Few questions about looking for a new Strat-

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by ronin32, Jun 29, 2006.


  1. ronin32

    ronin32 Member

    Messages:
    981
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    In the next few months, I'll prob. be picking up a new Fender Strat. What should I be looking for when choosing which one will be coming home with me? I know I want a Fender, and American made, 3 or 2 tone burts with maple fretboard, and all single coils w/trem. like the American standard's.

    When picking out a new guitar, what do you guys look for? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. nland

    nland Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2006
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Presently, I own two American Series strats, one in a 3-tone sunburst with maple fretboard, and the other in Olympic White with a maple fretboard. One is a 2003 and the other a 2004.

    Here's what impressed me about the strats besides the tone...stainless steel bridge, dual fulcrum trem as opposed to the 6 screw type (much smoother) and the necks are incredible on the new American strats as well as on the Highway Ones. One of the preferences I have with the american series is that these strats have a 9.5" radius as opposed to the vintage 7.25", and the frets are medium jumbo as opposed to the vintage "nail frets".

    One of the things I always check on a strat is the neck pocket, making sure the neck is seated firmly both on the bottom as well as the side. Also,check the factory set up...I owned a previous strat where the saddles were set pretty high, but the action was still at the recommended string height (2/32"). If I wanted the action higher, I would have had to shim the neck. I have noticed that strats DO vary with the depth of the neck pocket, and the slighest difference can be the difference between shimming the neck or not...and I prefer not to. The nuts on the newer strats are cut really well. Also, I've bought many strats where it was guaranteed that the truss rod would need tightened...no big deal, just more of a set up issue.

    Overall, for me, the biggest issue with a strat is always the neck pocket. I always look to make sure the neck is sitting tight in the pocket.
     
  3. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,653
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    After 40+ years playing Strats, IMO the best way to choose one is to close your eyes and let your hands, ears, & soul will tell you which one you personally connect with. And don't be biased visually by the cosmetics. Also keep in mind that two Strats of the exact same model can sound very different....so try every one you can lay your hands on.

    Keep an open mind....the best modern Strat I've played is the Mexican made Jimmie Vaughan model. "American made" does not guarantee it will be better.

    Bottom line: Look for tone, feel, and build quality without regard to the cosmetics unless all else is equal.
     
  4. sinner

    sinner Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,650
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    The Expanse
    VaughnC is right-on, there are a million Strats and every one is different (though the same!). Look for fit and finish, playability and feel. Many may only need a good pro set-up or if you work on them yourself you will be able to then tell if that's what's only holding it back.

    Many like the Eric Johnson strat, so have a look. Also compare the American to the Mexican and the Custom shop--if your budget allows.

    You said you will be "bringing one home" so you already have the best odds--by playing first.
     
  5. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    35,300
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Northern VA
    I agree with everything the good Dr. V has said but I would take cosmetics into account, not as the end all/be all but as another factor to consider.

    It's all about feeling a connection and wanting to pick it up and play that particular guitar. Your eyes are one of your senses along with your ears for hearing and hands for feeling - use them.

    P.S. I went through a baker's dozen '52 RIs before knowing the 14th was THE ONE. That's the way it is with production Fenders - if you know what you're doing and seeking, there ain't no better deal anywhere.
     
  6. Jack The Riffer

    Jack The Riffer Member

    Messages:
    1,120
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    Location:
    Out West
    Sigh.

    You have no idea what your'e getting into.

    Coupla months from now when you do your "check out my strats" (plural)
    you'll know what I mean.

    All the advice thus far is on the money. There are a lot of really nice MIM (made in mexico) strats so don't think you HAVE to spend a ton of money. Well, you can and eventually you will but Fender offers a lot of great choices so have fun in your search. And don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you want btw.

    :BEER
     
  7. Strung Up

    Strung Up Member

    Messages:
    1,605
    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Location:
    Crazy, mixed-up world
    Play them each unplugged for a while. (Go into a corner, or an 'Acoustic' room if you have to.) The sales folks are liable to set you up with an amp that dresses up and/or masks the individual guitar's sonic qualities.
     
  8. bullet69

    bullet69 Member

    Messages:
    522
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
  9. ronin32

    ronin32 Member

    Messages:
    981
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    Last night I found one that felt like it was the one, funny thing is, it is the same one that I had first looked at after reading everyones posts on what to look for. Its a MIA Standard, maple f.b. with burst finish. The neck pocket is nice and tight, unpluged it just rings and sound nice IMO. I tried everyone the shop had, from MIM standards, up to a EJ strat-which is a nice guitar but the neck didnt feel as right for me over the one I brought home. I really couldnt be happier with my new guitar, it makes me want to just do nothing but play!:dude

    Once I get a chance I'll have to get a photobucket account and put some pics up. Again thanks to everyone who posted on what to look for, it really helped me out.:BEER
     
  10. voodoochile

    voodoochile Member

    Messages:
    594
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    St Louis, MO
    +1 for the EJ. I have played Strats for a few years and it is a great one. The EJ has the nitrocellulose finish which is okay for me, but I prefer a more satin finish on the neck. If you are into the signature type strats, John Mayer's is a great one that has a satin neck, comes in burst, and has some nice pick ups.

    Aside from that, do as the other posts suggest and let your ears and fell do the rest.
     

Share This Page