Fender American Professional Stratocaster

Stratocaster Buying Guide

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A comprehensive buyer’s guide to all Fender and Squier Stratocaster series electric guitars to help you choose the best Strat model for you.

The Fender Stratocaster is among the most iconic electric guitars to have ever been produced, and it’s been a major influence on the sounds of modern music. Since it’s introduction in 1954, the  Strat has been featured on countless recordings, and played by rock, punk, jazz, blues, soul, R&B, and country artists the world over. During its six-decade history, the Stratocaster has consistently been one of the most popular (and copied) guitars in production. 

Table of Contents

A Brief History of the Stratocaster
Why Choose a Stratocaster?
Basic Stratocaster Features
Squier Stratocasters
Fender Stratocasters
USA Fender Stratocasters
Fender Custom Shop
So, Which Stratocaster is Right for Me?

A Brief History of the Stratocaster

In 1954 California inventor Leo Fender along with his cohorts Freddie Tavares and George Fullerton set out to design a guitar that would build on the success of Fender’s Telecaster and Precision Bass. Seeking to create a guitar with more tonal versatility as well as improved playability and comfort, the trio came up with the Stratocaster. Adapted from the profile of the P-Bass, its double-cutaway, deeply contoured solid body offered easier access to the higher frets and nestled more comfortably against the player’s body. The addition of a middle single-coil pickup gave the Strat greater tonal versatility than its Telecaster stablemate’s two-pickup design.

The original Strat had a 3-way pickup selector switch. Players soon discovered they could engage two pickups simultaneously by using a toothpick to wedge the switch between the “factory” settings and thus create unique tones. As we’ll see, Fender was paying attention, and over the years switching and wiring grew more sophisticated.

The Strat also had a cavity routed into its back, housing a through-body pivoting bridge that  anchored the strings. Strat players began modifying their guitars’ standard fixed bridge by removing two of its five retaining springs and adjusting the anchoring screws allowing the bridge to “float.”  By doing this, they could move the tremolo arm that was attached to the bridge up and down, thus modulating the pitch of the played notes. Jimi Hendrix,  Ike Turner, and Jeff Beck were all notorious for their enthusiastic use of these pitch-bending tremolo effects.

But vigorously yanking on the trem bar caused the guitar to go out of tune. In response, guitarists such as Ron Wood and Eric Clapton modified their bridges to remain fixed while retaining the floating tremolo. Others did away with the tremolo entirely leading to what are now referred to as “hard-tail” Strats. Here too, Fender was watching, and as the Strat evolved, new models incorporated many of the modifications pioneered by these artists and their guitar techs.  

In 1965 Leo Fender sold his company to CBS—a move that many Fender fans associate with a change in the quality of Fender instruments. Nonetheless, the business grew, and in 1977 the company introduced 5-way pickup switching and a reverse-wound, reverse-polarity middle pickup. This provided a hum-canceling effect in positions 2 and 4 on the selector switch, creating the tones popularized by iconic guitarist such as Jimi Hendrix, Dick Dale, Eric Clapton, and David Gilmour. Today, the 5-way switch and reverse-wound middle pickup are standard on most Strats.

In 1982 Fender introduced a version of the Stratocaster produced under its Squier trademark—a division spun off to create value-priced instruments. Originally built in Japan, it became one of the company’s most successful models. Since then, Fender has produced Stratocasters in Korea, Indonesia, and China, aiming to provide instruments that retain the Fender heritage and quality standards while being very affordable.

A group of Fender employees and investors bought the company from CBS in 1985 reinvigorating a business largely lacking in leadership that understood music gear and musicians. Following the buyout, Fender initially built its instruments in overseas factories that had the skills to create instruments meeting the company’s standards.

Later in 1985, Fender’s flagship factory began production in Corona, California. This was followed two years later with the opening of its second North American factory in Ensenada, Mexico. That same year—1987—Fender’s revered Custom Shop was launched and began building some of the finest Stratocasters ever.

Since then Fender has continued to rethink its flagship Stratocaster, introducing dozens of model variations with unique capabilities and cosmetics. Yet the essential shape, playability, and sound of the Strat remains unchanged six decades later.  

In this guide we’ll walk you through the many Stratocaster series and models available today. As you browse Musician’s Friend’s huge collection of Strats, we hope you’ll find this guide a useful companion in sorting out all the details and ultimately helping you purchase the best Stratocaster for your needs, budgets and desires.

Why Choose a Stratocaster?

