Hot Take: Strats Are Awful ;)


Even though I only own one Fender, I consider myself much more in the Fender camp these days. The guitars they have been putting out lately have looked awesome. The parallel universe series was awesome. The new Meteora looks amazing. My dream is to get a Jaguar one day. I also really want a Starcaster. I have a pretty long Fender wish list right now. :D
The Starcaster shape is awesome! Such it’s own thing and jampacked with mojo and vibe. The thing I love most about Fender guitars is (to me) they have so much more scope for modding than Gibson. So many possibilities!

Mas Maris

Well.. it's the internet so I have to tell everybody my opinion.
If you asked me six months ago I would have been on your side. Despite being a single coil guy for the last 10 years I never found anything in a Strat that made me want to own one. My father had one in the sixtees, my uncle too and other blooze dadz a plenty. You know, I had that kind of pretentious superiority complex typical of every "new" generation. I thought the shape was too popular, the middle pickup unnecessary and the tremolo a POS. that's what Teles are made for, right? But since I am a deep admirer of Leo's work I kept saying to myself that there must be something, I mean Hendrix and Gilmour (even Blackmore) are like the staples of my tone! I played one every time I could, a dozen in stores, another half a dozen from fellow musicians, nothing clicked.
Then I decided to trade in an LTD EC1000 with JB/59 that I bought to see if my dislike for hot humbuckers was still there, and the clerk showed me the rack with the classic players and I spotted this fiesta red strat that was gorgeous. Really caught my eye immediately, mint pickguard, cream plastica, beautiful. I played it and it was nothing special, I asked for another Fiesta red because I love the color and he brought me a Squier CV50. Well, I couldn't believe it. I must have played one hour straight, I was Stoked. Cheap bridge, a couple of high frets (nothing Major) and ugly pickguard were the only things wrong. Tonewise it was amazing, comfortable to play and light. I took it home together with a Fender The Pelt (awesome fuzz btw) and many doodads, might have been the most rewarding trade in my Life.
I took care of the slightly high frets, put a set of TI bebops 11, tuned to D standard and was in heaven. I don't care for the pickguard but, thickness apart, It has the right colour.
After some months I say I'm a convert. Still thinks the jazzmaster vibrato is better but the Strat can be made to behave properly even on a cheap import, now I care for the middle pickup and I actually think it is my favourite, very responsive to where you pick, a la acoustic. I swapped around the middle and neck because I didnt like the bridge+middle and I missed the bridge+neck. To me it gained in versatility, fortunately enough the second tone pot was already wired to the bridge, and that allows you to actually use the bridge pickup, and even like It!
It was a long journey, but I came home Leo.


Strats are a challenge, and I think that is why I play them.
Getting great tone out of a Marshall and a Les Paul is easy. Anyone can do that. :rockin
Getting a great strat tone is HARD. :bkw
I think strat players are so obsessive because it is really, really hard to get them to sound great on a consistent basis. Constant failure keeps them tweeking set-ups, amps, pickups, etc.
However, a really great strat tone, rare as it is, is a thing of great beauty :drink


i agree on the arrangement of controls and switch, it takes some gymnastics to do palm muting, it is easy to hit the switch, and middle pickup seems to be in the way sometimes

I find it bizarre that high string does not sit on the middle of pole piece

sound-wise, it shines through all sort of pedals and with every amp that I have

the neck is very comfy and playable to me

I used to like the sounds it made with CS69/CS69/SSL5, I still do, but since having installed P90s in a Dean Icon, I play the strat less and less


I plugged the MIJ Strat we have in this arvo. It’s standard aside of the bridge pickup which is a Kinman noiseless vintage type. Super quiet but weak. My conclusion is that a Strat, properly EQed and at a moderate to high volume does sound good, even great. But as soon as it’s not making the speaker work, and I don’t necessarily mean overdriven but that too, then the body and character disappear, at least for me. Especially with the vintage style, low powered rear pickup. And when that happens it’s really hard to play your best. The feel is wrong. But that’s just my experience.


For the longest time I didn't get Strats or Teles. I came from the pointy guitar era, so the natural transition would have been a Strat, but it was so easy to get a great tone out of a Les Paul into a Marshall, so I did that for 10 years, and in the last year, all I do is chase tone on a Strat and Tele. There's something extremely satisfying of playing articulate on a Strat and Tele. It's not an easy horse to ride. Especially when you are playing a mostly clean amp with a bit of grit. So hard. Respect to those that can.


Silver Supporting Member
Things I dislike about Stratocasters

1. A single coil in the bridge
2. The middle pickup
3. The control layout
4. The trem

Things I like about the Stratocaster

1. It's the most comfortable body shape to play that has ever been designed.

When buying a custom Stratocaster type guitar one can easily remedy those top 4 dislikes and you'll still have the most comfortable guitar ever designed.


I feel the same, never cared for or bonded with any strats…the bridge pickup is like an ice pick and the design has been copied so much, it just seems generic. The only one I own is an HH configuration Charvel So Cal.

That’s not to knock strats, plenty of people love them and for good reason…but def not for me. OTOH, I def have a borderline unhealthy addiction to Les Pauls. Everyone has their thing.


View attachment 541428 View attachment 541429 View attachment 541431 View attachment 541433
View attachment 541437 Here are some of my super Strats! The black 1987 Fender Japan Contemporary Strat with OEM Kahler Spyder tremolo bridge is probably the closest to a stock Fender Strat with upgraded EMG SA pickups & SPC module installed. This is the guitar that brought me back to playing a Fender Strat again!

The candy apple red 1998 Fender Floyd Rose Classic Strat is the guitar that I was visualizing in my head for a long time and I found the right guitar for me!

The 1994 Hamer USA Diablo II & 1990 Hamer USA Chapparal Elite 90 guitars are my idea of a 24 fret shredder guitar with a humbucker/single/humbucker pickup configuration and a Schaller Floyd Rose tremolo bridge.

The black 1993 Ibanez RG-570 with Dimarzio PAF Pro & Fast Track pickups was a badazz guitar with the slim Wizard neck & Edge tremolo. I had to let it go when it met an encounter with a bandmate's brother who decided to steal my guitar after a show, cracked the headstock, and returns it to me with a damaged headstock.

Guitar George

Love them dude, especially the Diablo. Hamer’s best guitar IMHO.


SSS strats sound better with fx pedals and strats in general sound good through any style amp from any era at any volume.


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Did a gig last night. Played a tele. Played a strat. Played a GFI.
They all sounded good.
I have a 335, 330, melody maker, charvel, a rick lapsteel, fender stringmaster, supro lapsteel, and a couple more strats and another tele.

None of them are awful. All are really, really good guitars.

John Vasco

Confession: I hate Stratocasters. I just never liked them. I hate the way they play. I hate the way they feel. I hate the way they look. I hate the controls. I hate 3 pickup guitars in general. I used to have a nice MiM Strat that I picked up on a whim. I ended up just giving it to a friend as a present because I never played it. Ironically, some of my favorite guitar gods play Strats. Gilmour, Clapton, Edge, etc. I just never bonded with them.

Anyone else dislike Strats as much as I do? Or am I just a weirdo? :p
I'm with ya!

The only good thing Banjocasters are good for is firewood! Plink, plink, quack, quack!


Silver Supporting Member
I don't hate Fender Strats at all myself, just haven't found one that I've truly bonded with yet nor have I got one where the setup 100% where I wanted it to be perfect for me.

But, give me my Suhr Classic S and now we're talking! That's got some Mojo. I also have a superstrat too.

Just because you don't bond with a guitar, doesn't mean you hate it. It's just not for you as a player.

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