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When did Fender first release HSS and HH Strats?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Brucifer85, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. Brucifer85

    Brucifer85 Strat-Talk Member

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    Hey.

    As the title says.

    Also why isn't there much talk on forums about HH Strats?

    I see mostly love for SSS and HSS.

    Thanks.
     
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  2. Tone Guru

    Tone Guru Senior Stratmaster

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    1984, under the name "Contemporary Stratocaster" made in Japan.

    As far as "talk" goes there's some traditionalism involved in the love for the single coil sound and appearance.
    Count me among that group.
     
  3. ashtray

    ashtray Strat-O-Master

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    ^^^ I think 1984 Japan is a good starting point for the Fender HSS, though some non-Fender companies were likely doing them a bit earlier. Probably late 70’s.

    Fender USA didn’t do HSS or HH until the 90’s.
     
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  4. John C

    John C Senior Stratmaster

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    Correct - just to build on this there were non-Fender companies doing it as far back as the mid-1970s (Schecter comes to mind - although they were predominantly a parts company until about 1983/84 when the pendulum swung to being predominantly a manufacturer of complete instruments). Of course the Strat (and the Tele as well) were such a modular thing that people had been modding them for years before any "production" Schecters might have made it out of Van Nuys.

    Fender went into humbuckers on the Tele during the 1970s - there was the HS Tele Custom, the HH Tele Deluxe, and the HH Tele Thinline that came out in 1973. But for Strats it wasn't until the MIJ Contemporary models in came out in 1984 - that is everywhere but in the USA; the Contemporary models didn't hit our shores until after FMIC purchased the company from CBS in early February 1985.

    If you want to split hairs in 1989 Fender started calling the HM Strat models "US HM Strats" - but they never put a "Made in USA" decal on the actual instruments; they just removed the "Made in Japan" decal that was present on the 1988 models. Fender has never "come clean" about the HMs; but the bodies and necks do have Fender Japan/FujiGen stamps on them. They would have been available in HSS, HH and HS (with a single Lace Sensor neck pickup) starting in 1989 (the single H model was 1988/MIJ only). There was also something called a "US Contemporary" model found on the price lists that was also HSS, also MIJ stamps, and had a figured top.

    The first USA "HSS" was probably the Strat Ultra in 1990 - of course the "humbucker" in that one was a "Dually Red" Lace Sensor - which was essentially 2 red logo Lace Sensors mounted as a humbucker (with a mini-toggle to select either or both "coils").

    For what most people consider an HSS and an HH Strat the 1996 "Hot Rodded American Standard" models were the first - that being the HSS Lone Star Strat (with 2 Texas Specials and a Duncan Pearly Gates Plus humbucker) and the HH Big Apple Strat (with 2 Duncan humbuckers - a '59 in the neck postion and the Pearly Gates Plus in the bridge postion). I haven't checked the old Fender price lists for these in a while - the Big Apple might have come out in 1997 instead of 1996.
     
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  5. ashtray

    ashtray Strat-O-Master

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    ^^^This guy knows his stuff!

    I have a Stencil Logo HM Strat that says “Made In Japan” at the base of the neck, right next to the “USA” neck plate. Go figure. I think the Stencil Logo came after the big colorful “Strat” logo models though. I have read conflicting information on the HM Strats.

    I also have a Contemp model with a Kahler Spyder that has no “Made In ____” print anywhere, but it is widely agreed that these were made in Japan. (I wanted to make mine an HH, but the body is actually routed SSS!)

    (I completed my “odd metal Fender Japan Strat* collection” with a Heartfield Talon w/ fin inlays - though that one is HSH.)

    Did the Fender Prodigy come out as HSS? I think that was ‘91 or so. Guitarist in one of my bands bought one new - before ‘93 - but might have been early ‘92. These said “Made in USA” if I recall, but there was some doubt to that claim.

    (* - I never completed the Tele side of that collection. I had an HH Contemp Tele with top mount Kahler, and have a pair of Acoustic Electric models from around ‘93 or so - one with steel strings, and one with nylon. I almost bought the thinline HMT with the double locking Floyd trem, but the price wasn’t right.)
     
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  6. CalicoSkies

    CalicoSkies Senior Stratmaster

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    I agree that there seems to be a lot of traditionalism on the forums. I tend to like the variability of options on a Strat though. I had a HH Strat for a little while, and I liked it, though I tended to prefer the tones from a single coil.. though the HH Strat I had was the Blacktop HH Strat, which had a 5-way switch that got some single-coil sounds using both pickups, which I liked. I bought a loaded pickguard with a pair of Seymour Duncan P-Rails for it, which offered even more pickup switching options..