With all the electric guitars available, why should you choose a Strat? While only you can determine if a particular guitar is a good fit, there are compelling reasons the Stratocaster has proven to be the guitar of choice for so many players. With its 3-pickup array and 5-way selector switch, the Strat offers players a variety of options to achieve the sound they want. From bright and twangy to mellow and moody, the Strat covers many colors on the tonal palette.

Aside from tone, the Strat offers a very smooth, comfortable feel. The contoured body and neck joint make the Stratocaster easy to hold and play, and its deep cutaways give the player ready access to the entire fretboard. With several neck profiles to choose from, there’s a Strat to match just about everybody’s hand and playing style.

Famous Stratocaster Players

Countless guitarists have chosen the Fender Stratocaster as their instrument of choice. Whether playing a tasty blues lick or laying down some righteous funk, the Strat has earned its place among the most revered guitars ever. Some famous Stratocaster players include:

  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Eric Clapton
  • Jeff Beck
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • George Harrison
  • John Frusciante
  • Dave Murray
  • Ritchie Blackmore
  • The Edge
  • David Gilmour
  • Buddy Holly
  • Eddie Hazel
  • Buddy Guy
  • Robert Cray
  • Eric Johnson
  • Mark Knopfler
  • Bonnie Raitt

This is just a short list—if space were no issue, we could fill your screen several times over with the names of notable Stat players.

Basic Stratocaster Features

The Fender Stratocaster comes in many variations, but the following features are generally found on most Strats produced under the Fender and Squier nameplates:

  • A double cutaway contoured alder or ash body offers excellent resonance, comfort, and playability.
  • 3 single-coil pickups with a 5-way blade switch accesses 5 different pickup configurations: Neck, Neck/Middle, Middle, Middle/Bridge, and Bridge.
  • Master volume and 2 tone knobs control the output signal and the treble frequencies of the Neck and Middle pickups.
  • A bolt-on maple neck provides strength and stability, while being easily removed for repairs or replacement
  • Maple, rosewood or pao ferror fingerboard for tonal definition and durability
  • Nitrocellulose lacquer finish (vintage and Custom Shop), Urethane or Polyester finish (modern)
  • Synchronized tremolo bar
  • 25-1/2” scale length
  • 7-1/4” fretboard radius (vintage)  9-1/2” (modern)
  • Classic “C”-shaped or “V”-shaped neck

Squier Stratocasters

Squier is a division of Fender and its Stratocasters are based on Fender models, sharing many of the same design features at super-affordable prices. In the company's own words, Squier is the “value brand alternative to its big brother, Fender.” Squier Strats are largely made in Asia.

Squier Bullet Series

The Bullet series offers a tremolo-equipped Stratocaster for the new player on a tight budget. These guitars deliver the tone and playability of a Stratocaster without breaking the bank.

  • Designed for beginners and students
  • Mini option available (¾ scale, 20 frets)
  • Bullet (21 frets)
  • Laminated hardwood body
  • Maple C-shaped neck
  • Model-specific pickup arrays
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • 9.5" fretboard radius
  • Chrome-covered machine heads
  • Large, ’60s style headstock
  • 1-ply white pickguard
  • Made in Asia

Squier Bullet HSS Stratocaster in Aztec Gold

Ideal for the new guitarist, the ultra-affordable Squier Bullet Stratocaster HSS offers plenty of tonal choices with its bridge humbucker pickup and single coils in the middle and neck positions.

Squier Affinity Series

A step up in the Squier line, Affinity Stratocasters offer more features than the Bullet including upgraded wood and pickups for a fuller, richer sound.

  • Solid alder body with thinner 40mm depth
  • Maple or rosewood neck
  • 9.5" fingerboard radius
  • 21 medium-jumbo frets
  • Model-specific pickup arrays
  • Large, ’60s-style headstock
  • 1-ply pickguard
  • Made in China and Indonesia

Squire Affinity HSS Stratocaster Burgundy Mist

This Squier Affinity HSS Strat in Burgundy Mist has a humbucker in the bridge position to make a sonic impact equal to its knockout looks.

Squier Standard Series

The Squier Standard Stratocaster delivers the feel and comfort of a Standard Fender at a more accessible price.

  • Solid agathis body; 45mm depth like most Fender models
  • C-shaped neck
  • 9.5" fingerboard radius
  • 22 medium jumbo frets
  • Large, ’60s style headstock
  • 3-ply parchment or 4-ply tortoise shell pickguard
  • Made in China and Indonesia

Squier Standard Stratocaster

Based on its Fender American Series counterpart, the Squier Standard Strat sports a classically old-school antique burst finish and vintage single-coil sound.

