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The Strat Plus is a series of electric guitars made by Fender from 1987 to 1999. It is also the name of a specific guitar model made by the same company. The guitars are a variation of the Fender Stratocaster model. There were three models in the Strat Plus series; the Plus, the Plus Deluxe which was introduced in 1989, and the Ultra, introduced in 1990.
Strat Plus Model
The Strat Plus model was introduced in 1987 as an upgraded version of the mid-1980s American Standard Stratocaster (first introduced in 1986) featuring three Gold Lace Sensor pickups (used by Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy), Fender/Wilkinson needle-bearing roller nut (changed to the LSR nut in 1993), Sperzel staggered locking machine heads (later models came with Schaller staggered locking tuners), a TBX tone control for the middle and bridge pickups and a Hipshot Tremsetter. The Strat Plus was the highest end production model next to Fender Custom Shop guitars. Models were available with both maple and rosewood fretboards.
Strat Plus Deluxe Model
The Strat Plus was followed by the Strat Plus Deluxe of 1989, the same guitar except for the addition of an optional white pearloid pickguard (certain Deluxe Pluses came with a brown tortoise shell scratchplate), a Blue Lace Sensor in the neck, a Silver Lace Sensor in the middle, a Red Lace Sensor in the bridge and an optional Fender/Floyd Rose locking bridge.
During the first two years of production, the Strat Plus Deluxe guitar came with a Gold Lace Sensor in the neck position, a Silver Lace Sensor in the middle position and a Blue Lace Sensor in the bridge. According to some knowledgeable people, some of the earliest Strat Plus Deluxe guitars came with a Silver Lace Sensor in the neck position, another Silver Lace Sensor in the middle position and a Blue Lace Sensor in the bridge position as well as a white pick guard as opposed to the pearloid type. It also featured an American 2-point tremolo, with the Deluxe pop-in bridge becoming a common option between 1989 and 1993.
Discontinued in 1999, the Strat Plus and Deluxe Strat Plus guitars were replaced by the Fender American Deluxe Series models that were introduced in 1998.
Strat Ultra Model
The Strat Ultra featured an alder body with flamed maple top and back veneers , and Lace Sensor pickups. Depending on the production year, the guitar featured 3-ply white-black-white or aged white pearloid pickguard. Early versions had an American Deluxe 2-point bridge, later versions were delivered with either a Deluxe pop-in bridge or a Fender Deluxe locking tremolo assembly. It was the first post-CBS era Fender guitar to feature an ebony fingerboard with abalone dot position markers (some earlier models came with regular white dots). Introduced in 1990, it was discontinued in 1997.
Unlike the Plus and Deluxe Plus, which usually featured Sperzel tuners, the Strat Ultra was the first guitar to feature Schaller staggered locking machine heads. Anyhow it is common to find Sperzel tuners on older Strat Ultra and Plus Deluxe models can feature Schaller locking tuners too.
This model has a dual Red Lace Sensor pickup in the bridge position and a single Lace Sensor pickup in each of the middle (Gold) and neck (Blue) positions. In addition to the 5-way pickup selector switch, the volume and the tone knobs, these guitars include a TBX tone circuit for the middle/bridge pickups, and a 3-way "mini-toggle" that allows the humbucking Dually sensor to be operated with the two coils in series (full humbucking mode, middle position) or selecting one of the two coils from the humbucker (top and bottom positions). The 5-way switch is a so called super-switch and it is wired is such a way that in the middle position it enable both the neck and bridge pickups instead of the middle pickup that is enable only in combination with the bridge or the neck pickup. In this way, considering that the bridge pickup has 3 possible configurations, the total pickup combinations available are eleven. Some earlier Strat Ultras came with a Silver Lace Sensor in the middle position.
The Strat Ultra was manufactured between 1990 and 1997 and replaced by the Fender American Deluxe Series models in 1998. Its operation and pickup configuration are similar to the Fender Telecaster Plus and Jeff Beck Stratocaster guitars, manufactured roughly during the same period.