...I thought about this and what my mind tells me is,...I'm going to answer in just terms of the OP.'s question,...a Strat., which is a 'Fender' product not G&L, Suhr, Kirn, etc., and I'm going to go with the good 'ol tried and true AmStd.,...I've had them more 'consistant' than any other 'Fender' labeled. My HSS that I have now has just a wonderful neck, and I've got it set-up right and tight...sustain for days, and a light touch is all that is needed for a great response. Tom
Spend a little time on ebay and you can pick up a used Am Dlx Strat (2002 - 2007 are the years I like), then swap out the pickups and control harness for those from your favorite manufacturer, then take it to your favorite pro for good setup and you will have a fabulous Strat.
Used American Deluxe in showroom condition $900
+ New pickups/control harness/pickguard $400
+ Pro setup $85
The prices I've listed are in the middle range of what I've paid for each component (except setup), but only one, out of five, has gone above $1500 total and that's because it was a limited edition that I really wanted (none more black) and I put Kinman pickups/controls in it (Kinmans are good, but spendy). Even it stayed south of $1700. 2 outta 5 were <$1000 all in. That may go to 3 depending on what pickups/harness I choose for the 5th.