I’m thinking that it’s about time I got a good old Stratocaster in my guitar collection. I’m able to afford a US-built one; I’ve read lots of back and forth on guitar sites about Mexican vs US Fenders and my mind is made up on that one, I’m going for the US built models. This is something I’ll keep for the rest of my life so I’m willing to make an investment.
There are three price points I can consider in the US Strat line: the Standard (US$1099), Professional (US$1399), and Elite (US$1799-1899), although for the latter it’d have to be something that just blew my doors off. Much more likely I’ll stay at the lower two price points.
Anyone have any recent experience with these models? Fortunately I have a decent selection to play at my local mom & pop guitar store (Fender is their main brand, like lots of their ilk) so I’ll be able to make direct comparisons. But would appreciate any conventional wisdom or advice… thanks!
I was going to suggest (and thankfully your local shop has several), make certain that you play several of them. Even the American strats can vary pretty wildly in build quality AND tone between identical models. This is even more true of Gibsons.
Their quality control isn’t what it used to be. Although, it IS improving (Fender’s).
Keep in mind, I’m not trying to talk you out of it. I have a strat and only a strat can do the “strat thing”. I’m just saying that it pays to take your time and find “the one”. In every batch, you’ll find one that speaks to you more than others. It won’t matter where it was made to be honest. You’ll just know
Will definitely take my time on this! I do want that genuine Strat sound (and feel).
I have to first get the closet in my music room where I store my guitars all reorganized so that I can fit another one in there. That’s kind of the deal I have with my wife, I won’t buy more instruments than I can fit in that closet.
And the notion that there is variability in the builds is what I was obliquely referring to by saying the highest priced model would have to be a LOT better than the less expensive ones to tempt me to spend that much. My FNGS (Friendly Neighborhood Guitar Store) has ten Strats from these price points on the wall according to the website, and the nearby Guitar Center has five, with another dozen at a store waaaaay across town (hour-plus drive each way, so it’s a last resort) so whenever I get around to actually test driving them, I’ll have plenty of selection.
I’m not at all against going for something used as well, and will keep my eyes open on the local classifieds, but that’s always hit and miss of course. And frankly my jam-packed work calendar doesn’t give me much flexibility for the various in-person meetups that a private party sale requires. So we shall see…
Jimi would be proud
i have a old squire that was made in the usa its not the cheap ones they make now and it sounds and plays just as good as $1500 american fender strat. An other model i really love and grew up with is the mustang my dad has a original 66’ with a barrel trem on it some day ill get that.
I was doing some reading last night and it turns out that the Professional model is intended to replace the Standard, which Fender is phasing out in favor of the higher-priced Professional. Whatever Standards that dealers have in stock now is pretty much it, no more will be made. The big rollout is going to be happening in early 2017, but dealers already have Professional guitars in stores, at least if the websites are accurately capturing the current inventories. So it might be a good time to make a move, because one could compare them directly and see if the new model is worth the extra few hundred.
One feature of the Professional that they’re touting is on the necks (this is true of the Professional line of Teles too). They’re slightly tapered, being thinner up toward the head but a bit thicker down toward the body. The intent is to make it easier to fret up and down the neck. They also have replaced the jumbo wide frets with “narrow tall”, meaning that they stand a bit taller but also are narrower such that there is slightly more space between the frets than before. So that’ll be something to look for when making the Standard vs Pro comparison.
They are ditching the Standard?!?
I hadn’t heard that. You’d have thought that Fender would’ve taken notes from Gibson’s 2015 fiasco. Gibson learned the hard way that if something works… leave it alone.
It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. Lol
I’m another hater of the strat. I have tried many over the years and I have never been even closely satisfied with any of their playability or sound. Ive been told I need to do this or that and even tried a couple times and was always unsatisfied. It always sounds so thin and boring, and if that’s the sound then I don’t like it. however, of the different ones out there I’ve seen quality hit and miss from extremes where a squire was much better than a standard… I wouldn’t rule out the aerodyne Japanese models either. The basses are fantastic, but I’ve never played an aerodyne guitar. If you have the opportunity I would also consider looking at the music man stingray guitar, either the Sterling series or the actual Music man. I have a Reflex and it redefined the way I felt about that style of guitar, and I absolutely love the feel of it. Another option is to look at G&L. I recently bought a G&L tribute series (made in Indonesia) and it plays great and right in a good price range for quality and value, I cant imagine how the American model is any better… But from my understanding G&L was Leo Fenders other company after he sold fender and while working with music man and was able to do some other things… G&L is very fender based compared to music man, and both might give you a few extra options to find something a little easier on the pocket. ive played G&L when I was younger, but couldn’t afford it back then, but I preferred those over fender guitars. I don’t know what they do different, but I was never a fender guitar fan, and when looking I always started gravitating to those 2 companies…
I have a Strat and I don’t play it anymore because it’s too bloody noisy, it picks us EM and radio from the whole neighborhood. I think there might be one position (facing a wall at a certain angle) where it’s tolerable, but anywhere else is practically useless. I hate that.
That’s ANY single coil. It’s just the nature of the beast. Single coils are noisy. I record with singles pretty often (P-90s) and I have to stand and face a certain way to minimize the noise, Once I’m off and running though it’s not noticeable.
Depends on the kind of music you do. With high gain, yeah, I suppose a gate will get rid of noises when the guitar is not playing and when it’s playing, it doesn’t matter anymore. But for clean tones and more delicate playing, the noise is too noticeable for my taste.
Interesting views…! Well, I can certainly hear a distinctive Strat sound and tone in many players’ work, and I dig it. But hey, if it doesn’t work once it’s in my hands, it doesn’t work…
I’d heard of the G&L line before, but there isn’t one in my area (Houston) as far as I can tell. They don’t appear to be very easy to get.
My Les Paul with P90s is noisier than my Heritage with Humbuckers, or the Variax, but I haven’t worked with it yet for anything particularly subtle. Another selling point of these new Pro models is purported improvements in the noise levels.