Fender Stratocaster: A Guide For The Beginner Guitarist
There’s a Strat to suit every need and taste, whether you are a beginner, a skilled guitarist, a professional or a studio owner, you will definitely find a Strat that fits perfectly your needs.
Stratocasters were introduced in 1954 and since then, they took a place among the most popular and iconic guitars 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.
Over the decades, Fender kept a friendly relationship with all strat players. Any suggestions, modifications and complaints were taken in account.
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.
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.
Classic Vibe Series
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.
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.
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
American Vintage Series
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
American Elite Series
American Special Series
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
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.
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!