Budget Strat copies…

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by LGOberean, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I’ve been trying to search for TDPRI approved Strat copies. of course, I don’t mean “TDPRI approved” in an official sense, I’m just curious about which brands that copy a Strat that happen to receive positive comments from my TDPRI brethren and sistren. I’ve been searching, but it’s slow goings and slim pickings. So, I decided to start a thread and ask.

    I’d like to hear about recommended budget brands, preferably under $200, probably $250 tops. Of course, I know about Squier I’ve played a Classic Vibe ‘50s that I liked, but my budget rules that one out. The Squier Standard might work, I’ve played one, I think, but I don’t remember being impressed. I’ve played an Affinity that I didn’t care for, same with the Bullet.

    For budget strat copies in other brands, I’m aware of Xaviere and Jay Turser, though I’ve never played or even seen either one. How are they regarded here? What other brand recommendations do you have?

    Oh, and yes, I know buying used will make my $$$ go farther. I’m open to that. In fact, I’m thinking of going on the hunt in local pawn shops, but of course that is a luck-of-the-draw proposition. So I’m asking here, to be armed with information for whatever I might find.

    Okay, whaddaya got for me?
     
  2. brokenbones

    brokenbones Tele-Holic

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    $250 used should get you a Squier Classic Vibe strat. I've never paid more than that for either of mine. Just be patient. Good deals tend to pop up.
     
  3. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    A cheap guitar is a cheap guitar, go play some and find one you can stand. There is no magic, involved and there are too many cheap strat copies to mention.

    But I can say, from personal experience that the old peavy strat copies with 2 piece maple necks that are US made, are sometimes kind of solid guitars. The one's I've messed with usually stay in tune and play alright, with some setup etc.

    They are usually reasonably cheap too.

    I love me a decent squire too, It's just that there are so many of them and they are often quite different, so you really just have to play some, and find one you can stand.

    Ultimately you are playing an (individual) guitar, not a model. And the cheaper the guitar the more uneven the quality is so results seem to vary.
     
  4. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I set up a slick les paul JR looking thing the other week. It had a nice straight neck, good fretwork and sounded good too. It did need setup, but I thought it was decent.

    Here's a review of their strat copy.

     
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  5. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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  6. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    You make a good point here. It makes sense that budget ("cheap") models would have less invested in quality control, and that the resulting individual guitars in a budget series could therefore be hit or miss. So playing them is key. And that is what I plan to do with my pawn shop strategy.

    That said, taking a chance on ordering an Xaviere or something similar (I just remembered Rhondo Music's SX guitars) is not off the table in my thinking, as of now, at least, so getting recommendations is helpful. Like you suggestion about Peaveys. You mentioned US made (I guess in their case MIM stands for "Made in Mississippi"?). I'm guessing that goes back a decade or two. I'm more familiar with the Peavey tele copies, the Generations. Which ones were the USA strat copies? Predators? Raptors?
     
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  7. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a Hamer Strat clone that was really decent for $100.
     
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  8. Nickfl

    Nickfl Tele-Afflicted

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    I have two Harley Benton tele copies that I like a lot, they are really good guitars for the price.
     
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  9. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Just buy a MIM and be done. The best out there.
     
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  10. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    Remember all Strat-oids in this $200 price range will need to be setup and may need some fret smoothing for optimal playing.

    I like Rondo's SX Hawk guitars. They're well built and quite inexpensive.

    The Squier Standard is also good and often available on the used market at amazing prices (what I call "broken string specials"). The routing can accommodate HH and HSH as well as regular SSS configurations. The stock pickups are decent Alnicos. I rewired mine for HH since the stock pickups were ruined by a previous owner's cat.

    The Squier SE, only available used now, is a very good mod platform since it has great parts compatibility.
     
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  11. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    Getting a MIM Strat that wasn't in terrible shape for $200 would be quite an amazing deal.
     
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  12. Antmax

    Antmax Tele-Meister

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    For cheap guitars the SX and Harley Bentons can be good. The Vintage Modified Strat's are good if you don't mind hotter pickups. But you can always change those.

    Pretty much any cheap strat will need a setup and some upgrades to get the best out of them. I bought an older 2000 Affinity for $40 and was pleasantly surprised. Strats are funny things. they are all made out of the same parts and randomly something special can pop out at almost any price point. It's just a matter of being lucky enough to find one.

    Definitely try and buy used because loads of people buy guitars in the $100 - $400 range for beginners. they don't get paid and the cheaper ones often sell for give away prices. I wasn't expecting the affinity to be good, fretboard was covered in stickers with the notes on and someone stuck what I can only imagine were home made stickers out of cardboard leaving torn card backing and glue behind lol.
     
