Fender Limited Edition H.E.R. Stratocaster review: one of Fender’s strongest signature guitars in years
Grammy-winning H.E.R.’s Chrome Glow signature model gets a makeover and retains its standing as one of the most playable signature Strats
As we hold the new version of H.E.R.’s signature Fender Stratocaster, we feel an air of prestige and importance wash over us we can’t quite explain. It could be due to its uber-classy two-tone finish and top-end spec sheet, but it’s a limited edition only being produced in 2023 and then disappearing forever.
Launched back in January, the Grammy-winning guitarist’s latest six-string – which follows her Chrome Glow-finished Fender Strat that arrived in 2020 – is a head-turner to say the least, with a range of appointments designed to catch the eye.
These include, in addition to its striking Blue Marlin finish – inspired by fishing trips Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson would take with her father as a child – as well as an anodized aluminium pickguard, colour-matched headstock, and a subtle-but-effective H.E.R. custom neck plate.
But the real magic of the Limited Edition H.E.R. Stratocaster happens when you plug it in and play.
Fundamentally, H.E.R.’s latest signature model is a classic Strat through and through, with a 21-fret maple fingerboard, triple single-coil pickup configuration, five-way selector switch, single volume pot and two tone knobs. But a series of more modern specifications bring this age-old guitar design into 2023, including, most importantly, a trio of Fender-designed Noiseless pickups.
These deliver a gloriously clean and articulate tone – twangy in the bridge position and warm and bell-like in the neck – while removing the 60-cycle hum that’s commonly associated with single-coil pickups. While humbuckers were designed to cancel out noisy pickup interference, Fender now offers single coils without it. The future is here.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how well the action of the Limited Edition H.E.R. Strat is set straight out of the box. In this case, no truss rod adjustment whatsoever was required; jamming licks feels immediately natural and effortless. The comfort and playability of the guitar are no doubt also helped by its mid-’60s ‘C’-shape neck carve which, with its satin urethane finish, is a real pleasure to play.
Elsewhere, the guitar sports a six-saddle Vintage-Style Synchronized Tremolo, which provides both stable intonation and adjustability. This is great as you’ll almost certainly need to adjust it at some point down the line, but fear not: no such adjustments are required out of the box.
All things considered, the Limited Edition H.E.R. Stratocaster is one of the strongest offerings in Fender’s signature guitar repertoire right now – a powerful statement from the first Black female artist in the guitar giant’s roster of artists. It plays remarkably smoothly, both in terms of feel and tone, and as such it carries a £1,199 price tag. But we’ve played few guitars that justify every penny of their price tag quite as well as the H.E.R. Strat.
If you’re in the market for a new single-coil-equipped electric guitar and have a little extra to spend, take our word for it: you won’t go wrong with the H.E.R. Strat.
- PRICE £1,199 / $1,349.99, including gig bag
- DESCRIPTION Triple single-coil Stratocaster
- BUILD Alder body, 21-fret maple neck and fingerboard, anodized aluminium pickguard, abalone dot inlays
- HARDWARE Vintage-style tuning machines, six-saddle Vintage-Style Synchronized Tremolo
- ELECTRONICS Fender Noiseless single coil pickups
- SCALE LENGTH 25.5” (647.7 mm)
- NUT WIDTH 1.650″ (42 mm)
- FINISH Blue Marlin
- LEFT-HANDERS No
- CONTACT fender.com