all around guitar, fun to play and beutiful sound quality.

  • from Seattle, Wa USA January 22, 2013Music Background:

    Candy American Special Strat

    Love the throaty Texas Special pickups, without effects I get that SRV sound off my AC 30. The neck takes a bit to get used to, play a lot on my Tele and HSS Strat with the normal fret and neck size. Can hear a real difference in the sustain, most likely do to neck and headstock. It stays in tune really great, even after playing with the trem bar. Need to restring, I like the sound of elixir's and most likley stay with the .009's (light's). Yes, this guitar neck is made to bend notes, and with those pickups, the blues are better!
    Only thing that did upset me is that there are 2 dust specks on the neck behind the 3rd fret, for the money you'd think the QC was better on the American Strat, my HSS is a Mexi and no flaws. You just feel them but in no way does it effect the playability. (thus only 4.5) For your money you can't find a better American made guitar!
    Last of all my buddy who is a pro-musician, was very impressed, he couldn't believe the price, and I had to pry it away from him. He plays on an older custom shop Strat and really been playing as a pro for 40 years, that says it all for me!

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