Squier Deluxe Series

Squier’s Deluxe Series Strats are tricked out with modern features that enhance their old-school vibe with advanced playability, sound, and visuals.

  • Basswood body
  • Finish: Polyester
  • Neck: 1-Piece Maple, Modern "C" Shape
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood or Maple, 9.5"
  • Frets: 22, Medium-jumbo
  • Scale Length: 25.5"
  • Nut Width: 1.65"
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Tuning Keys: Standard die-cast
  • Bridge: Vintage-style, 6-saddle tremolo
  • Pickguard: 3-ply parchment

Squier Deluxe Stratocaster Blue

This Squier Deluxe Strat is loaded with three Duncan Designed SC-101 single coils that add presence and chime to its traditional Strat tone.

Squier Classic Vibe Series

Reminiscent of early Strat designs, the Classic Vibe series serves up affordable versions of the vintage Strats from the '50s and 60's you’ve always dreamed about with some choice modern touches.

  • Alder body
  • Finish: Polyester
  • Neck: 1-Piece Maple, Modern "C" Shape
  • Fingerboard: Maple, 9.5"
  • Frets: 21, Medium-jumbo
  • Scale Length: 25.5"
  • Nut Width: 1.65"
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Tuning Keys: Vintage-style tuning machines
  • Bridge: Vintage-style, 6-saddle tremolo
  • Pickguard: 1-ply

Squier Classic Vibe '50s Strat Sunburst

Dripping with vintage vibe, the Squier Classic Vibe ‘50s Strat improves on its forerunner with a modern neck profile and searing AlNiCo 3 single-coil pickups.

Squier Vintage Modified Series

Vintage Modified Strats offer the playability and tonal characteristics of classic-era Stratocasters with hot-rodded updates such as hotter pickups and unique finishes. All they’re missing is the steeper chop-shop price tag.

  • Bolt-on neck construction
  • Basswood body
  • 25.5" scale maple neck
  • 9.5" radius fretboard
  • 21 frets
  • Upgraded model-specific pickups

Squier Vintage Modified '70s Stratocaster Black

The Squier Vintage Modified ‘70s Strat delivers extra snarl courtesy of a trio of Duncan Designed TM SC-101 single-coil pickups.

Fender Stratocasters

Fender Stratocasters have proved to be one of the most enduring electric guitars ever, having been in continuous production in one form or another since 1954. The Stratocasters below are produced in Fender’s Ensenada, Mexico plant.

Artist Series

The moderately priced Artist Series includes Stratocasters built to evoke the sound and look of iconic axes played by some of the world's most important guitarists. The pickups, electronics, and cosmetics reflect the choices of the artists whose names they bear. A great example is the Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster with its reversed headstock and bridge pickup that recall the southpaw master’s habit of restringing and flipping over right-hand Strats to play them left-handed. The altered string geometry coupled with Vintage 65 pickups deliver the snap and fire that were signatures of Jimi’s jaw-dropping technique.

Fender Artist Series Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster

The Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster offers easier bends on treble strings and a tighter feel on the bass strings thanks to the “flipped" headstock.

Fender Artist Series Jimmie Vaughan Tex-Mex Stratocaster Red

Three Tex Mex single-coils with an extra-hot bridge pup plus custom tone-control wiring give the Artist Series Jimmie Vaughan Tex-Mex Strat Vaughan’s nasty trademark tone.

Fender Classic Series

Fender builds these moderately priced Classic Series Strats using period-correct specs from the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. Each Strat model in the series has its own unique vibe and quality components that do full justice to this iconic guitar’s status.

Fender '70s Classic Strat Natural

This ‘70s Classic Series Strat includes all the original features: U-shaped neck, large headstock, “bullet” truss rod, and Schaller vintage machines.

Fender Player Series

The Fender Player Series was introduced in June of 2018 as the next generation of budget-friendly Fender electric guitars. The Fender Player Series Stratocaster series offers a variety of different models. Different pickup configurations, color choices and more mean there's something here for everyone, including lefties. Whether you're rocking out in your bedroom or playing with a full band on a stage, you'll want to consider the Fender Player Strats. 

Now, let's take a look at some of the key features and specs that are found on the entire Player Series Strat family:

  • Alder body
  • Modern C-shaped maple neck
  • Choice of a maple or Pao Ferro fingerboard
  • 9.5" fingerboard radius
  • Gloss neck and body finish
  • Chrome hardware
  • White plastic parts
  • Die-cast sealed tuning machines
  • Made in Mexico

Fender Player Stratocaster in 3-Color Sunburst

With a variety of different models available, great feel and fantastic sounding Alnico pickups, any potential Strat buyer should check out the Fender Player Series.

