With figured wood and premium features, the Select Strat is as close as you can get to Custom Shop at USA production prices.

Earlier this year, Fender released their Select Series—three Telecasters, two Stratocasters, a Precision Bass, and a Jazz bass—intended to bridge the gap between the American Deluxe Series and the company’s wide variety of Custom Shop instruments.

It’s not the first time Fender has tried to take their most classic instruments upmarket. And for lots of players that like a Stratocaster to be a Stratocaster, such efforts confound. But in the case of the Select Stratocaster reviewed here, there’s plenty to suggest that this latest attempt is much more than a branding effort.

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