Fender US Lonestar Strat

ManicStratAttack

New Member!
Oct 19, 2022
4
Canada
Hello all! Recently, I purchased an original loaded pickguard from a 1997 US Lonestar Strat to put into my 1999 US Lonestar Strat. Many years ago, I stupidly sold the electronics and pickguard and wanted to put it back to stock.

After removing the electronics from the '99 and soldering in the replacement I noticed right away that the middle pickup wasn't lining up with the middle pickup rout in the guitar. I thought: Oh no! I've been screwed! However after looking at some photos online, it appears that in 1997 and 1998 Fender had the middle pickup in a different, non traditional location. So, as far as I am concerned, I need to get a proper pickguard that has the middle pickup in the correct location. Can anyone confirm that this is the case and can anyone tell me why on earth Fender would do that? Also, I'm wondering if anyone knows where I can buy the tort guard that Fender used on these guitars, as it is quite different looking when compared to the usual tort guard. I've attached a couple of photos for you to reference.

1. Here's a photo of the replacement guard sitting on the guitar with the middle pickup removed. You can see that it is about 1/4" +/- closer to the neck pickup.

Pickguard 1.jpg

2. Here's a photo of a traditional tort pickguard over top.

Pickguard 2.jpg

For reference, I had a trio of Fender Custom Shop '69's in the guitar and there wasn't any issue with the middle pickup. Note that my guitar has an HSH cavity route.

Here's some photos from Google.

1997

1997 Fender US Lonestar.jpg

1999

1999 Fender US Lonestar.jpg

Thanks!!!
 

John C

Most Honored Senior Member
Silver Member
Jul 17, 2012
8,510
Kansas City
I take it your 1999 Lone Star has the HSH routing? The earlier ones would have had the swimming pool rout; Fender made a "rolling change" from the swimming pool routing to the HSH routing across 1999.

So yes it's certainly possible that Fender had moved the middle pickup on the earlier Lone Stars because they weren't "locked in" to the "standard" middle position.
 

ManicStratAttack

New Member!
Oct 19, 2022
4
Canada
I take it your 1999 Lone Star has the HSH routing? The earlier ones would have had the swimming pool rout; Fender made a "rolling change" from the swimming pool routing to the HSH routing across 1999.

So yes it's certainly possible that Fender had moved the middle pickup on the earlier Lone Stars because they weren't "locked in" to the "standard" middle position.
Hi John. Yes, my guitar has the routing for the HSH configuration. I did read something somewhere where someone said that the earlier guitars in the series had the swimming pool route. Do you know if that was standard across the board on Fender Strats? I suppose that wouldn't have applied to the Vintage Reissue models and series though. Thanks for you reply.
 

ManicStratAttack

New Member!
Oct 19, 2022
4
Canada
That is very strange. If the pickup route is indeed different I believe you may need a custom pickguard
It is very strange. And when I realized what was going on, I was fuming mad.

I had considered going custom, but I think what I'll do in the meantime is get a black Fender guard with the HSS layout. The guard that was on there was a black SSS and I really like the black on Sunburst combo. However, I would love to get it back to stock. Thanks for your reply.
 

John C

Most Honored Senior Member
Silver Member
Jul 17, 2012
8,510
Kansas City
Hi John. Yes, my guitar has the routing for the HSH configuration. I did read something somewhere where someone said that the earlier guitars in the series had the swimming pool route. Do you know if that was standard across the board on Fender Strats? I suppose that wouldn't have applied to the Vintage Reissue models and series though. Thanks for you reply.

Fender used the swimming pool routing on American Standards from the time they were introduced (early production in late 1986, official introduction at the January 1987 NAMM show) until this essentially rolling change to the HSH routing during 1999. So Fender also used the swimming pool rout on Lace-sensor equipped Strat Plus, Strat Plus Deluxe and Strat Ultra models and anything else that was based on the American Standard - which included the "Hot Rodded" models: Lone Star, Roadhouse and Big Apple.

Other models such as the vintage reissues had the traditional 3 singe coil routs; Artist models would be routed based on what they were derived from - so the early Lace Sensor Jeff Becks had the swimming pool rout but an SRV, Malmsteen or Clapton would have individual routs (and of course the Clapton had an extra rout for the circuit card).

I think the Floyd Rose models were routed based on the pickups - so HSS or HH depending on how they were equipped from the factory but I could be wrong on them.

The Lace Sensor models were replaced by the original American Deluxe models in the spring of 1998, and the American Deluxes had the HSH routing. I'm fairly certain the American Deluxes were the first USA production Fenders to use the HSH routing. So after the American Deluxes went into production Fender made the change to HSH routing on the American Standards, but as I mentioned it was a rolling change during the year as they produced batches in various colors. So the American Series - which replaced the American Standards in July 2000 - also always had the HSH routing.
 

ManicStratAttack

New Member!
Oct 19, 2022
4
Canada
Fender used the swimming pool routing on American Standards from the time they were introduced (early production in late 1986, official introduction at the January 1987 NAMM show) until this essentially rolling change to the HSH routing during 1999. So Fender also used the swimming pool rout on Lace-sensor equipped Strat Plus, Strat Plus Deluxe and Strat Ultra models and anything else that was based on the American Standard - which included the "Hot Rodded" models: Lone Star, Roadhouse and Big Apple.

Other models such as the vintage reissues had the traditional 3 singe coil routs; Artist models would be routed based on what they were derived from - so the early Lace Sensor Jeff Becks had the swimming pool rout but an SRV, Malmsteen or Clapton would have individual routs (and of course the Clapton had an extra rout for the circuit card).

I think the Floyd Rose models were routed based on the pickups - so HSS or HH depending on how they were equipped from the factory but I could be wrong on them.

The Lace Sensor models were replaced by the original American Deluxe models in the spring of 1998, and the American Deluxes had the HSH routing. I'm fairly certain the American Deluxes were the first USA production Fenders to use the HSH routing. So after the American Deluxes went into production Fender made the change to HSH routing on the American Standards, but as I mentioned it was a rolling change during the year as they produced batches in various colors. So the American Series - which replaced the American Standards in July 2000 - also always had the HSH routing.
Wow! That's a history lesson. Thanks for all the great information and thanks for all the input from everybody. Live and learn.
 


Top