Gonna drop $500 on a used Strat. What should I look for?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by conanb, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. conanb

    conanb Member

    Messages:
    921
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2015
    Found a few nice ones locally in the price range but they all have things I like and don't like. One is a HSS and I like the idea of a Humbucker on the strat but I've never played one so I dunno. I love your basic old style strat (but not the giant head). So, you know, recommend me something. thanks.
     
  2. Springfieldscooter

    Springfieldscooter Member

    Messages:
    1,372
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2017
    Ibanez, and pocket the difference.
     
    metrokosmiko, tibone and conanb like this.
  3. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

    Messages:
    25,860
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Used Hwy1. MIA and can be found for $450-550. Replace the PUPs and you have a great guitar "on a budget" that sounds very nice. I have four US made Strats and my #1 is a 2003 Hwy 1 with Fralin SP43 PUPs.
     
  4. disconnector

    disconnector It's been swell, but the swelling's gone down. Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,544
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    I have a MIM (Made in Mexico) strat that I think has amazing tone regardless of price so you definitely can get what your looking for in that price bracket.

    Strats (in my opinion) are pretty consistent creatures as long as nothing is badly wrong. If it feels good just swap pickups to get to where you want to be. The country of manufacture is not a good indicator of tone for me.
     
  5. stonem

    stonem Member

    Messages:
    2,305
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2008
    Location:
    Springfield Illinois
    I got a avri 57 hot rod for 450 from music go round once as they had it marked as a mij strat. Look for steals like that or plus 1 to the highway one suggestion.
     
    bxlxaxkxe likes this.
  6. 67super

    67super Member

    Messages:
    1,505
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    Standard MIM Strats are available on CL all the time in the $300 range in great condition. Since 2009 they have had beefed up frets and trem block. They are great for upgrading pickups and having a real nice guitar.
     
    Visual Guy likes this.
  7. Family Man

    Family Man Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,293
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2016
    Location:
    USA
    Used Classic Player or Highway One Strat. Congratulations, your search is over.
     
    m.e., conanb and Benz2112 like this.
  8. witafro2

    witafro2 Member

    Messages:
    704
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Location:
    Orange County
    Most MIM strats, from what I've seen (don't quote me on this), are routed for a humbucker in the bridge, so you can always put one there if you so desire it. If you're going to buy a MIM, see if you can play it first. Some are duds, some are amazing. I have a 50s Road Worn Strat which was a little north of your $500 budget (550 i think) which is phenomenal. If you can find one that plays and feels well in the $300-350 range that'll leave you with enough in your budget to upgrade pickups
     
    David Garner and conanb like this.
  9. conanb

    conanb Member

    Messages:
    921
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2015
    Thanks for all the great advice. Will update once the search is over :)
     
    Family Man likes this.
  10. monty

    monty Member

    Messages:
    20,504
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    parts unknown
    Yeah if you wand buckers a HW1 is the way to go. Just make sure you bond with the frets first.
     
    FenderBigot likes this.
  11. dazco

    dazco Member

    Messages:
    13,336
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    I bought a squier classic vibe 50;s a while back and upgraded it and i gotta tell you, this thing not only hangs with most any strat i have owned MIM or USA. Fret work is so good it seems pleked, and the action is as good as anything once i set it they way i like. The tone....well, i can't put it down and play it more then my fenders right now. Build quality it so good i cannot find anything thats not perfect, seriously. they do require upgrading if you want them to hang with anything. A full size block is a necessity IMO. But the pickups are fine. I'd say block or bridge upgrade, switch/pots upgrade and thats all u really need. I'm really picky so i did more by putting a bone nut in and different pickups, but i now went back to the stock bridge pickup and think i prefer it to the others i tried. (van zandt ! and tex mex) You just cannot beat these things ! They're stupid good. My other strat is a upgraded classic 60s thats been my #1 for almost 20 years and while nothing is going to knock it out of that spot because my fav tone is the rosewood neck strat sound, the CV 50's is easily as good a guitar. Plus you can get away with under $500 new after upgrades. I see em new for $350 often.
     
    conanb likes this.
  12. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Member

    Messages:
    4,739
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Pawnshops and CL can be your best friend if you put in the time and work
    to find a killer deal.

    If you're going to find a quality Strat for a great price, you're going to have to hunt it down.

    I'd go used all the way so you can get more Strat for your money.

    These are Strats I've picked up in the last 2 years.

    CL Trade:
    $500 - '75 Fender Strat (Traded $500 Fender Tele)

    Pawnshop Scores:
    $325 - '90 Fender Strat Plus
    $435 - '07 Fender '57 AVRI Strat
    $438 - '89 Fender Stnd. Strat.
     
    ant_riv likes this.
  13. dazco

    dazco Member

    Messages:
    13,336
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    Holy #$@^ !!! Must be the Texas vs Los Angeles thing because CL here it's almost impossible to find anything cheaper than what they go for new to maybe 20% off of that if you're lucky. And pawnshops around here know what guitars are worth. Many of them have one employee dedicated to pricing thier guitar and related stuff. Lived here all my life and never seen one deal like those. Either youlre the luckiest guitar player on earth or i gotta move to texas ! :D

     
    Texsunburst59 likes this.
  14. scotty31

    scotty31 Member

    Messages:
    3,286
    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    My recommendations with all strats is play it before you buy it.
    Though Fender have really lifted in terms of consistency over the last decade, but ive always felt strats to be more individual instruments than pretty much every other type of mass produced guitar you can buy.

    Not so much in the quality, but in the feel and whether it's the right one for you.

    I still remember buying my first one back in 1998. I played 5 different California strats for a good 3 hours before i settled on the one i bought. Still own that guitar and it remains the most natural guitar for me to play.
    A couple of luthiers have commented on how nice the wood is in it too.

    Play it unplugged first and foremost. if you like the way it sounds unplugged, and the way it plays in your hands, you're onto a winner
     
    conanb likes this.
  15. 73Fender

    73Fender Member

    Messages:
    3,982
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2010
    Location:
    NJ
    Start with what specs you want first? Vintage vs modern bridge and radius to start.

    I like the Classic 50s and 60s, Roadworns probably more not coming to mind for that price..Standard MIMs can be fine too_Oh..Jimmie Vaughn model maybe.

    As said buy used, hopefully you have time to hunt for a good one. Good luck.
     
  16. Baxter Stockman

    Baxter Stockman Member

    Messages:
    598
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2014
    Location:
    Tejas
    Got an 04 Highway One Strat back in about 2007 from a friend for $300. It's not my most expensive guitar, but it is by far my favorite.
     
    FenderBigot and conanb like this.
  17. scott944

    scott944 Member

    Messages:
    3,833
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Another vote for run the racks, buy used, mod to taste.
     
    conanb likes this.
  18. ksandvik

    ksandvik Member

    Messages:
    6,331
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    HSS Strats are very versatile. I would mostly look for neck issues as those are nasty.
     
    conanb likes this.
  19. TheDropout

    TheDropout Member

    Messages:
    1,164
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Location:
    midwest
    Ive slowly grown to like the cbs headstocks. I dont own a strat with one but i think i should.
     
  20. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

    Messages:
    14,507
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Location:
    PNW
    a) easy to change out the HB with a new pickguard if you dont like it.
    b) MIM strats kill!
     
    conanb likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice