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Different Strats?

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(@kopfschmerzen)
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Joined: 12 years ago
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Topic starter  

Hi everyone!

I have found that Fender produces different series of Strats for a slightly different price. "American Standard", "American Special", "Highway One"... What is the difference between them? Is the tone similar? Are woods, pick-ups the same?

Thanks!


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Hi Kopfschmerzen,

Yes, Fender produces many different Strats (and Teles, and practically of every different guitar or bass model). Probably you can find around 40 or 50 different models. The differences are the woods, the finish, the pickups, the electronics, the quality (processes and materials), etc. So many different models!


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(@kopfschmerzen)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 62
Topic starter  

Well... Is there any reliable way to understand the basic difference? Or I just have to play all models in my price range to find the one?


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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I think the difference is... marketing. If you have the chance, play some models, perhaps the standard ones, and then you can refine your searching. You can find everything inside Fender: different wood for fretboards, different wood for the body, different radius for the fretboards, different pickup configurations, different pickup outputs, American/Mexican/Japanese models...

Which is your price range?


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(@blue-jay)
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Joined: 12 years ago
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Fender is pretty precise with specs on their site. Otherwise, it is hard to compare them with mere words and phrases.

The American Standard used to have a 2 point floating tremolo, vs. the vintage 6-screw trems of the others w/big block.

MIA used to mean, Delta Tone and a treble bypass. Also, it guaranteed straplocks unless it was a RI. Also micro-tilt neck.

The Highway One series all have flat or matte, acoustic finishes, very resonant, but soft. And, a large headstock too.

As Nuno said, your fretboard radius and fret size may be one of the lesser-known differences. Read, study, try, then buy.

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 10340
 

I'm a Telecaster man, myself - seems to me, though, there's even more choice of Strats than there are of Teles. I suppose it can get a little bewildering!

Let me go back a little....

Back in 2004, when I joined GN, I owned a cheap Encore acoustic guitar. Not long after that, I bought a Squier Strat - it was the best guitar I could afford at the time, got it out of my daughter-in-law's catalogue, paid weekly. Thought to myself at the time, "wish I could afford a PROPER Strat!" - then I decided the Strat wasn't really the guitar for me. Didn't like the trem arm....maybe I'd be better off with a Tele?

Not long after that, I came into some money....so I thought I'd get myself a Tele. Tried a few Fenders in a guitar shop, but the one I liked best was a Squier Custom Tele - sounded so much better than the Fenders, to my ears. So I bought it.

Couple of years later, I cashed in a pension - thought I'd buy a new guitar. I'm still not very good, but improving all the time - and now I've learned a lot about guitars. So I've got money in my pocket, went to my local guitar shop, I wanted another Squier Tele - this time with P90's. Lot of people recommended them to me. Then I saw a white MIM Tele on the wall - it was over what I'd budgeted for, almost twice as much as the Squier Tele - but something about that guitar just touched my rock'n'roll soul. I HAD to have it! Played it, it sounded great to me - so I bought it. We've been happy together for three years now.....

But sometimes, I get a little voice saying, "well, if the MIM's that great, how much better do you think an MIA would be?" - and I wonder, should I trade my MIM in for an MIA? It's got to be a better guitar, right? Better QC - better everything - higher price.....

Then I think, NO, I LOVE this guitar.....

So, I suppose it's the same with Strats, but with even more choice....so I'd suggest sticking to what you can afford. In my experience, the difference between a good Squier and an average (as in low-to-mid range) Fender isn't that great - between an MIA or a MIM Fender, it's even less noticeable.

Sit down, make a list of what you really need from your next purchase....

Do you want a maple or mahogany fretboard?

Do you want all single coils, or do you want a HSS Strat?

Do you really need three p/u's when two will do?

Teles are cheaper than Strats, relatively speaking - ask yourself, can I get the tone I want from a Tele, or do I really need a Strat?

Then, when you've noted down what you want from your guitar, THEN you can head off to the music shop - then you'll know what you're looking for, and you can try before you buy.

Then again - ever tried an LP or an SG? So much choice, so little time....and money, in my case!

Whatever you do decide on, let us know - and of course, pics are mandatory!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@gchord)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 151
 

I've had a MIM Fender Stratocaster for 10 years now and only had one flaw in it.The strap pin came out,but some toothpicks and Elmer's Glue restored that like new.Best $200 I ever spent!


