Here we are with another guitar review. I usually open these reviews with this when I post guitar reviews because I know our focus is consumer technology. While I love technology, particularly TVs, laptops, mobile phones, and audio equipment, I really love music and the guitar. So, naturally, when Fender asked me to review the Fender American Vintage II ’57 Stratocaster, I, of course, couldn’t resist.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
The Fender American Vintage II series is an accurate take on Fender’s classic designs. Fender says this series was built with the correct bodies, hardware, premium finishes, and voiced to match the year they were created.
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 12 or 11. I can’t remember exactly. So getting to play with these Fender guitars and reviewing them is a treat for me. So let’s get into the full review of the Fender American Vintage II ’57 Stratocaster in Seafoam Green.
The Fender American Vintage II ’57 Stratocaster has the following features and specifications:
- Body Material: Alder
- Body Finish: Gloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer
- Body Color: Seafoam Green (Also available in Vintage Blonde and 2-Color Sunburst)
- Body Shape: Stratocaster
- Neck Material: 1-Piece Maple
- Neck Finish: Gloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer
- Neck Shape: 1957 “V”
- Scale Length: 25.5″ (64.77 mm)
- Fingerboard Material: Maple
- Fingerboard Radius: 7.25″ (184.1 mm)
- Number of Frets: 21
- Fret Size: Vintage Tall
- Nut Material: Bone
- Nut Width: 1.650″ (42 mm)
- Inlays: Black Dot
- Side Dots: Black
- Truss Rod: Vintage-Style Butt Adjust
- Controls: Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck/Middle Pickups), Tone 2. (Bridge Pickup)
- Switching: 5-Position Blade: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup, Position 3. Middle Pickup, Position 4. Middle and Neck Pickup, Position 5. Neck Pickup
- Pickup Configuration: SSS
- Bridge Pickup: Pure Vintage ’57 Single-Coil Strat
- Neck Pickup: Pure Vintage ’57 Single-Coil Strat
- Bridge: Pure Vintage ’57 Single-Coil Strat
- Hardware Finish: Nickel/Chrome
- Tuning Machines: Pure Vintage Single Line “Fender Deluxe”
- Pickguard: 1-Ply Parchment
- Control Knobs: Aged White
- Switch Tip: Aged White
- Strings: Fender® USA 250R Nickel Plated Steel (.010-.046 Gauges), PN 0730250406
- Case: Vintage-Style Tweed (Crushed Red Interior) Included
What’s In The Box
- Fender American Vintage II ’57 Stratocaster
- Vintage-Style Tweed Case (Crushed Red Interior)
- Adjustment Tools
- Tremolo Bar
- Manuals and Documentation
I’m what you would call a traditionalist in guitar design. I tend to gravitate towards Telecaster, Les Paul, PRS, and Stratocaster bodies. That doesn’t mean I don’t like other body shapes, but Strats are a particular comfort zone for me.
As I mentioned in the introduction, the Fender American Vintage II ’57 Stratocaster faithfully reproduces Fender’s 1957 Stratocaster. The body shape is the same as the ’57, the neck profile, the headstock, the hardware, and even the paint used on it.
Fender ensured that what you’re buying would be as close to what someone in 1957 would buy. The frets are vintage tall frets; this was my first experience with them. There are only 21 frets available on the ’57, which I had a hard time with as I generally play 24-fret guitars. I can get by with 22, and only having 21 threw me for a loop, and I had to adjust.
The neck and fretboard are one solid piece of maple, which I love. The dots are black, keeping with the vintage look/ The hardware is chrome and nickel, again, keeping with the target year. The tuning machines are also vintage Fender; there are no locking tuners here. They are smooth and consistent and hold tune very well.
The headstock is also from the period, and I love this design. I’ve not liked some of Fender’s bubble headstocks from the ’70s. They are just freakishly big and awkward looking. The pickup covers and control hardware is aged white, and the pickguard is 1-ply Parchment.
