Advice Needed on Buying a Strat

electroman

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I'm helping my neighbour buy a Strat for her husband. She wants an iconic 60s type Strat made in the USA. Vintage is not an option, so I suggested one of the various American series guitars that have been issued over the last couple of decades. My question is, is there one particular model or issue that stands above the others for quality? The 7 1/2 inch radius is not preferred, even though I know it is more authentic. I guess we're looking for something that is generally true to the 60s Strat, but upgrades like the slightly flatter radius, better pickups and modern wiring, are fine. The one that currently stands out to me is the American Original 60s Stratocaster which has just been discontinued, or so it would appear. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
 

KC

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The American Standard Strat is hard to beat for quality and price. Mine is a 2012 with fat 50s pickups, modern wiring (no-load tone on both middle & bridge pickups), lightweight and easy playing. This series started in 2008, switched to the Fat 50s in 2012, replaced by the American Professional in 2016. It's a lot of guitar for the money, and looks a lot like any other small-headstock Strat.
 

sax4blues

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Does she have any idea what he wants? I know this could sound really snooty, but I want what I want. I have purchased nine guitars over the years and each one was very specific, although each was stock major brand model. I was given one guitar, I played it once or twice, hung it on the wall, and haven't touched it since.

Maybe make a couples shopping experience out of this. Going to stores, even different day trip to nearby towns, having lunch. A guitar purchased this way will have all kinds of good memories attached.
 

fleezinator

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Does she have any idea what he wants? I know this could sound really snooty, but I want what I want. I have purchased nine guitars over the years and each one was very specific, although each was stock major brand model. I was given one guitar, I played it once or twice, hung it on the wall, and haven't touched it since.

Maybe make a couples shopping experience out of this. Going to stores, even different day trip to nearby towns, having lunch. A guitar purchased this way will have all kinds of good memories attached.
On that note, assuming this is going to be a gift or surprise of sorts, she could wrap an him an empty hard case with a note inside that its contents can be found at x or y guitar shop
 

MattAndTheMachine

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(...) I guess we're looking for something that is generally true to the 60s Strat, but upgrades like the slightly flatter radius, better pickups and modern wiring, are fine. (...)
Interesting question, I have been looking through current and discontinued models for something like this as well.
Seems like it is harder than you think it should be.

Perhaps the Eric Johnson Signature would be an option? Well, it is modeled after a 50s strat, but has classic looks with a 12" radius and up to date electronics.

But I completely agree with the others - the specs are only relevant if you know what you´re looking for.
 

adjason

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american original 60's strat is a great choice! On the cheaper route is the vintera 60's strat.
 
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electroman

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Thanks for the info guys. It sounds like he really would like a connection with his 1960s past through the Strat, so once I discovered that it narrowed things down. I was looking at the American Standards, as suggested, and they look pretty great, especially for the money; great value. The one I keep coming back to though is the American Original '60s Stratocaster, which was also suggested. I like it because it is closest to the 60s originals, at least the transitional models of that era: nitro finish, Kluson tuners, repro pickups, (reportedly) and a couple of minor improvements like the 9 1/2" radius, which Fender might have moved over to at some point in the 60s anyway. They are discontinued and seem to have held their value well. Looks like the $2000 USD range for new or excellent used. I don't think that 'shell pink' would be his choice, so that leaves olympic white and sunburst to choose from. I like the rosewood fingerboards. Thanks again for everyone's input.
 

dreamingtele

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American Standard 2011-2017 - are probably the best ones. They went with some changes/improvements in this period (Fat50’s pickups, etc)..

American Originals is the next step up. They’re very good.

Although, I think I’m the worse person to advice you as I’ve had 5 strats and the last one lasted for a month before I solid it off. However, I seem to have found the strat I’m happy to keep, which is an AVRI 57.

What I like is, I want my strats to be as light as I can get it. Ideally I like them in the 7-8lb range. You’d have to sift through a lot tho, but CS guitars would be in this range - but more expensive.

Other specs (radius, fretwire, etc) doesnt really matter to me as they can all be set up to how I want them to play.
 

John C

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Thanks for the info guys. It sounds like he really would like a connection with his 1960s past through the Strat, so once I discovered that it narrowed things down. I was looking at the American Standards, as suggested, and they look pretty great, especially for the money; great value. The one I keep coming back to though is the American Original '60s Stratocaster, which was also suggested. I like it because it is closest to the 60s originals, at least the transitional models of that era: nitro finish, Kluson tuners, repro pickups, (reportedly) and a couple of minor improvements like the 9 1/2" radius, which Fender might have moved over to at some point in the 60s anyway. They are discontinued and seem to have held their value well. Looks like the $2000 USD range for new or excellent used. I don't think that 'shell pink' would be his choice, so that leaves olympic white and sunburst to choose from. I like the rosewood fingerboards. Thanks again for everyone's input.

