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Best model/age of used Strat to go for.

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by scubadoo, Feb 6, 2020.

  1. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Holic

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    Yes! My forever Tele is the '88 Am Std in my profile pic, bought new in the spring of 1989. When I went Strat hunting my goal was to find one that felt as good in my hands as my Tele... That's how I ended up with my '99 Am Std Strat. Those two guitars are like sisters, they feel like home to me.
     
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  2. BluesGuitarMart

    BluesGuitarMart Tele-Meister

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    Not Fender but I recently had DY Guitars in the UK build me a Strat to my specs and I couldn't be happier with it. And it was a great price too.

    For Fender, I'd always recommend the Highway 1s as they can be found at really good prices now and they're great Strats.

    Edit: Just saw you've built guitars yourself so probably no need to have somebody else build you one!
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
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  3. TwangerWannabe

    TwangerWannabe Tele-Holic

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    I'll throw a curveball here and say look for an old Stratocaster Plus, and hear me out first.

    Yes, these are freakin' ugly and were mostly made in (IMO) super ugly colors (but give Fender a break, it was the late 80's/early 90's). However, I just picked one up and looks aside, this is one of the best Strats I've ever owned and has great features. Two-way adjustable truss rod, the locking tuners make string changes effortless and help the guitar stay in tune better, the Wilkinson roller nut is awesome, there's a Wilkinson Tremsetter installed that's from the factory and keeps the guitar in tune when using the tremolo, and the TBX tone control gives you more tonal options. Oh, and the three Lace Sensor Gold pickups are DEAD quiet and have a great vintage Fender sound to them. I've had a few sets of Fender 57/62 pickups in other guitars over the years and the Gold Lace Sensors are pretty darn similar without the 60 cycle hum.

    For playing out I probably wouldn't reach for this guitar simply because of aesthetics, but for playing at home and recording this is a very tough guitar to beat. I'd bet this would be a great guitar for a session player as well. I picked up mine from the original owner for under $500 earlier this week. The body doesn't have a mark on it, but there's some fret wear, so it was obviously played, but very well-cared for. It looks purple, but it's actually midnight blue. Over time the clear coat yellows and that's why it looks more purple (another reason I'd never play out with this guitar.)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
  4. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    I find a neck I like. I usually end up buying something Japanese. :)
     
  5. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    I have a few, Strats

    Things that matter the most to me are the neck, always the neck. You state if I remember correctly you want a RW FB. Where do you want truss rod adjustment - this may determine a departure from AVRI. Second is a two prong issue with the body, (a) route and (b) weight and of course the color and type of finish. In all honesty I like to have options for mounting different pickguards. SSS, HSH, HH, and of course SSH or HSS.
     
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  6. johnnylaw

    johnnylaw Tele-Afflicted

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    Being a "Tele guy" and cheap yankee, I found a '95 JLV here in frosty New England for three hundred clams.
    It is built with American parts and hardware, just painted and assembled in Mexico.
    Maybe I just got a "good one", but this happens to be one of the most satisfying Strats I've ever played.
     
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  7. bo

    bo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Well, I really liked the three that I've played from 1963, but I can't afford them.
     
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  8. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    I've owned several and played many Strats. The best ever was a vintage '56 that was just heavenly. Still kicking myself I didn't buy it.

    But a remarkably fine guitar, especially for the money, is this:
    https://guitarsquid.com/fender-classic-series-50s-stratocaster-review/

    Plays, sounds, and feels great. Very similar to that '56, in fact. I won't replace it until I win that damn lottery and can buy an actual vintage Strat. Check it out if you can before you decide on anything.
     
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  9. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Holic

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    1964.
    Specifically this 1964!
    363.jpg
     
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  10. TwangerWannabe

    TwangerWannabe Tele-Holic

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    I suggested trying to find an old Strat Plus above, but to be honest, you can find an awesome Strat in most price points. The Classic Vibe Strats are awesome, if you can find a MIJ/CIJ Strat they're awesome as well. Only caveat about the MIJ/CIJ stuff is the pickups and wiring are usually junk unless it's a model that used the USA-made pickups. I'm also a huge fan of the higher end MIM stuff. I've had several of the older Classic 50's Teles that were comparable to the older 52AVRI's and have a Classic 50's Lacquer Precision bass that is just incredible (I sold my 75AVRI Jazz and a '76 Precision and kept the Classic 50's P, it's that good). I can only imagine that the MIM Strat equivalents are just as good. If it has to be MIA, you can find a deal on a used American Standard Strats all day long.
     
