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Fender Highway 1 Stratocaster

This is a Strat that, from what I understand, uses the MIM Strat components, but assembled in the U.S.

Price: $4 to $411 at 16 stores
Searched Fender Highway 1 Stratocaster in Reviews


A reliable, well made, workhorse Stratocaster featured

Sound I have the HSS version of this, from way back when they were first introduced in 2003 or so. The neck and middle pickups seem to be your standard fare, Mexican made single coils. The bridge humbucker is of Fender's "Atomic" variety. I don't know if they make it anymore.

The single coils sound great... exactly like a Strat should. Of course, not being stacked or anything, they're hella noisy with even a bit of distortion, but that's what a noise gate is for.

The Atomic humbucker is alright. High output than I'd originally expected, but it's not exactly a mega-output Dimarzio or something.

Action, Fit, & Finish I was told the wooden bits of the guitar are American made, but the hardware and electronics are all Mexican. Comparing the quality of the maple on the neck to a Standard Mexican Strat, I'd believe it. The quality of the rosewood fretboard is also noticeably above typical Mexican Strat standards, from what I can tell.

The body itself is alder, in typical Strat fashion. The finish on it, however, is of a very thin, sort of satin variety. It chips off pretty easily, but the guitar is VERY resonant as a result. Playing it un-amped is almost like playing an acoustic. And, if you want a worn-in, vintage looking guitar, the finish will certainly accommodate you.

Reliability & Durability I can depend on most of the guitar. The vintage style bridge, however... I'm not a fan. The saddles on it are pretty bad and not very easy to adjust for intonation. Getting this thing to hold a tune is tough. If you leave the whammy bar alone, it's alright, though. I'd suggest blocking the term if you don't intend to use it. If you do, maybe upgrade the saddles and have a guitar wizard give it a once over.

That and the thin paint aside, it's a solid guitar.

Customer Support No idea.

Liked about it - Great single coil Strat sound!
- High quality wood
- Plays like a Strat (ie. well)
- 22 frets, as opposed to 21.

Didn't like - The vintage tremolo.
- The bridge humbucker is alright, but would benefit from an upgrade.

Overall satisfaction:

By floobie
Sep 27, 2011
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Pretty sweet axe for the money. featured

Sound I love the sound of the neck and middle pick-ups when they are clean but the bridge is very shrill. I think the neck pick-up is really sweet sounding and decently fat when soloing with a lot of distortion. I never really use the middle pick-up alone I always have the neck on with it because it's very weak. I hated the bridge pick-up when it was dirty or clean. It's just way too much treble and no low end. I swapped it out for a little Screamin Demon and now it sounds great. The wood has a very nice tone it's well rounded and full. With the right pick-up configuration you can probably play any style with this guitar.

Action, Fit, & Finish The action was pretty good when I got it. It was a little higher than I like it for shredding but it was good for a factory job. Perfectly set up for blues and clean playing. The guitar had no flaws finish wise and looked great. The pick-ups were put dead in the middle of there screws. Half way in half way out.

Reliability & Durability I have had the guitar for 3 years and never had any problems. I have gigged this axe many times and it worked well. The guitar stands up to abuse very well playing wise. The nitro cellulose lacquer finish is still in good shape but it will wear off and age prematurely as it is supposed to do. The finish is made to let the guitar breathe which is a good thing and a bad thing. If you play a lot of smoking clubs the guitar will darken quickly.

Customer Support I've never dealt with them . I never had any problems.

Liked about it The sound is awesome clean and pretty good dirty but as I said I changed the bridge pick-up. The guitar is very comfortable to play sitting or standing and not too heavy or too light. It's great for gigging.

Didn't like Okay this is a bit of a rant. I hated the old style vintage bridge saddles. There are twelve allen bolts that will just drive your picking hand crazy if you're used to a flat bridge or a floating trem. I changed them for flat saddles and the problem was alleviated. Next....This is a big problem. The tuning machines are terrible! They're really bad and this is where Fender went really cheap. They say fender on them but I think they're the cheapest machines I have ever played with. One or two good bends and the guitar goes right out of tune. I have friends who own this guitar and they say there machines aren't that bad but I hated them. I changed the machines out for a set of locking Gotoh's and once again the problem was alleviated. I would rate this guitar a five but sub par machines and the bridge saddles are the reason I wont. I put another $250.00 into this guitar before I loved it for a pick-up the tuners and new bridge saddles. It's worth the money though because you really can't get anything new that's this good for $600.00 bucks. Unless it's an Ibanez!!!!!!