    I think a HH Strat would be useful, since there are some songs that I think sound good with a HH, but I think a Strat is more comfortable than a Les Paul etc. I'd be curious to hear something close to a Les Paul/SG sound with a Strat (perhaps something like Joe Walsh's 'Rocky Mountain Way', etc.).
     
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  7. John C

    John C Senior Stratmaster

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    I totally forgot about the Prodigy models - they were close enough to Strat-shaped to be in the family. I think they also have the MIJ/MIM but marked USA thing going on.

    If we're going to extend things beyond just "pure Strat" models there was of course the Lead I (single H) in 1979 and Lead III (HH model) in 1981, and in 1982 the more-or-less Strat-shaped Bullet second series had both a single H and HH models.
     
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  8. ashtray

    ashtray Strat-O-Master

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    Bullets and Leads don’t count. ;) Next you’ll be counting Starcasters and Coronados! Where does it end?! Pandemonium! :p

    My ‘89 Squier II is HSS with no pickguard. :)
     
  9. Seymour Duncan

    Seymour Duncan Senior Stratmaster

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    My favorite are HH Strats. I like traditional ones, too, but given the option of which one to use live, HH wins out for me, even over HSS.
     
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  10. Brucifer85

    Brucifer85 Strat-Talk Member

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    Great info guys! Thanks!

    I'm still contemplating converting my one Strat into a HH with two SD 59s.
     
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  11. LarryBirdsFace

    LarryBirdsFace Strat-Talker

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    I'm fairly new to the Strat world, played a LP and a 339 for years. I think ultimately I'm going to go the HH option on my Strat. I love the way the Strat plays and feels, but I prefer the sounds of my 339 and LP. I don't expect it to be exactly the same but I like that style sound more.
     
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  12. muso.greg

    muso.greg Strat-Talker

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    A little eye candy for those who love the 1980s MIJ Fenders...

    A 1982 JV serial MIJ Fender Contemporary Series Squier ST652 with 2 Dragster humbuckers
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    http://brochures.yokochou.com/guitar-and-amp/fenderjapan/1983/en_05.html

    1985 MIJ Fender Contemporary Series Stratocaster ST556 with humbuckers
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    1985 MIJ Fender Contemporary Series Stratocaster ST756 with 2 Dragster humbuckers
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    1988 MIJ Fender The Strat with the Dimarzio Super Distortion as standard
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    1989 MIJ Fender Heartfield RR9 with a single (active) humbucker
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
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  13. muso.greg

    muso.greg Strat-Talker

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    Or a 1981 Fender Lead 1 with the Seth Lover humbucker...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Maybe Fender felt that "real" Stratocaster players didn't want humbuckers!?!
     
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  14. ProSonicLive

    ProSonicLive Senior Stratmaster

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    actually, Unless it is borrowed, You wont see me with an HSS strat. SSS or HH only. the reason is TOTALLY vain and not logical whatsoever. I think HSS looks like crap and wont play it EVEN THOUGH it would actually be the best setup for me. (I play hard Metal and Blues, often within an hours window) I do not often use a HB in the neck except for when I use both neck and bridge. Unlike with the strat where I almost never use the bridge. Yep...I am totally and unapologetically vain
     
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  15. Jinx_The_Lynx

    Jinx_The_Lynx Strat-Talker

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  16. ashtray

    ashtray Strat-O-Master

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    ^^^Wow, that ‘82 is interesting. I’m very familiar with the ‘85 Contemporary lineup, but haven’t seen an ‘82 before with 4 knobs and a very interesting string lock behind the nut. (I had one of those bar-squeeze nuts on an ‘85 “back in the day”.)
     
  17. Brucifer85

    Brucifer85 Strat-Talk Member

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    Hey. What are the switches for? Thanks.
     
  18. Brucifer85

    Brucifer85 Strat-Talk Member

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  19. Brucifer85

    Brucifer85 Strat-Talk Member

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    Even though the HSS setup does make sense I must agree with you.

    I'd actually quite fancy seeing some HS or SS Strats though. Anyone got?
     
  20. brians

    brians Senior Stratmaster

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    Seems like you your own worst enemy.
     
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