Learn more about the entire Fender Player Series family of electric guitars and basses.

Fender Standard Stratocaster

Widely considered an industry standard, the Fender Standard Stratocaster incorporates classic Strat features at a midrange price. It’s an excellent choice for the weekend warrior or committed hobbyist in need of a guitar that’ll keep coming back for more year after year.

  • Alder body
  • Modern C-shaped maple neck
  • Choice of a maple or rosewood fingerboard
  • Satin polyurethane neck finish
  • Chrome hardware
  • White plastic parts
  • Ping standard cast/sealed tuning machines
  • Made in Mexico

Fender Standard Strat Lake Placid Blue

Infused with the same playability and vibe as the first Stratocaster created in Leo Fender’s workshop, the Fender Standard Strat continues its tradition of affordability.

Fender Classic Player Series

Fender updates classic designs with modern improvements in the Classic Player Series. Based on revered 1950s and ‘60s instruments, a selection of choice mods give these timeless models the sonic juice and playability demanded by the contemporary guitarist.

Fender Classic Player '60s Stratocaster

The Classic Player 60's Stratocaster was designed by Master Builder Greg Fessler and is loaded with cool elements such as its 2-point custom vintage bridge—previously a Custom Shop exclusive.

USA Fender Stratocasters

Built in Fender's Corona, California factory, USA Stratocasters set the standard for quality, tone and playability. Made with premium tonewoods (usually alder or ash), custom shop pickups, and master craftsmanship, the USA Strats are sure to please demanding players across a variety of styles.

Fender American Special Series

In recognition that musicians were struggling along with most everyone else during the economic downturn of the late 2000s, Fender introduced this remarkably affordable U.S.-made series in 2010.  These axes include special pickups, bridges, circuitry, and finishes, and represent an incredible value where domestically made Strats are concerned.

  • Contoured alder body
  • Glossy urethane finish
  • Modern C-shaped maple neck
  • 22 jumbo frets
  • Model-specific special pickups deliver upgraded tones
  • Vintage-style synchronized tremolo

Fender American Special Strat Green

The American Special Strat’s Texas Special pickups serve up tight bass, midrange chirp, and crystalline highs. Built in the U.S., it’s an outstanding value.

Fender American Performer Series

Introduced in Winter of 2018, Fender's new American Performer Series guitar and basses are a direct replacement for the American Special family. The American Performer Series includes two Stratocaster models: a standard SSS configuration and an HSS configuration. Each model features Fender's new Yosemite single-coil pickups. These pickups have flat-staggered pole pieces which increase output. The shellac coating allows the coils to breathe, while taming your Strat's feedback.

Fender's American Performer Stratocaster HSS model features a new DoubleTap humbucker in the bridge position. The DoubleTap can be used in humbucker mode or single-coil mode, controllable via a push-pull tone pot. The American Performer Strat HSS is available with maple fingerboard or rosewood fingerboard

Let's look a closer look at their shared specifications. 

  • Alder body
  • Modern C-shaped maple neck
  • 9.5" radius fingerboard (available in maple or rosewood)
  • 22 jumbo frets
  • 6-Saddle vintage-style synchronized tremolo
  • 1.685" synthetic bone nut

Fender American Performer Stratocaster

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster features three new Yosemite™ single-coil pickups, designed for rich, expressive tones. The American Performer Stratocaster is available with maple fingerboard or rosewood fingerboard

Read our full Fender American Performer Series overview.

Fender American Professional Series

The American Professional Stratocaster is the time-honored workhorse of seasoned pros and discerning hobbyists alike. Part of a series that debuted in 2008, it’s limited to four classic Fender instruments: the Strat, Tele, P-Bass and Jazz Bass.

  • Traditional alder body for classic Strat tone (Sienna Sunburst finish has Ash body)
  • New Modern Deep C-shaped maple neck
  • Newly designed V-Mod single-coil and/or newly redesigned ShawBucker™ humbuckers
  • New Treble Bleed circuit that maintains guitar's high end, even as volume is decreased on guitar
  • 2-point synchronized tremolo with bent steel saddles and pop-in tremolo arm
  • Gloss Polyurethane finish
  • Fender Elite Molded Case featuring TSA latches and nested stacking ability forsecure transport and easy storage

Fender American Professional Stratocaster

Tim Shaw's Newly designed V-Mod single coil pickups give the new Fender American Professional Strat high-output vintage warmth with classic clear, cutting Fender tone.

Fender American Elite Series

Introduced in 2016, Fender’s American Elite Series electrics deliver all the proven design features of their forerunners , but up the ante with newly developed 4th Generation Noiseless pickups that deliver the electromagnetic energy required by today’s musically intense guitar styles. The American Elite Stratocaster is also equipped with a modern, compound-radius fretboard plus compound-profile neck that marries the best of C and D necks into one of the most comfortable Strats you’ll ever play.

Fender American Elite Stratocaster Sky Burst Metallic

Under the familiar rosewood or maple fingerboard (your choice,) the American Elite Strat has a sleek compound-radius fingerboard and new, transitional neck profile for outstanding feel.

Fender American Original Series

Fender took a collection of vintage specimen instruments from the ‘50s and ‘60s and then dissected and documented them to come up with modern recreations in creating the American Original family. Each of the models that make up the American Original series feature a “Best Of” list of specifications for the decade that they represent.  

  • ‘50s model Body is Ash or Alder (depending on finish), ‘60s model is Alder
  • ‘50s models feature a “V” soft maple neck while ‘60s models feature “C” thick maple neck
  • Lightweight alder body (ash on white blonde) with deep contours
  • Newly designed Pure Vintage Pickups (’59 Pickups and ’65 Pickups)
  • Vintage-style hardware
  • Model-specific special pickups
  • Includes hardshell case

Fender American Original '60s Stratocaster

While adhering to meticulously re-created retro cosmetics, dimensions and finishes, the Fender American Original '60s Stratocaster has newly voiced Pure Vintage pickups that breathe new life into an iconic axe.

Fender Custom Shop

Staffed by a crew of Master Builders, Fender’s Custom Shop has produced a trove of world-class instruments since its inception in 1987. Working with and for some of the greatest guitarists of our age, these luthiers craft instruments of unparalleled beauty and playability. Their talents have been put to work in executing guitars for the likes of Clapton, Beck, Townshend, Gilmour, and many more—a veritable Who’s-Who of guitar wizardry. Fender Custom Shop luthiers have undertaken all manner of commissions from modifying existing guitars to creating entirely new instruments from the ground up.

Many Custom Shop creations are one-offs; designs that will never be repeated. Other designs are retired after limited runs, never to be produced again. Every Fender Custom Shop instrument is a tribute to the luthier’s artistry and is an investment-grade purchase.

And, if you're looking for a vintage Stratocaster but don't have the deep pockets to support that lust, Fender Custom Shop guitars are a great alternative, offering a variety of vintage spec Strats built to exacting standards by Fender's famed luthiers.

Visit our Private Reserve Guitar collection to see the current selection of Custom Shop Stratocasters.

Custom Shop Artist

Custom Shop Artist series Stratocasters are based on each artist’s unique specs, executed with master craftsmanship by Fender’s premier luthiers.

Fender Custom Shop David Gilmour Strat

Based on the guitar that figured prominently in the recording of Dark Side of the Moon, the Custom Shop David Gilmour Strat is the result of close collaboration with the Pink Floyd guitarist and his guitar tech, Phil Taylor.

Time Machine

In conceiving the Time Machine series from the Custom Shop, Fender set out to create a shrine devoted to its most revered vintage instruments. Using varied degrees of distressing, Custom Shop luthiers artfully craft instruments that appear to have lived long and muscially eventful lives. Each instrument meticulously mirrors the model on which it is based.

Fender Custom Shop 1960 Stratocaster Relic Electric Guitar  Lake Placid Blue

This Time Machine 1960 Stratocaster has received a relic treatment, replicating the look and feel of an instrument that has been subjected to thousands of hours of playing time.


Fender’s Masterbuilt Stratocasters are one-of-a kind instruments that represent the pinnacle of Custom Shop design. Custom Shop Master Builders design and hand-make each guitar to be utterly unique and world-class. Builders personally select the materials and craft each guitar to their exacting standards.

So, Which Stratocaster is Right for You?

As you can see in this guide, the Strat is available in dozens of variations in features to provide a huge range of options for the enthusiast.

Pick the Stratocaster that suits your budget and your style. Maybe you don’t want to spend a lot, but you want your Strat to have the look and feel of a timeless guitar. Consider the Squier Vintage Modified Series. Perhaps you want to invest in a true piece of art—not just something to play, but a timeless treasure and heirloom. A Masterbuilt or Custom Deluxe Strat will likely meet that aim. Or, you might be a working pro who needs a Strat that you can play every night, year in and year out. The American Professional Stratocaster is probably an excellent choice for you.

We want you to be pleased with your Stratocaster purchase, and offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and generous return policy so you can order your new Stratocaster with confidence.

After reading this guide, if you’re still not sure which Strat is right for you, we invite you call to one of our friendly and knowledgeable Gear Heads at (877) 880-5907.

Tags: Electric Guitars


# Fernando 2016-07-31 14:22
I'm from Argentina. I bought a Standard Stratocaster (not an American Standard) back in 1994 that has the inscription "MADE IN U.S.A." in the back of the headstock with a Serial Number FN 205xxx. In this site, I reed that the Fender Standard series are builted in Mexico. They also where in the 90's? Is it a fake?
# usa strat or not 2016-07-29 07:17
looking at a 2002 strat serial Z2215901 However bridge looks to be vintage type not square blocks as I had on 90,s usa strat ,is it a fake
# DCFernando 2016-06-20 07:57
I shopped for years and eventually found an American Standard from 1986/7 ( E44xxxx) for under a Grand. Sounds better than any of the new Strats I tried. and the one ding doesn't bother me at all.
# mike 2016-06-08 03:36
Hi can you help me I own an I series strat serial number I 002155 it has made in USA stamped on the back of the neck i bought it in the UK around 1992 I'm trying to find the build specification and basically see if its worth spending money on it as it requires some work doing..i believe the I series was for the international market
# Jake 2016-05-25 17:43
I have 4 different "strats", a 95 American Standard that has lost ALL of it's finish on the freboard that Fender wouldn't acknowledge as an issue, an 07 Mexi strat that has the very best neck of any strat I've ever played, a 60 buck garage Indo Squier with a butt ugly mahogany fake finish and is the best Reggae guitar I've ever played, and yes, a Kramer Classic Strat clone that is just plain worn out and doesn't get played any longer. Of them all, I love the tone from my AMSTD, even if the neck is a wreck, and I love the playability of the Mexi strat, now going soft yellow from it's original Arctic White, but I live in Hawaii, they never see their cases and the UV has aged them beautifully.
# mark b 2016-05-21 19:07
I really need help in identifing my Stratocaster. I would like to send a pic and have someone give me som info
# Rob 2015-12-03 16:05
I read this article thinking it would help me decide which Strat would give me tone I want, but saying "Pick the Stratocaster that suits your budget and your style," as the final answer to "which strat should I buy?" is a huge cop-out. This article was ALMOST helpful.
# Terry 2016-01-17 13:28
Rob... only one way to do this... hands on at a good guitar shop... only you know the tone you want... don't [blocked]et the amplifier's role in tone too...
# Don Miata 2015-09-06 01:59
it's a pitty the article sais little or nothing About build quality, sound characteristics of the different pick-up's. and About the Stratocasters; which years preferably and what years rather not?, for American,Japanese, Mexican, Indonesian and what have you Fender guitars.
# Mikewillz 2015-08-20 09:34
Fender is awesome. I own a blk/white 57 crafted in Japan strat. Always wanted a wider neck guitar and fender answered my dreams releasing the hm strat. I have a raspberry hm strat maple neck dimarzio super distortion (perfect). Then last but not least is my lovely Eric Johnson sunburst.. It's the hm strat mixed with the 57 reissue. Every strat lover should have a ej strat or just try one. I like the Gibson family but it's so hard to pull the trigger on one ya know.. Thanks fender and everyone reading all strats are good , Mexican or American, I perfer Japan products. Squires are also good after a setup (had a few of those)
# Digit6 2015-06-24 16:15
i have a pre owned American Stratocaster. serial number Z2054802. Limited Edition. How can I find the original build sheet or Factory Stats? Why the "Limited Edition" monocer??? Thanks
# Tom Kress 2015-09-07 03:47
e-mail fender at with your serial number and ask them for info on your guitar.They are pretty good at getting back to you.I hope this helps you out.Tom
# Alex Mowatt 2015-06-09 15:55
I have worshiped the sound made of giutar most of my life. Everything from classical, flamenco, acoustic, and of course electric. Since retiring six years ago I have been trying to improve my chops on several guitars, but so far not a Fender. I will, however, be purchasing one this year - definitely. Your article has helped greatly in that decision process. Thank you.
# Gerry phillips 2015-04-05 19:30
This is a great piece. I checked it out wanting to find out more about the history of the strat, because there are strat owners out there claiming to have 60th anniversary models dated 2006 ... I have one of the one thousand nine hundred and fifty four that were issued last year. So, if they were first produced in 1954 how does one made in 2006 become a 60th anniversay model?
