Bill Alston

SSS Strats Made in Mexico

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Standard in Arctic White

The intention is to cover in detail all of the SSS Stratocasters Made in Mexico. They were first produced at the beginning of the 1990s and are still being produced, at the time of writing Donald Trump hasn't taken any drastic anti Mexican action, there are a huge number of varieties and models.

Standard Series

There are too many colour changes to attempt to list these so I won't. Specifications changed many times too and I will try and list these changes although in some cases the exact year isn't clear or different sources claim different years

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Headstock 1 butterfly string tree, truss rod adjuster at headstock
Logo Modern thick silver changed to Black 70s style in 2009 around this time the serial number was moved to the back of the headstock.
Pickguard White laminated 11 screw white controls, changed to parchment 2009
Bridge 6 pivot vintage vibrato unit
Neckplate 4 bolt no micro tilt
Neck Fretted Maple or Maple with Rosewood satin finish tinted from 2009 profile see below 9.5" radius
Frets 21, vintage until 2002 medium jumbo thereafter
Body Poplar changed to Alder around 2003 veneered until 2011 see below for left handed models
Pickups and controls 3 white single coil ceramics 6 polepiece 5 way selector
Switches and Pots Cheap switch and small pots until around 2000 when switched to CTS pots and better switch the same ones as the US standard

Some specification notes
In the 90s the neck profile was described as shallow U, the first reference to it being modern C is in 2003, whether this represents a drastic change or just a terminology change is hard to tell without getting hold of two guitars of the different periods and comparing.

Strangely the body of the early left handed models is made of Basswood changed to Poplar in either 1997 or 1998. Maybe the basswood bodies for these were imported from Asia.

The trem block was changed to a high mass block in 2006 and full shielding was included

 
Pre 2009 headstock and post 2009 headstock
Note also the truss rod cover, that type is on all MIM Strats with truss rod adjustment at the headstock end


Variations and Special Editions
There were many of these here are the ones I can find details of at the moment:

Model Name Dates Features
Splatter 2003 Body painted in splatter colour with matching pick guard
Satin 2003-2006 Satin finish 3 black six polepiece pups and black 11 screw laminated pickguard
FMT 2005-6 Satin finish with black laminated 11 screw pickguard in Candy Apple Red, Gun Metal Blue, Midnight Blue and Midnight Wine. Maple or Rosewood Boards
60th Anniversary 2006 Silver Grey Body, Maple neck and commemorative neckplate
Roland Ready 1998 onwards Rosewood on Maple board Roland pickup and controls added
Tex Mex 1996-7 Vintage style thin logo in gold, 3 white tex mex pickups
Plus Top 2014 Flame Maple Top, 3 ply parchment pickups and controls Rosewood Board and Tobacco Sunburst or Maple Board with Cherry Burst
Satin 2014 onwards Satin Finish, Rosewood Board with Flame Orange or Ocean Blue, Maple with Arizona Sun or Blaze Gold

Flip Flop
This is a special edition of 200 units made in 2004. It has a body and matching headstock in a sparkle which flips from green to blue depending on light, angle and such.

   
The Flip Flop
Specs of the Flip Flop are similar to the Standard other then the finish, the Mint Green 3 ply pickguard and the Fretboard is Maple only.



2016 FSR

This is a 2016 limited edition in Opal White with one off plastic and matching headstock


2002 FSR

This unusual finish is a 2002 FSR not sure how many there are but this one was in the UK
 


2013 FSR


This FSR is in Arizona Sunset Metallic

David Lozeau
In 2015 the artist David Lozeau designed 4 stratocasters for Fender which were released as FSRs not sure of the numbers but a few of these have turned up. He also designed a further one released in a limited edition of 100. There were also 2 custom shop guitars but that's not for here.These all had the same specs as a MIM standard.




This design is Dragon


This is Tree of Life


Sacred Heart


Rose Tatoo


The limited edition of 100 the Vodoo Priest

As at February 2017 the SSS Standard is available in the UK in Arctic White, Black, Brown Sunburst, Candy Apple Red or Lake Placid Blue all with Maple or Rosewood. Retailing at around £550 or so. The Plus top version being around £650 is available in Aged Cherry Burst with Maple or Tobacco Sunburst with Rosewood.
In 2018 the standard strat is still available but in Sunburst only with either a Maple or a Pau Ferro Board.

Anomalies

One or two very early models have turned up with very odd specs. It seems that there were a few made in those days with very random parts. Here's a quote from a post on strat talk from "harrysmo"
I contacted someone at Fender Customer Support by email with questions about 1990 MIM's. They responded with telling me that 1990 was the year they first started making strats in Ensenada. There were chronic parts shortages while ramping up production. They would get parts from wherever they could to build guitars. They even bought parts from non-Fender suppliers to meet production goals. The Schaller-style tuners were probably bought from an aftermarket supplier, hence no "Fender" designation. The bodies were acquired from U.S. Fender and Squier. The necks were resourced from all Fender divisions to meet demands.
One turned up that appeared to have a US AVRI neck, some pictures


This one has a gold logo the truss rod adjustment at body end neck could be a 60s AVRI


Correct logo but again TRA at body end again possibly an AVRI neck.


Again a gold logo the truss rod adjustment at body end neck could be a 60s AVRI

Squier Series and Traditional

The Squier series and the Traditional are the same guitar the name was changed in 1996 but nothing else. They are a cheaper guitar than the Standard model having cheaper components fitted, such as the Trapezoid tuners.
Specifications

Dates Squier Series 1994-1996 Traditional 1996-1998
Headstock Small with single string tree truss rod at headstock end
Logo Thick Black
Pickguard White 11 screw 3 ply laminated plastic on the traditional and single ply on the Squier series all with white controls
Bridge 6 pivot vintage style vibrato unit
Neckplate 4 bolt no micro tilt
Neck Fretted maple* or maple with rosewood 21 frets 9.5" radius
Body Poplar, Black, Arctic White or Torino Red*
Pickups 3 White pole piece single coil ceramics 5 way selector

The left handed version was only available with a Rosewood board and wasn't available in Torino Red.
In 1997 they produced a limited edition of Hank Marvin signature stratocasters in Fiesta Red. 300 units were produced of what was just a different coloured traditional with a signature and only available with a Maple board.


 
Traditional series headstock and a Squier series headstock.

Classic Series

Details of these here:Classic Series

Classic Players

Details of these here:Classic Players

Roadworn

Details of these here:Roadworn Models

Vintage Player

Details of these here:Vintage Players

Deluxe Models

Details of the Roadhouse Deluxe here: Roadhouse Deluxe 2008 onwards
Details of the Deluxe here: Deluxe 2016 onwards
Details of the Deluxe player: Deluxe Player 2004 to 2016
Details of the Powerhouse and The Superstrat: Deluxe Powerhouse and the Deluxe Superstrat 1997 to 2008

Artist Models

Artist Models Mexican Stratocasters

A word about available colours
I have shown what colours were available at different times for some of these guitars if you see one in other colours it doesn't mean it isn't genuine, there are lots of FSRs and short runs of colours which never appear in catalogues.

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