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  11. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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    The answer for me was to build partscasters. I have one now that I don't think I could improve on if I had $5000 to spend on a custom made by a genius. I'm not claiming that same genius, just solid research, and some decent assembly skills ... and I got lucky. I have others but this one will go to my grave with me.
     
  12. scubadoo

    scubadoo Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks guys, some really great and helpful responses. I'll re-read them and make some notes but it sounds like the American Standard is well thought and that there are plenty of good options.

    Popped into my local guitar shop and was blown away by some of the relic'd custom shop strats. I used to be a snob about them but such artistry in the relicing and they felt amazing. But obviously too expensive.

    Part of the reason for asking is that I'll probably be looking at eebay so won't necessarily be able to try before i buy so was after an idea of a range that is reliably good. Ordering my AO Jazzmaster tomorrow and the strat will follow soon hopefully!

    Cheerd
    Dave
     
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  13. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Holic

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    Okay, so you don't want to fly across the lake and take this beauty off my hands...I get it...I think it's a mistake, but hey...:D

    If I were looking to acquire a Strat, I'd be looking at Japan Domestic Product versions, older Japanese versions (MIJ), or...

    Tokai Springy Sound.

    All of these are far superior (my opinion of course) to anything made in the US over the last 30 years.
     
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  14. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    if you want an vintage style strat with a nitro finish, find and Avri or an AO or build one? You can't really go wrong. If you want a real vintage strat it's $$$, otherwise I would think you could come in at or around $1-1.5K USD for something pretty nice in a used us vintage style fender, or somewhat less building it yourself, or compromising on the nitro and or the us made part. Fender has a MIM car strat in nitro if you can find one for a bit under 1K new.

    I have an avri, a couple of kits, an old MIJ and a squire with swapped out pickups I like them all.

    I think I paid 1500 for avri used, I probably have 5-750 into either of the kit guitars (they are nicely appointed) and my neighbor gave me the squire, I added pickups and electronics for $75 probably (thanks bootstrap!!)

    I think you can't easily go too wrong, there are so many options and a bazillion guitars for sale,

    It's really a matter of what specs you want. I wouldn't get too hung on a particular model, brand or anything like that.

    Figure out how much you want to spend and what you want as far as features go and then buy it. The pragmatic difference between what you can have for $300 and $3000 isn't probably all that gre.
     
  15. 41144

    41144 Tele-Afflicted

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    All I can say here is ...I love my 2011 Am Std Strat.
    Bought it used in 2014 and just meets all my expectations/needs for a Strat, even better it's in Candy Cola Red :)

    Important thing here, imho, set-up is an important factor with Strat satisfaction because of the way the tremi interacts with, well, everything ...but sounds like you have the skills to DIY it?
     
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  16. Guitardvark

    Guitardvark Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    had a 73 seafoam green and hated it
    next had a 94 40th anny strat hated it
    going to try one more time and find me a hardtail, no whammy , the whammy really bugs me. but i like the sound people get out them its just I never found my own sound in them :(

    a Robert Cray model less than 1k looks interesting to me

     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
  17. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    Yup.
     
  18. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    I've played many and owned quite a few.

    I would seriously recommend a Jimmie Vaughan MIM. UNREAL guitars with a neck to die for.
     
  19. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I bought an American Special, one of those 2015 special release black/maple hardtail for my son, it is a beautiful guitar, It's light and sounds great too, and it was reasonably priced.

     
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  20. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    There are so many good ones.

    Can't go wrong the '83- '84 MIJ. The neck profiles aren't "vintage correct" but they're really, really good guitars.

    Early '90s CIJ has vintage correct neck profiles.

    Early Mexican Squier kicks ass! There was a time when Fender wasn't sure about Mexico yet. Mexican Stratocasters got low buck tuners and Squier decals. The one I have is like a Mexi Wayne's World in every way except no Wayne's World neckplate. It's an inconceivably good $100 guitar. Good luck finding one for $100, now.

    More bucks up... Buy the earliest Eric Johnson you can find.


    Then there's the Wonderful World of Pseudo- Strats. That's Tokai, Fernandes, ESP, Charvel, Kramer and the like.

    I have a soft spot for mid- '70s Ibanez "Lawsuit" Strats. They tend to have low frets and weak pickups. Still, that's what I played when they were new. I didn't hesitate when Fender went MIJ a few years later.
     
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