# John 2015-07-04 04:32
Fender started in 1946 so add 60 and get 2006.
They only started making the strat in 1954.
# Tommy Mauro 2015-03-31 06:05
I am 62 years old I have been playing guitar since I was 11 years old my first real guitar was a Fender strat I bought with paper route money from Sam Ash in Huntington , New York . I still had it until last Dec 17th when a fire destroyed my studio at 11:30 pm I had no renters insurance and it took 31 other axe's in my collection. After I got disabilied in 2001 I went full bore back into my guitar playing and song writing the strat was my main axe and had been with me thru many stage's of my life . Needless to say that guitar was like a dependable old friend when ever I picked her up. I still get the chills when I hit that sweet spot on my guitar , its the best high anyone can ask for . Its amazing the quality of my guitar I have became over the years ,I still play 8 to 10 hours a day and I am never bored. The Strat is the Bomb.
# Christopher 2015-02-28 18:33
Why did you you touch any base on Mexican Fender Stratocaster at all?
# Mikewillz 2015-08-20 09:36
dont like mexi Strats?
# Tom Laird 2015-01-27 04:33
Thank you for taking the time to put this article together. It will be a great help in picking the correct one for me.
# ben franklin 2014-10-02 18:01
I've played for over 200 years. once with G[blocked]e Washington on ukulele and Martha on drums but that was nothing till I got to play with Hendrix. Then came along Muddy and me token with David Gilmour. man time sure does fly when your jamming on your guitar!!!!
# Kent 2015-03-30 06:29
Which one did stevie ray Vaughn use
# Serendipitee 2015-07-20 23:03
His main was a 62-63 strat he customized a bit. The body and neck were different years.
# Chris 2014-07-18 16:39
I like some of these, and I know what I'm about to write is sacrilege to Fender aficionados, but I have a 1987 Kramer Baretta that I would not trade for ANY Fender. It has an original Floyd Rose, Schaller tuners, maple body, maple neck, and maple fingerboard, and I replaced the original Seymour Duncan JBII with an EMG-81 active pup. I also dressed the frets myself, and added a Tremol-no tremolo lock. Maybe I'll get a Jazz bass someday, but I'm not about to buy a Strat.
# Jeff G 2014-08-26 13:46
Those are two very different guitars with two very different sounds. Can't compare them.
# Hal 2014-04-04 05:09
I like the Players Deluxe model. You can use the pickups in all possible combinations. Anything else is redundant.
# Hal 2014-04-04 05:07
I like the Deluxe Players model. You can use the pickups in all possible combinations. Anything else is redundant.
# Inigo Montoya 2015-02-28 10:08
You keep using that word. I do not thnk it means what you think it means.
# Michael Rutherford 2014-04-01 05:11
To Lenn- You're right about the G&L, I played one in 1982 and fell in love with it, I bought, and I still have it. It's and Invader with a Kahler System (not Floyd Rose) and has the locking nut, I can dive bomb as hard as I want and it stays right in tune always. I did some work on it, putting EMG's in it and they are great in that guitar. It is a screamer with great tone and sustain. But mainly it plays like a dream and the tremolo is just right on it. But I still love my 70's Midnight Wine Strat, it will always be my favorite. Thank you Fender. Oh yeah, almost [blocked]ot, to solve the sound and amp problem and even any tonal problems get a POD HD 500, it makes you sound great through any amp, I promise. You can also make it sound like just about any amp at any volume. They're great!
# GaryW 2014-04-01 02:14
One says try the G&L, yep, tried it didn't like the feel. Went back to my 80's Strat. Can't beat the feel or the tonality of it. It is a feel that one is familiar to the hands. Everyone has a preference that is all that matters to the player.
# Lenn 2014-03-29 11:37
After 48 years of playing I have finally settled on the Strat as my go to and one and only. I have5 of them in various configurations but none of them are made by Fender (the company) One is a one off custom and the rest are from G&L, Leo's last word in design. (all BTO's). Insane tone and quality! To those of you playing Fenders I challenge to try a G&L and see the difference, ...you'll never go back.
# Herold Eby 2014-03-19 01:24
I am a guitar god with 55 years experience. I have a 2001 Standard Strat I'm very happy with it. It has a tone to die for. I am a very demanding player who is very particular about performance. I use Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings They are very long-lasting and have a dynamite tone with awesome sustain. These strings and my strat meet all of my demands. I couldn't be happier. I thank Fender very much for their high quality.