I don't mean to be a buzz kill - but if you're going to point her to the American Originals she needs to move fast; they have been discontinued and the last of the new ones are trickling out of the factory (Fender is only fulfilling orders placed before the dealers were informed the series was discontinued).

The long-delayed NAMM show is coming up in June; the expectation is that Fender will announce the replacements for the American Original series at the show.
 

Milspec

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In my opinion, the Strat-Plus series in the '90's with the LSR roller nut is about as perfect of a factory Strat as one can get. It had it all.

It is also the only Strat that I kept after the great purging. Even with the Gold Lace Sensors, they are my favorite and only model I would buy.
 

electroman

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I don't mean to be a buzz kill - but if you're going to point her to the American Originals she needs to move fast; they have been discontinued and the last of the new ones are trickling out of the factory (Fender is only fulfilling orders placed before the dealers were informed the series was discontinued).

The long-delayed NAMM show is coming up in June; the expectation is that Fender will announce the replacements for the American Original series at the show.
I think ther're already gone. Not one dealer has them listed in stock. The new Professional II line looks like it was designed to make the accountants happy. I'm sure the stamped Klusons and nitro finishes on the Original series affected the bottom line. The new pro 2 has a laminated body with an alder top and Fender doesn't mention what the wood is in the rest of the body. We'll be looking at used guitars for sure. The American Standards seem to be great value while the American Original 60s seem to have stayed in the $2000-2500 USD range.
 

Jakedog

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The new MIJ JV 60’s Modified is an amazing guitar that has the features you want. It has the larger late 60’s headstock and logo, which I think is a plus, but some people hate. It’s much nicer guitar than anything from Mexico currently on the wall at my local GC. And has better fret and nut work than the MIA stuff there as well. If I were in the market for a brand new Fender right now, it ticks a lot of boxes.
 
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John C

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I think ther're already gone. Not one dealer has them listed in stock. The new Professional II line looks like it was designed to make the accountants happy. I'm sure the stamped Klusons and nitro finishes on the Original series affected the bottom line. The new pro 2 has a laminated body with an alder top and Fender doesn't mention what the wood is in the rest of the body. We'll be looking at used guitars for sure. The American Standards seem to be great value while the American Original 60s seem to have stayed in the $2000-2500 USD range.

I haven't heard any rumors lately, but in the fall when the news of the AOs being discontinued first hit the hot rumor was a return to vintage radius - so probably back more to an AVRI (the mid-1998 to mid-2012 version) than a full return to the AV models (the August 2012-2017 versions). We'll see what they do; who knows there could be an "American Original II" series with Fender doing some tweaks to the outgoing models. I don't think they will abandon this slot in their lineup.

I've never heard of the American Pro IIs having alder tops/laminated bodies; but since I've never cared for the American Professional/Pro II neck shape when I was on a Tele hunt I didn't spend a lot of time with them; I went with the American Performer because it has my preferred the neck shape and I liked the pickups better vs. the Pro II.
 

MattAndTheMachine

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(...) The new pro 2 has a laminated body with an alder top and Fender doesn't mention what the wood is in the rest of the body. We'll be looking at used guitars for sure. (...)
Are you sure about this? I think it would be quite shocking if it was true ...
I hope you can find something used that ticks all the boxes.
 

electroman

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Are you sure about this? I think it would be quite shocking if it was true ...
I hope you can find something used that ticks all the boxes.
Well I read a list of specs for it the other day and for the body it said 'alder top' which led me to believe that it has a laminated top. I just went to the Fender site now and it appears that is not the case. I'll try to find the previous reference out of curiosity.

I play home made Teles and Gretsches, so the last few days have been an education learning about all the variations of Strats released over the last couple of decades. If I was buying for myself, I'd probably be shopping for a Japanese Fender. My neighbour really wants a US made Fender, and that's cool, I get that she wants to giver her husband what in her mind is 'the real deal'; from an iconic USA company. I thought I had found a 2014 American Standard for her at a good price, but she saw a surf green one online and I think she was quite impressed. Sure, who doesn't like a surf green Strat?

Of all the variations there is one thing that I don't get at all, probably because I'm not a Strat player. Why would anyone want a guitar with a 7 1/2" radius? 9 1/2", 12", compound....great, but what is the appeal of 7 1/2"?
 




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