The bridge, saddles, and bone nut are all premium and period correct. The knobs are smooth and move nicely, so there are no issues with volume swells. The strap buttons are also vintage and period correct; no locking strap buttons here.
The paint is fantastic! Fender says that in the ’50s, they used automotive paint for their guitars and chose to do the same here using a Gloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer. The Seafoam Green looks stunning in real life; pictures do not do justice. I’m unsure how heavy the guitar is as I do not have a proper scale to weigh it. I can only say that it is comfortable and feels like average weight to me.
The Vintage-Style Tweed case is red velvet-lined, and Fender ensured it was also period correct. The case is included with the purchase of the guitar. The Tweed cases are my favorites, I love the vintage look, and they are very protective.
Overall, the Fender American Vintage II ’57 Stratocaster keeps true to its roots with spot-on specifications, paint, and hardware. I only wish they had added one extra fret, but then it wouldn’t be accurate. LOL.
This Fender American Vintage II ’57 Stratocaster came out of the box nearly in perfect tune, there were a couple of strings that were flat, but that was no big deal. It is essential not to remove your guitar from its case when you get it from Fender. Let it rest, acclimate to your environment, and settle the wood.
The fretwork is excellent, the fret ends feel amazing, the fretboard was clean and oiled, and everything that was supposed to be in order was. The knobs, tremolo, and all moving parts feel of high quality, and there were no issues.
The action was EXACTLY where I liked it. Almost near fret buzz but not quite there. Action and setups are going to be VERY subjective. We all are different humans, and we all like our guitars set up differently. So while this fit into my range, you may find that you will need to make some adjustments. I’m sure Fender reads my reviews and sets these guitars up before they come to me to try and get them where they think I might like it best.
Overall, I loved the out-of-box setup on this Strat, but if you dislike yours, a simple setup with a local luthier should get you playing quickly.
The ’57 V-shaped neck was a new experience for me. Modern C necks, C necks, and U necks are among the shapes I have in my collection. But I found this neck shape very comfortable and excellent playability. My hand felt comfortable up and down the neck in every position. The body has the usual Fender contours, and it felt comfortable to strap on and hold.
The lack of a 22nd fret was a bit annoying for me. I am a 24-fret man, and I can get by with 22, but dealing with only 21 took me intentionally reminding myself that there were fewer frets. Not a huge deal, this is meant to be vintage and accurate to the time, so I am not mad.
The Fender American Vintage II ’57 Stratocaster sports three single-coil pickups, all of which are Pure Vintage ’57 Single-Coil Strat pickups. These are tuned to sound identical to what someone in the ’50s would have played.
These pickups are certainly signature single-coil and Strat sounding. They sound fantastic through a clean tube amp, and of course, they will change once you throw some effects on them. I found them to be hot enough to drive and provide more than enough power and sound.
Overall, the playability is excellent! The sound is fantastic! There’s not much to complain about. You will be a beast when you pair a great amp and effects to this guitar!
The Fender American Vintage II ’57 Stratocaster is priced at $2.099.99. That is pricey, but this is the average price for Fender’s similar offerings. I think the value is there with the added, very nice, hard case. Add the fact that this guitar is reproducing an era of sound, and the right buyer will be looking for that, and this is where you get it.
Fender American Vintage II ’57 Stratocaster Gallery
The Fender American Vintage II ’57 Stratocaster in Seafoam Green is a fantastic guitar and well worth your dollars if you’re looking for that Fender Strat vintage look, sound, and feel of the ’50s.
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Last Updated on December 3, 2022.
Fender American Vintage II ’57 Stratocaster
- Vintage design and hardware looks fantastic
- Used the same paint technique used in the 50s
- Out of Box setup was spot on
- Period correct hard-shell case included
- Sounds amazing
- Plays nice, great action, wonderful neck profile
- Being vintage period correct, I missed my 22nd fret
- It’s pricey and some may not want to spend this much