Stratocasters were introduced in 1954 and since then, they took a place among the most popular and iconic [category:0] in the world.
While there are several dozens of different models and modifications of the classic Strat, they all share some common traits -- Strats come with three pickups which offer unmatchable tone versatility. You can easily switch between pickup positions to achieve the tone you wanted. Strats also feature an ergonomic design which greatly adds to playability and comfort.
The Stratocaster is well-known for its constant evolution. Over the decades, Fender kept a friendly relationship with all strat players. Any suggestions, modifications and complaints were taken in account. Several classic strat features, such as the 5-way pickup switch and the reverse-wound middle pickup were born as a result of suggestions by fans.
Countless iconic guitarists not only played Strats, but they also greatly contributed to the growth and evolution of this guitar series. For instance, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Ike Turner pioneered the creation of the floating bridge on Strats. Some years after, Eric Clapton and Ron Wood further improved the tremolo system by fixing the bridge while leaving the tremolo floating.
Other iconic guitar players who used Stratocaster for years are Dave Murray, David Gilmour, Buddy Holly, Stevie Ray Vaughan and John Mayer, just to name a few.
Over the years, Fender issued a number of Stratocaster models. In this guide, we will mention the series that are available today. Hopefully, this will help you to get a complete overview of the series and pick the model that exactly fits your needs:
The following are budget series, which are especially designed for players who want to start small
- Affinity Series -
These are lightweight and durable budget guitars, which are often used for gigs as workhorses and back up guitars. They come in several colors schemes, including the signature sunburst pattern.
- Artist Model Series -
These Strats were designed by Simon Neil and each of the guitars bears his signature, as well as his band logo. They feature three vintage-style single coil pickups, perfect both for rhythm and leads. Nevertheless, they still belong to the Squier family, which is reflected on their affordable price.
- Bullet Series -
The Bullet Series are specially designed for beginners. These guitars are a great introduction to the Fender family.
- Classic Vibe Series -
The Classic Vibe series are perfect budget alternative for those who want to re-create the tone of the 60s.
The following series, are the meat of the Fender Stratocaster. They have all the high-end features of a Strat while keeping a minimum price mark, which make them extremely popular among live performers and studio owners.
- American Standard Series -
The American Standard Series are the to-go model which combines modern features with the well-recognizable tone of Custom Shop Fat 50s Strat single coils.
- Deluxe Series -
These strats were especially designed to be workhorses for live gigs and studio recordings. They feature three Vintage noiseless pickups and combine playability, high-quality sound output and durability.
- Deluxe Models Series -
The Deluxe Models series feature a clear and well-recognizable sound thanks to Duncan pickups. They are widely praised for their tonal versatility and playability.
- Special Edition Series -
This series is aimed to deliver a modern sound and it includes all the feats any guitarist would love to have, such as block saddles, a two-point synchronized tremolo bridge and a neck with a “modern C” profile. Despite their amazing features, they’re surprisingly affordable.
- Standard Series -
These stylish strats are the perfect choice both for beginners and advanced players. They feature three Fender single coil pickups and shielded body cavities, which make them almost noiseless.
The following series aim to bring back the sweet vibes of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
- American Deluxe Strat Series -
This series features noiseless pickups and all the perks modern guitarists look for, while maintaining a 60’s vintage flavor.
- American Vintage Series -
The Vintage Series aim to bring back the tone and quality of the ’59 and ’65 strats, back when the V-neck guitars just came out.
- Classic Series -
The Classic Series feature a one-piece maple neck, three pickups with reverse polarity on the middle one and Gotoh vintage-style locking tuners.
- Custom Limited Series -
These premium strats are individually calibrated from neck to bridge and feature a relic treatment to give them a perfect vintage flavor.
- Time Machine Series -
The Time Machine series look and sound exactly as if they were taken directly from the ’67. They feature three hand wound pickups, bone nut and vintage hardware. These guitars look, sound and feel exactly as if they were manufactured six decades ago.
- Vintage Modified Models Series -
These budget strats have the design and tone of the classic 70’s Fender guitars. They feature three Duncan Design single-coil pickups and a modern five-way pickup selector, while preserving some of the vintage features such as the synchronized tremolo bridge and chrome hardware.
The following are all the signature and premium series. The models, listed below, are the way to go for someone who wants to own a bit more than just a good guitar.
- American Custom Series -
These are the premium line of strats. They feature three pickups, one of which is a limited edition, hand-wound Texas Special single-coil bridge pickup.
- American Elite Series -
Designed for the best guitar players, the Elite series features fourth generation noiseless Shawbucker pickups and a new, more durable design.
- American Special Series -
The Special Series are manufactured in the US according to the highest standards of quality. They feature tonally versatile Atomic humbuckers and vintage-style tremolo.
- Artisan Series -
These elite elegant guitars feature a roasted butternut body with a one-piece AAA birdseye maple neck and gold hardware.
- Artist Series -
The Artist Series feature the same specs of the Standard Series, while offering several distinctive and unmistakable designs.
- Builder Select Series -
Greg Fessler Builder Select 1969 Stratocaster
The Builder Select series include guitars that were hand-made by Greg Fessler and Yuriy Shishkov. Those premium guitars have an unmatched quality and sound.
- Custom Artist Series -
This series strive to replicate the exact tones, sound and looks of the guitars of our favorite musicians, including Dick Dale, Erick Clapton and Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, among others.
- Limited Edition Series -
The series include eight limited edition models, each one with a unique historical background and visual design, great for those artists who want to stand out of the crowd both tonally and visually.
- Postmodern Series -
These lightweight strats feature an ash body, a quarter-sawn maple neck with a vintage 60’s “oval C” profile and three classic Ancho Poblano pickups. The vintage feel of the guitar is combined with modern feats, such as a “Tone-Saver” wiring system and a five-way pickup switch.
Which one suits you the best?
As you could see, there’s a Strat to suit every need and taste. Whether you are a beginner looking to buy your first guitar, a skilled guitarist who loves jamming with friends, a professional artist who strives to achieve a new genuine tone, or a studio owner, you will definitely find a Strat that fits perfectly your needs. Good luck with your choice and keep on jamming!