Fender Stratocaster HSS Electric Guitar
Review of the Fat Strat Humbucker
The currently available Fender Stratocaster HSS came about because Fender did a little catching up.
It is a result of Fender starting to offer an instrument to match what some musicians were already doing: modifying their guitars with a humbucker option in the bridge position.
Wanting a fuller, thicker tone than you usually get from a Strat, hard rock and heavy metal musicians began altering their guitars in the 1970s and 1980s to get the sound they wanted.
Soon, these modified models with humbucking pickups in the bridge position became known as Fat Strats.
Fender responded by offering the humbucker as a standard feature.
It started making models with what it called HSS -- the humbucker option, then single.
Other options like the dual humbucker -- called the HH -- and the, then single, humbucker -- or HSH -- soon followed.
Understanding why musicians want HSS or other pickup configurations involving humbuckers requires knowing what a humbucker is.
Way back in the beginning of electric guitars -- the 1930s, actually -- single coil pickups were established as the industry standard.
That means they consisted of coils of wire and one or more magnets. For decades, that was good enough for most musicians.
Fender Stratocaster HSS
In 1955, a Gibson guitar developer named Seth Lover came up with an idea:
If you hook two coils together, you get a richer, bigger, wider tone -- a fatter tone. And you get less hum -- or noise.
This new pickup bucked the hum, so it became known as a humbucker.
Single coils, as it turns out, work like antennas to pick up noise from wiring and other electromechanical sources and put it through the speakers.
Using two coils spooled in opposite directions cancels out the noise.
Actually, Lover didn’t invent the humbucker as some experts think. It was invented by Electro-Voice in 1934 for use in PA systems, but Lover made it work with guitars.
Because of his work, Gibson got the patent for the useful little device. By the 1970s and 1980s, it was routinely finding its way into Strats.
The Fender Stratocaster HSS takes into account the desire for the humbucking pickup and gives Fender guitar users the configuration they want standard so they don’t have to do any modifications.
When you combine the warmness of a humbucker pickup with the twangy brightness of a Stratocaster, you get a sound that is hard to get any other way.
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