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A Cult Classic Reborn: Inside the Fender HM Strat
Get the low down on this high-performance 'super Strat.'
In the late ‘80s, heavy metal slayed the airwaves. It was a reign of searing solos, shout along hooks and spandex swagger. Hair was big, production was glossy and bands like Poison, Mötley Crüe and Van Halen were ditching the Sunset Strip for the arena circuit. Every band had its shredding lead guitarist — and every shredder had their “superstrat.”
Stripped of their pickguards and loaded with exotic tremolo systems and high-gain humbuckers, these guitars were made to be played loud and fast. Some were homemade parts Strats, hot-rodded in garages across America. Others were mass-produced impersonators. In 1988, Fender introduced the first model worthy of its headstock: the HM Strat.
Crafted at the Fujigen factory in Japan – with a U.S. version offered around 1990 – the HM (short for Heavy Metal) Strat was a radical departure from Fender’s classic designs. It featured a basswood body, slim neck, 24 oversized frets, locking tremolo and our first sculpted neck joint for easier access to the highest frets – a feature that’s now standard on American Ultra and American Acoustasonic guitars. A stylized STRAT® logo – the first use of the abbreviation on a Fender – served as the crowning touch.
Now, we’re bringing the HM Strat back. Spec’d to its original high-performance features and even built in the same factory, the limited-edition reissue features a basswood body, narrow “C” neck with a unique 25.1” scale and 17” radius maple or rosewood fingerboard. 24 Jumbo frets extend the model’s high-end reach, inviting nearly effortless bends and technical fretwork. The Floyd Rose® Double-Locking Tremolo keeps everything perfectly in-tune – even after the most extreme dive-bombs – while the high-gain HSS pickup configuration delivers hot bridge humbucking tones that can be split for more traditional Strat sounds.
Available in four ‘80s-approved Day-Glo shades – Flash Pink, Frozen Yellow, Ice Blue and Bright White – and finished with the requisite black headcap, STRAT® silk logo and body-color-matching brushstroke, it’s a cult classic reborn.
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