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I have used Stratocasters pretty much all the way from the begging of my musical journey, first it was a knock-off Casino Stage series Strat, then a Chinese Squire Bullet-Strat, then a Mexican 60th anniversary Standard Strat, but I knew in my heart I wanted a real deal American Strat! Enter the American Special Stratocaster! Now let me tell you why I have bonded with this piece of musical equipment; the neck is fantastic and smooth like silk, being a maple neck, the frets are Jumbo frets, so they won't bald out on you when you do lots of bends. But the Texas Special Pickups are where its at for me, I know mid heavy single coils won't be for everyone, but as a lead guitar player, that also strums out clean over a loud band, those pickups can really cut through the mix just right, if the twang gets too much, just roll back a bit of your tone knob and you and your audience won't walk out with sliced ear canals. I'd recommend the USA Special Strat to anyone, but then where would the individuality be? I wish I were the only one to own it so I'd feel Special too :P
This guitar is very bright and loud. It's incredible with any drive pedals. I use this through my 2x12 HRD and 1x12 HRD. It soundsgreat through those. Crank the mids and you'll get killer sustaining solos!