Fender Blacktop Stratocaster HSH

A rock beast that now has a gentler side

We had a great deal of time for the Blacktop Strat HH. A time-proven chassis, updated with younger players in mind via a pair of rocking humbuckers.

The only difference between the HH model and the new HSH is the 'S' bit, the single-coil that nestles between the two humbuckers. And rather than a Strat single-coil, we get a chrome-encased Tele neck job.

The Blacktop HSH crams all of its goodies onto an alder body. Like the other three amigos in this round-up, this well-finished guitar's bolt-on maple neck has a slim 'C' profile and 22 large frets, which feel great for string bending. Tuning stability from the Strat vibrato is thankfully well up to snuff, just like the Modern Player Strat HSS.

Sounds

The first generation Blacktop Strat HH was primed to be an out-and-out rock machine. Still going strong, it won plenty of fans thanks to its thick humbucker tones, glassy split coil options and first-class playability.

The HSH version offers more of the same. The bruising bridge humbucker still provides the rock and metal goods, while the combination of the split- bridge/split-neck and middle pickup is great for classic rock and R&B rhythm, but the middle pickup sounds damn fine running solo.

Strum hard à la Townshend in this position through a clean channel for big-sounding chords with an almost acoustic-like quality.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

Well-made. Tonal range from the single-coil.

Cons

Those knobs still don't look right.

Verdict

A rock beast now has a gentler side. That extra pickup offers a lot more options too.

Pickup Configuration

HSH

Scale Length (Inches)

25.5

No. of Frets

22

Country of Origin

Mexico

Pickguard

Yes

Bridge

Chrome Strat 'Synchronized' vibrato

Available Controls

2 x Tone 5 Way Pick Up Selector Volume

String Spacing

52

Neck Material

Maple

Nut

Synthetic bone/42mm

Fingerboard Radius

241mm

Scale Length (mm)

648

Tremolo

Yes

Pickup Type

Two chrome-cover Blacktop humbuckers (bridge and neck), Telecaster single-coil (middle)

Guitar Body Material

Alder

Bolt-on Neck

Yes

Body Style

Stratocaster

Available Finish

Titanium Silver (as reviewed), Black

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.