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  13. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Holic

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    Go here: shopgoodwill.com

    You'll find countless Strat clones with various names on their headstocks, many only played for a month or two then discarded. They're all in the sub $100 dollar range. Probably best to avoid the ones that are covered in stickers and have 4 strings left on them, because they've most likely been abused, and getting all that sticky gunk off is a PITA.

    They're all basically the same...cheap hardware, budget electronics, mystery wood bodies, made somewhere in Southeast Asia. It's likely that the same handful of factories crank all of them out and just slap different names on them (Fender included).

    Regardless, if the neck is straight and the fretwork isn't too bad, all else can be made servicable.

    What the heck...If you have the budget, buy a few of them! Wrestling cheap junkers into playability is essentially how I learned how to work on guitars.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
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  14. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, it's getting harder, but $250-300 is likely doable if you wait... I prefer my MIM to my US Strat. For 15 years now.,.,,,,
     
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  15. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Wow! That was a long unboxing/review, but worth the time. It sounded great! I was aware that Guitar Fetish offered Slick guitars, but I didn't know they did a strat copy. The ones I remember were like an LP Jr. or double cutaway, with a single P-90 (not that there's anything wrong with that :twisted:) and a relic job (there is something wrong with that, for my purposes). If possible, though, I want a strat copy with a maple fretboard. I'll have to check those out. Thanks!
     
  16. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Various comments about going over budget and/or using a budget strat copy as a modding platform prompt me now to explain, to add comments that I left out of my OP. Namely, my reasons for wanting a budget strat copy.

    I want a copy because this will be for an experiment, so I don’t want to spend that much money. And by “experiment” I don’t mean “modding platform.” I want to try and bond with a Strat and make it a part of my guitar arsenal. I tried eleven years ago, but found I got on with a Tele much better than a Strat. I've tried a time or two since, going into a couple of local stores and playing some, but in such situations, I probably got 45 minutes to an hour tops to try guitars. That has been helpful to a point. For example, from that I learned that I like the quality, the feel of a Classic Vibe '50s.

    But to for me to get comfortable enough with a strat to get past the things that aren't comfortable to me about a Strat (if that's even possible), I need more than an hour here and an hour there spread over long intervals. So I'm willing to consider buying one on the cheap and living with it for a while to see if I can make it work for me. Then, if the outcome of such an experiment/purchase is positive, I'll maybe look to upgrade somewhere down the line. Or just maybe, I'll get lucky and the one I pick as a starter winds up being a keeper...that'd be great.
     
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  17. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Holic

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    Then, the closest to the specs and feel of a Fender strat will be the Classic Vibe and some other Squiers.

    Go to the pawn shop and look for a Squier Classic Vibe or any other good looking Squier,

    I am really not interested in those many other brands that compete for low price and lack of originality. But if you do, by all means buy used too. There are too many kids selling their first and last guitar.

    Slick guitars are quite interesting through.

    If you go to the pawn shop, you might find some more vintage stuff and possible good bargain , like the old Peavey USA, Fender «Squier Series », possibly a japanese or Korean squier from the 80’s (that would be amazing in that price range), Ibanez Roadstar, some Charvel and Charvette made in asia were nice too. The Yamaha Pacifica has a good reputation as a budget guitar, but is it a strat?
     
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  18. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    This'd be in your price range used and I really liked the one I tried. I used it to demo a few amps and it was great for the price.

    https://shop.fender.com/en-US/squie...age-modified-70s-stratocaster/0301227506.html

    And if you're hunting pawn shops and see a Yamaha Pacifica, give it a try. I think a lot of people shifted those because of that must-shift-my-first-guitar-to-something-else compulsion. If you set them up properly, they're really good guitars. They were better than most Squiers about 20 years ago.
     
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  19. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    MIM (used for 200ish would be ideal)

    Squier Standard used for less would be OK

    anything else is going to require some setup and future enhancements or be boat anchor heavy

    Some options:

    Harley Benton
    Rondo SX Furrin

    Let me explain it this way, there are reasons I get rid of an up-gradable cheap guitar:
    Neck is bad - can be excessive fret spurs to being warped, to the worst broken truss rod
    Excessively heavy

    I have a Squier SE that I will remove the Fender locking tuners and replace with standard Fender tuners, has an upgrade Blues pickup set from Alexander Pribora (Russia) and a mini toggle for seven way switching, burst poly finish, some dents and dings, Rosewood neck that is fine.

    PM if interested.
    DSCN1600.JPG DSCN1601.JPG
     
  20. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

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    I got a Squier Bullet hard tail strat earlier this year and I am still extremely surprised at how good it is! Super light, terrific fretwork, no buzzing, no sharp fret ends. The bridge material and tuners look like they might not last if this was a gigging guitar, but it's not.

    I put a GFS HH pickguard in there and I'm really digging it. I might make some minor tweaks down the road.
     
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