Overall satisfaction:

By rglover
Jul 11, 2011
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definetly the best strat for the money. featured

Sound This is the only sound clip of nthe guitar.It captures lot of the quality anway enjoy.

fender highway one.mp3

Action, Fit, & Finish As always i set it up as low as possible , thats the way i like it.
It does go out of tune if you use the whammy bar , its a strat not an Ibanez.
I like the cheap paint job with the thin lacquer it gets vintage in a hurry and thats what a strat is supposed to look like , it's classic.

The guitar has the bell sound time 10 that we most look for in a strat.
The first day i got it i thought i was Edge just doing delay stuff all day long , was alot of fun.
It was truly a great guitar , but i sold it. Dumb of me i thought i wanted a different more high end strat and was wrong.

The one i had had the small headstock like the newer ones before they mad the newer model highway one with the giant hippy headstock, so ugly to me.I think it was a 2002 , i'm pretty sure.

The pickups where great for blues country and the U2 type sound and great for anything clean tone.
The guitar will not satisfy your need for rock , expesially hard driven rock at all.

Reliability & Durability The guitar probably would have last forever it was 7 years old when i got it and worked perfectly.
The neck had the hardwood stripe for durability and keeps it from warping up.

The finish is super undurable and the clear comes off easily , but thats what i like about iot the most.

The thing will now be reliable when using the tremelo at all , why they use a tremelo i'll never know , it's not a floyd rose it should be a hardtail with no springs.

Customer Support why? the guitar is perfect the way it is and would never fail me other than tuning stability with the whammy bar.

Liked about it Obviuosly i loved the price, i got it for 400.00 on the bay.
Thats a steal for a real american fender strat.I wish i would have kept it it blew away my deluxe vneck strat . That thing had no home it was too weak for hard rock and too strong for a real fender sound it was lost.

The highway one gives a great classic strat sound for a very good price.
The only reason they are less expensive is because they are fender entry level guitar , and why?
Only because they have an inferior finish that is super thin , but again thats what a real fender fan wants , a beatup petina on their strat.

The sound is really convincing of a vintage strat and has bells for days.
I f your looking for a great fender clean tone strat look no further this is it and ill regret selling mine forever.

Didn't like I thought i wanted a better strat because the higher end ones had a different tremelo , and better paint.
I was stupid this is the guitar i was looking for and should have kept it, so the only things i thought i didn't like where actually the things i liked about it and should have compared before i sold mine.

One more thing it needed the case that said fender , because it deserved it .

Overall satisfaction:

By andrewsfury
Jun 10, 2010
Last updated: June 13, 2010
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Fender Highway One Stratocaster featured

Sound As advertised, this guitar has hotter pickups, and the Greasebucket circuit. The sound is what you expect from a Strat. The cleans get all jangly like you expect, and the dirties get quite nasty indeed. The Greasebucket circuit has the tone knobs going to the Neck and Bridge pickups, and allows high end roll off without the typical volume drop.

This guitar has the traditional bright, full Strat sounds, with the nasty edge when driven.

Action, Fit, & Finish I was at the store when it arrived from FedX...I got to unbox and inspect myself. After a brief test drive at the store, I took it home.
The guitar was perfect right out of the box. Action: perfect, not a thing loose, and played perfectly, like it was set up for me already.
The factory strings are still on the guitar. I'm guessing they used a set of Bullets. Though I discounted those strings years ago, I have new respect for them. They still feel fresh months later.

The real gem about this guitar is the Nitrocellulose finish. Just like a Les Paul, this one has Nitro, and I'm already beginning to see the pre-relic smooth spots in the traditional wear areas.

And, add in Jumbo Frets. As with most Strats, you end up having to milk out the sound/dynamics you want, with the jumbo frets, it's as if this was made 100% easier. My first Strat with Jumbo's, and I may never go back to the traditional medium fret Fender has used....

After letting the guitar settle in for a few weeks, I had to adjust one string's height, every so slightly, it happened to be the 3rd string.

