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Fender 75th Anniversary Stratocaster confusion


One word separates two distinctively different models.

See the guitar above? That's a Fender 75th Anniversary Commemorative Stratocaster. If you follow Fender's lineup, you're probably thinking, "Wait, isn't the 75th anniversary Strat a silver-looking thing?" Yes, but that's the Mexico made Diamond Anniversary model. The Commemorative with the gold hardware and such is the American version...

...which you probably would have not known had I not just told you that.

One word, Commemorative, separates the two models.

The 75th (Mexico) has an alder body and comes in a finish called Diamond Anniversary, which appears to be a slightly-less-gold version of Shoreline Gold. It also has "vintage-style" '60s pickups and color matched headstock. The neck is a Modern C.

The 75th (USA) Commemorative has an ash body and the finish is two-color Bourbon Burst, which appears to be Sienna Sunburst with darker edges. The pickups in this one are Custom Shop Fat '60s, has gold hardware everywhere, and the tremolo block is cold-rolled steel. The neck is "Deep C" with rolled fingerboard edges.

The 75th USA is a decidedly more upscale instrument and isn't just a 75th Mexico with different paint and gold hardware. The USA has different pickups, different neck, different trem block and better fretwork. You also get the pearloid tuner buttons on the USA.

It also should be noted the 75th Mexico does not come with a case. Only a gig bag. The 75th USA does come with an Inca Silver color molded hardshell case with blue interior.

The case looks like this:


...which is similar to the black case but in a different color both inside and out.

Is it worth getting the 75th USA Strat?

Over the 75th Mexico? Yes, absolutely. When comparing the Mexico 75th to the USA 75th, the USA is by far the better instrument.

Over an American Professional II? Well, that's a tougher decision.

Three things about the 75th USA make it arguably better than the Am Pro II. Ash body, Fat '60s pickups, and of course the Bourbon Burst finish. The Am Pro II has an alder body, V-Mod II pickups and is available in Sienna Sunburst but not the Bourbon Burst.

However, the cons of the 75th are the gold hardware (gold will rub off over time with regular play) and the pearloid tuner buttons which while looking nice just don't feel as nice when compared to standard steel buttons.

The 75th USA is, obviously, meant to be what I call a "usable collector's piece". You can of course play it, but it's supposed to be a special-occasion-only guitar. The Am Pro II on the other hand is built to be used regularly.

You spend $350 more to get the 75th USA over the Am Pro II. Where that money goes is into fretwork, gold hardware, exclusive-to-75th-USA finish, a somewhat-special hardshell case, Custom Shop pickups, different trem block and pearloid tuner buttons.

I am hoping the Bourbon Burst makes it way into being a regular finish option for the Am Pro II however. To me, that's the best part of the 75th USA guitar.

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