Distributed by: Fender Music Australia | RRP: $1,999
Tash Sultana is one of the first Australian artists to be receiving a signature Fender, and for good reason. Tash has managed to carve out a space for their art within a heavily saturated industry, and has remained fresh, new and instantly recognisable; which is no mean feat in the current climate.
The Tash Sultana Stratocaster is a Mexican-made, alder-bodied Strat with a Double Tap Humbucking pickup and two Yosemite single-coil pickups to amplify the groovy, nuanced style that Tash is famous for. This guitar is everything you’d expect and want from a Fender, but styled and upgraded to suit Tash’s own unique playing style.
The guitar features their signature on the back of the headstock, as well as a custom “Skull” on the neck plate, and a welcome glossy transparent cherry finish that really helps this Strat stand out from the pack. A vintage style tremolo offers expression, as well as unparalleled tuning stability, and the modern tuning machines that remain much more stable than Fender’s vintage style tuning pegs, as well as simply ease of restringing.
All of these are screwed into a painted headstock to match the body, a feature usually reminiscent of ’60s Strat or their offset counterparts. All in all, a very feature heavy and aesthetically pleasing guitar.
The Tash Sultana Stratocaster is built from alder, coated in a Transparent Cherry gloss polyester finish, which is nicely offset against a 3-Ply aged white pearl pickguard and back-cover. The gold hardware, Fender staggered tuners and a vintage style synchronised tremolo, make this guitar very classy, and the maple fretboard with black dots offers the bright spank that have made a Stratocaster what it is.
The neck has a modern “C” shape, offering classic Fender feel with a focus on more contemporary playing styles. Thankfully, the guitar has a satin urethane finish that makes speeding around the neck really pleasant, while the gloss urethane on the front and fretboard give the Tash Sultana Stratocaster that classic feel and look, albeit with the striking gloss red painted headstock. The scale length is standard for a Strat, but the combination of the modern neck shape, satin finish and medium jumbo frets give this guitar vibe and mojo, and inspires tranquil jams and jazzy runs up and down the fretboard.
The HSS configuration really opens up the tonal palette, allowing the player to access big rock chords and bright, percussive and jangly Strat tones if the coils are split on the Double Tap Humbucking pickup. This kind of configuration is a dream for fans of loop pedals, allowing a multitude of tones to be accessed from the guitar itself, which offers a heap of sounds for different elements in a loop and mix.
The remaining single coils in the middle and neck positions are Yosemite single-coils, usually reserved for American Fenders, but featured here and a very welcome addition that really help this Strat stand ahead of the rest of the Mexican-made Fender range.
In the hands, the Tash Sultana Stratocaster feels great and similar in build quality to the Player or Vintera series, but the glossy transparent finish offers a little something extra in feel and wood breathability. The Fender offset contour body sits comfortably against the body and assists the player in really feeling the notes they’re putting out, while the sound of the pickups themselves just add dynamic to the great physical feel of the guitar.
Like all Strats, it resonates nicely against the player, and the tremolo offers further expression, all within easy access of your strumming hand. The five-way switch offers a bunch of tonal options, from full humbucking to fragile single-coil strums, and is easily accessible from the playing position, as is the tremolo arm, the volume and dual tone knobs. One master volume controls the whole guitar, while the tones knobs control separate pickups, depending where you’re playing.
The 22 medium jumbo frets offer comfort along the length of the fretboard with a 25.5” scale length and tight 9.5” radius. The nut is made from bone, another little upgrade to an already stellar example of a Stratocaster, allowing the guitar to sustain just a little longer, helped along by the six individual saddles resonating into the tremolo springs.
The Tash Sultana Stratocaster is a guitar built for the modern player, more specifically for someone who literally plays by their own rules and will continue to push musical boundaries. This Strat isn’t just a guitar, but an inspiration in and of itself, while also a vessel to channel inspiration when it strikes. The first in a hopefully ongoing line of signature guitars, Tash is an artist that remains an influence of many, and this Stratocaster, with its modern adornments and subtle upgrades from Mexican Stratocasters, reflects that.
There’s a bunch of fairly standard appointments that made this Tash’s weapon of choice, but with some upgrades, such as pickups, hardware and a gloss finish that make it very much it’s own beast and a force to be reckoned with. The neck is super comfortable, helped along by the satin finish on the back of the neck and modern “C” shape, while the glossy cherry finish and aged pearl pickguard make for a unique and eye-catching Strat with great stability.
If you’re looking for a stock-standard Strat, admittedly this probably isn’t the Strat for you. If you’re looking for a guitar to simultaneously feel like home but offer the ability to push musical boundaries, then let’s talk.
Head over to Fender Music Australia to find out more about the Tash Sultana Signature Stratocaster today.