The nut does trap strings like most Strats. A bit of Graphite, and viola. Oh, get your graphite from a locksmith :) I do play Heart tho, so yes, I use my Strat tremolo on occasion.

Pickups were set perfectly.
No finish Flaws. Nitrocellulose is meant to be thin, and semi-delicate. It's my preferred guitar finish, which to me, was a major reason I looked at this Strat in the first place. Nitro will wear, and eventually, the guitar will relic on it's own, and in a short amount of time.

Reliability & Durability Six months on the nose. No problems, still 100% perfect. I would gig with this guitar. It's as dependable as any other Strat.

Customer Support Haven't needed it.

Liked about it Nitrocellulose Finish
Jumbo Frets
22 Fret American Made at a great price.

Didn't like Haven't found anything yet.

Overall satisfaction:

By Moander
Jun 04, 2010
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A great workman's axe featured

Sound This guitar, despite having a fairly hot humbucker in the bridge, keeps that glassiness that alder Strats seem to have. Part of the reason is that I have the bridge set up to float like the classic Fender setup. There is a good, lively midrange in any position. I rarely if ever use the middle pickup, but the neck pickup has that classic Strat tone, while the bridge position is a lot hotter and sounds lovely. Part of this might be due to the thin nitro lacquer finish -- the guitar just rings.

One flaw though -- it seems pretty noisy, and picks up a lot of interference. The joys of single coil pickups.

I have also tried with the bridge hard against the body, and this increases sustain considerably, but at the sacrifice of that sweetness.

Action, Fit, & Finish The guitar had the classic Fender factory setup. I immediately set it up upon bringing it home. I like a slightly higher action than some, so there was very little to do on that front -- I just set the intonation and went with it.

I could see no flaws in the guitar's manufacture. they generally do things pretty well at the Fender US factory. This is no exception.

As for playability, the neck is a modern C shaped maple neck with a 9.5-inch radius, jumbo frets ( though not as "jumbo" as the current models) and a satin-finish neck. I like the neck a lot -- you can really dig in on those bends, and still get great playability. Plus it has the super-cool big headstock!

As well, the body, for me, is ergonomically perfect. It just fits. It's amazing that the basic shape (refined a bit over time) was so right from word go.

In short, I'd buy it again. In fact, I am thinking about buying another one used or on sale to hot rod.

Reliability & Durability As for reliability/durability, it is an alder Strat, so it will take a lot of abuse. It gives the feeling that it will survive and become a trusted friend. Leo Fender designed these guitars with help from working musicians, so the toughness is built into the breed. Were I gigging, I could get away with using this guitar and this guitar only, save one detail -- no locking whammy.

Customer Support I haven't really had to deal with the company.

Liked about it The tone
The neck
The look (I love the pieced-together Strat look)
The sense of durability

Didn't like A bit noisy during single coil use.
no locking whammy (but I knew that going in)

Overall satisfaction:

By Philboski
Feb 25, 2010
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Worth the money!!!!

Sound The sound is all Fender strat.
If you have ever played and liked a good Fender strat you know exactly what I am talking about.
You can get any sound/tone you want out of this baby. From blues, country, pop, rock, metal....need I say more?
I play a mix of classical,blues,shred metal with a soul....hmmm sounds like a mess but it turns out great!

JCM9 head, 1960 full stack, Morley volume/wah, Robert Keeley compressor, Robert Keeley SD-1 stacked mod, boss dd5 delay, mxr/evh chorus, Ibanez "Airplane" flanger (paul gilbert)
I use only SIT strings, 9's on the Fender.

Action, Fit, & Finish Everything about this guitar is great! Nitro flat black paint a bonus for sure!
Plays really nice, I have them set up anyway so...there's that.
Classic "vintage" trem bridge...very easy to use.
I change all my pickups but in stock form it sounded very good...I am picky that's all.

Reliability & Durability Its a Fender! Yeah it is reliable. The paint is great, nitro wears quicker and I like that on this model...well mine is a nitro finish anyway.
I would take this guitar on the road..not just "gig" it.

Customer Support Again, you are dealing with the people at Fender...they take very good care of you!

Liked about it Love the finish.
Love the neck.
Love the TONE!

Didn't like about it should have locking tuners! All guitars should have locking tuners in my opinion.

Overall satisfaction:

By milkywayslipnsli
Aug 14, 2010
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