Inspired by fishing trips that H.E.R. took with her father, Kenny, the Blue Marlin finish is sure to be a hit with the seafaring six-stringer out there, giving the Strat a polychromatic look that changes in colour as the angle of the light changes when hitting the body.
All the fundamentals are the same. The Mexican-made electric guitar features a solid alder body, a bolt-on one-piece maple neck and 9.5” radius maple fingerboard that is inlaid with abalone dots. The anodized aluminum pickguard is present and correct and looks the bee's knees with that finish.
Indeed, the H.E.R. Stratocaster might be a 21st-century signature guitar but it is very much of the 20th century.
The neck is carved into what Fender describes as a mid-'60s C profile. The radius, the neck shape and the 21 vintage-tall frets should lend it a classic feel; thin at the first fret, filling out towards the 12th. Its vintage-style six-point tremolo is easily adjusted.
When her signature Strat was first launched in April 2021, H.E.R. credited her dad for introducing her to the brand. And she describes having a second signature model as a "pinch me" moment.
“I distinctly remember my father teaching me how to play my first blues scale on a Fender mini black-and-white Stratocaster,” said H.E.R. “Filming this interview with him, reflecting on my musical journey, and the development of my second signature Fender guitar has been a surreal ‘pinch me’ moment.
“I designed my Limited Edition Stratocaster guitar with a colour, shape and sound that is 100 per cent my own so that young women and players from all backgrounds feel inspired to pick up this guitar, tap into their thoughts and create amazing music.”
The real signature appointment is the finish; this is an instrument that any Strat fan would want to audition. Only the engraved neck plate betrays this as an artist series model.
As with the regular H.E.R. signature Strat, we have a trio of Vintage Noiseless Strat single-coil pickups, which promise all the same tasting notes (bell-like chime, spank, bite) as you would want from an old-school Strat, just with none of the 60-cycle hum.
Controlling these there is a five-way blade style pickup selector switch, a master volume pot, plus tone for the neck and middle pickups, and a tone pot for the bridge pickup.
The body is finished in gloss poly, the neck in satin. The scale length is as you would expect, 25.5”, and there is a synthetic bone nut.
The bad news is, it’s limited to production in 2023 only. The good news is there's plenty of time to get get one, or the regular established H.E.R. Strat, which looks hard to beat in one of the all-time great Fender finishes, Chrome Glow.
Priced £1,199 / $1,349, the limited edition H.E.R. Stratocaster is available now. Head over to Fender for more details.