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(@blueline)
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Joined: 14 years ago
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I'm begining to have that internal battle. Strat vs. Tele for my next guitar. After listening to greats like Gilmore on a Strat, I tend to lean that way. But having recently gone to a great show and hearing an awsome guitarist wail away on a Tele, I have to wonder. The tone this guy (Richie Kotzen) gets is amazing.

I'm not sure if its just the single coil sound that I'm starting to fall in love with (again) or its just his tone. In any case, Its pointing me towards a Tele no doubt about it.

Where's Uncle Roy? He's a Strat guy...right?

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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The Kotzen's Tele is not a normal Tele! It has a DiMarzio mini-humbucker in the bridge. I think the neck pickup is also different to the normal Tele. And it does not have tone pot... I don't remember just now but I think it changes phase (modifies the tone but in the conventional way).

But IMHO the best of that guitar is the neck.


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(@blueline)
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Joined: 14 years ago
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The Kotzen's Tele is not a normal Tele! It has a DiMarzio mini-humbucker in the bridge. I think the neck pickup is also different to the normal Tele. And it does not have tone pot... I don't remember just now but I think it changes phase (modifies the tone but in the conventional way).

But IMHO the best of that guitar is the neck.

Really? Oooo. I need to look up the specs on his signiture guitar. I hadn't even thought he would be using mini-humbuckers.

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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I was playing it some years ago (when I was a guitar player ). Here it is the link with that old post. https://www.guitarnoise.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=35403

It is "Made in Japan".

And an external review:

http://fretpoint.com/2009/11/22/richie-kotzen-signature-telecaster-review/


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(@blueline)
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Thanks Nuno! I think that reading your old post has made up my mind. When I have the money to get a new guitar, it WILL be a Tele. Most likely the RK sig model.

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


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(@kopfschmerzen)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 62
Topic starter  

Well, to be honest, I'm not going to buy a new axe right away. I have a cheap ($150) HSS Washburn, and as I'm learning (a bit more than a year now) I start noticing it's flaws, but I still cannot get all that it can give But I'm wondering where to go next. I play mostly blues / classic hard rock stuff, and probably that warm vintage sound is what I'm looking for. Fortunately I don't have a tremolo arm on my guitar (for that price it sucks), but going to try one in future, so, it seems, SGs or LPs don't work My budget isn't as big, I'd try to fit in $500 ($700 is an absolute maximum). Anyway, what I'm going to do is to try some Strats (HSS and SSS) and Teles and what not once in a while to shape my feelings and get a base to make the decision. What I do know is that I don't want a modern-sounding instrument suitable for shredders.

Oh yeah, forgot to ask... Are 22 frets enough? I know it's a stupid question, but anyway... I'm a big fan of Brian May and since he has 24 frets on his Red Special I'm in doubt. However, I don't want to imitate him, so it can be not so important...


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(@blue-jay)
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Where you live affects what type of guitar you can get, conveniently. I don't know your whereabouts, just that you have a German name. Guitars might be expensive there. But most people with Washburns are in the US, even if the Washburn or Lyon comes from overseas.

Anyhow, it is good that you want to try several guitars. A number of members here have been getting decent Strat copies in the US - $99 I believe? Some leave as-is, others add new pickups.

Squier has some good, and some not-so-good. Your price range can get you a made in Mexico. They are alder, have a choice of rosewood or maple boards, and a decent tremolo. An American Highway One is only a little more.

21 and 22 frets are good enough for me? You can get few Ibanez models priced fairly with 24 and simple non Floyd Rose.

The G & L Legacy is high end and a Tribute series shares many of the good features. Their price competes with MIM. 8)

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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There are many good guitars in that segment. Go to a store and play as many guitars you can play. Don't be in a hurry. Try the most expensive and also the cheap ones. You must find a guitar that talk to you.

Look at the finish, the vibrations, if it is easy to play, if it is comfortable to you and your hands, the sound and tones you can achieve, etc.

Are you in Germany? Try to play these guitars:
http://www.thomann.de/de/fender_50s_classic_player_strat_mn2sb.htm
http://www.thomann.de/de/fender_classic_player_baja_tele_vb.htm

The difference between a 22 frets and a 24 frets is just one whole step, one note. It is not important to me. The Mexican models have just 21 frets.

G&L is also a very good brand (G from George Fullerton and L from Leo Fender). If you have the chance, play them.

And don't forget let us know!

Edit: Blue Jay posted while I am writing but it seems both like the G&L!


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