Fender American Ultra?

fos1

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 7, 2018
2,272
Texas
I probably have but one guitar purchase left. I have been searching for months trying to decide my best choice. I definitely want an SSS Strat. I am considering a Fender American Ultra. The only thing I am not pretty sure about is the "noiseless" pups.

Anyone have experience with the Ultra?

It will be a major expenditure now that I am retired.
 

3bolt79

Dr. Stratster
Oct 16, 2018
13,849
Oregon
I like the Performer with the Yosemite pups.

I like the Ultra with the noiseless pups.

I run like hell from the professional, as I hate the pups, and the skinny frets.

If I were to buy another new Fender, it would probably be the ultra. Yes they are expensive, but they are comparable to a Suhr feature wise, and are about 40% less expensive, at least compared to the Suhr’s I’ve ordered in the past.
 

ido1957

Senior Stratmaster
Oct 13, 2014
3,141
Canada
I have the N4's in my Elite. The S1 switch and volume/tone controls make a fairly significant difference depending on how you set them. The volume also impacts the tone. Tough to really show what they do, and your amp (and pedals) always impact the overall sound.

Because a lot of folks poopoo the N4's, I would strongly suggest you try one out in person and compare it to another current Strat and see whether the N4's agree with you or not, or you prefer the "regular" pickups.
Nobody's taste in tone is identical so try before you buy - especially an Ultra which is pricey.

I play all sorts of stuff from country to rock to pop. It gets me by but I'm not a holy grail of tone chaser. It's set and forget depending on the song (except frequent volume control use).
 

rocknrollrich

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 8, 2016
6,927
philadelphia
Noiseless pickups sound great, unless you prefer noise.
They "might" have a little sparkle than traditional single coils (I haven't tried the current version of noiseless), but they are very strat like to my ears

Edit:
Less. A little less sparkle. That's what I thought I typed lol
 
Last edited:

Henry2

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 26, 2020
69
Colorado
I have the Ultra with SSS noiseless. It's a great guitar overall, and the pups are a good fit. I played one show with it back in October, definitely no noise problems :) I play the McCready parts in a Pearl Jam tribute, and this guitar is a good option to use across all their songs (even though I did bring an ESP LP for the Drop-D songs). It's the only guitar with single coils I have so I can't compare it directly, but it definitely cuts through a mix better than any of my humbucker guitars.

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John C

Most Honored Senior Member
Silver Member
Jul 17, 2012
7,927
Kansas City
I've played a couple of American Ultras in stores; I'll be honest the neck shape doesn't agree with me so I didn't really give the pickups a full run-through. But they sounded good to me, probably a little closer to vintage than the N3s or N4s of previous generations.

For the American Ultras they have changed what the S-1 switch does, greatly simplifying the wiring. On the previous models that had it (starting with the 2nd generation American Deluxes in 2004 and running through the end of the American Elite models in November 2019) you accessed 5 additional wiring schemes, which as @ido1957 says can really vary in volume. On the American Ultra SSS Strats the S-1 combines the neck and bridge pickups in position 1 (normally bridge only) and gives you all 3 pickups in position 2 (normally bridge + middle). On the American Ultra HSS Strats the S-1 just splits the bridge humbucker (for positions 1 and 2).
 

fos1

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 7, 2018
2,272
Texas
The reviews sound positive. The YT videos I have seen also seem good but then, just about everything on YT sounds good. ;)

I believe there is still a GC in Houston. I'll take a drive there next week and see if they have one.

Thank you for all of the responses.

Jeff
 

fos1

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 7, 2018
2,272
Texas
What type of truss rod adjuster does the Ultra have? It is difficult to tell from the available photographs. I have never had issues with truss rod adjustments. I am just curious.
 

diogoguitar

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 2, 2012
2,252
Northwest US
I wouldn't compare a Fender American Ultra to the Suhr.
As much as I would love to own the Ultra, this one doesn't come with ss frets. Big difference.

Also, I don't know what kind of magic Suhr does on the back of the neck. The smoothness/fast feel something I've never felt before (I've owned fender am std, custom shop, gibsons, jackson...)
 

John C

Most Honored Senior Member
Silver Member
Jul 17, 2012
7,927
Kansas City
What type of truss rod adjuster does the Ultra have? It is difficult to tell from the available photographs. I have never had issues with truss rod adjustments. I am just curious.

Standard Fender size Allen, I have an Ultra and and its the same size as my AM Std and AM Pro Strats.

Just to add to @gentlyweeping's post - it's the standard "modern USA" truss rod adjustment found at the headstock; there is a hole in a walnut plug for the allen wrench.
 


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