# Neil Hefti 2014-03-15 08:58
I've played over forty years, and it took me way too long to discover you will get better tone from a small amp turned up than you will from 100 watts plus on 1. Just my opinion. ( I currently play through a Deluxe and a Class 5 using an A/B splitter).
# uncleknubs 2014-03-14 02:43
I have 7 Stratocasters, 1970 4 bolt,
1995 Standard Strat, made in the U.S.A., one of a few made here after the Mexico plant burned down in 94. A 2008 Standard Strat, 2005 American Deluxe, my best one, 2009 Deluxe Player's Strat, 2010 Squire Strat, 2013 American Standard. All decent guitars, priced according to craftsmanship. The American Deluxe is a superior model, I'm not thrilled by the newer bent saddle design, I'll always be partial to the American Standard solid stainless steel saddles. I also install locking tuners on those without them, it's just faster to change strings. I own over 40 6 string guitars and the Strats are my favorite, I love my Les Paul's but something about a Strat just feels like an extension of the body, so more easily becomes part of me when I play. Strat and Les Paul will always be top dogs, but the Strat just epitomizes the working musician imo. I have 3 Telecasters and they aren't too shabby either, but Jimi Hendrix chose Strats for a reason right.
# Marc 2014-03-05 16:28
Been a Hendrix wanna be since age 10. I love the blues especially slow blues I have owned 3 Fender Statocasters. 2 standards and 1 HSS (currently) all made in Mexico. Great quality guitars for the price. I am going to purchase another standard statocaster and a standard telecaster. I was considering a 72 custom telecaster (2 Humbuckers) is this a good guitar for playing the blues which is what I would love to play. Also what kind of amp on a budget relative to my guitar budget
# Marc 2014-03-05 16:09
Been dreaming of playing since age 5 (wanted to be the next Hendrix or King) Finally stated lessons 5 yrs ago I got interrupted but I am going to give it another try just for me. I love fender guitars (ive owned a total of 3 all made in Mexico) I currently own a fender HSS (fat strat) because they fit my budget and are great quality guitars. I plan to add a few others like a standard strat, a standard tele and a 72 tele custom. I would like to find a good amp for playing the blues on a budget my current amp is only 25 watts. I hope to get good enough to use all of this stuff. I would appreciate any suggestions
# Gary W. 2014-03-03 12:36
Reply for Drew, I see it has been a bit since you posted. Hope This will help. Depending on music style or playing, most of the standard Strats or tele will fit the bill. Both are affordable and play easy on the hands. For an Amp any of the Fender series amps are good. I like the Frontman series myself, because I stay around the late 50's and 60's era of music. Gives great sound and ease of setup to your liking.
# Michael Rutherford 2014-03-03 11:08
I've been playing 50 years and I'm still hotter than a firecracker. Should have made it big, but never really cared about that, I just love to play, and when I play, I play my Strat. I've played in hundreds of bands, from Las Vegas show bands to hard rock, early rock, modern rock, country/western, and my Strats have helped me be so versatile as to achieve this sound coupled now with the Line 6 HD500, I've got all I need. Thank you Fender, for making the best guitars in the world as far as I'm concerned, I will never ever play another type of guitar(except for my acoustic work). I've already played all the other top guitars and nothing comes close to the tone and smoothness/or bite of my Strat. When my guitar speaks, it speaks volumes of tone/richness/smoothness or bite/crunchy or clean/or hotter than the hinges on the gates of hell. The absolute best guitar in the world by far, and I can make it do anything I want, because it will. Thank you Fender. Loyal player forever.
# BOB 2014-02-27 15:28
You will find the right guitar that is fit for you and the price could range from what your budget is. Sometimes you can pay alot for a guitar and you may not be satisfied with it. I think the price range that you said sounds good to me. When i get my squier, that will be in my price range also. I have a limit on my music gear and what feels good for me.
# BOB 2014-02-27 15:06
I also have been playing for 36 years and been in alot of local bands in this area. I have a older strat that i bought bran new back in the early 90's and still use it when i play in the band that i'm in now. I also have a modified tele and plan on keeping that one. I will not be satisfied until i buy or get a squier guitar and will use that one too. Fender and squier has a sound all of it's own and i should know cause i have heard just about every guitar out there.
# Drew 2014-01-14 12:40
Been playing 30 years..( still not good) Have a Martin D40 ( love it tough to play) Am looking for the best sounding Strat or Tele for a guy who wants to write songs for electric..Between $500-$700. and what amp?

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