Post by BlackAngusYoung on Dec 11, 2008 2:45:03 GMT -5
I have the cheapest Squier available, the Mini Strat. It's been mainly an annoyance to me and after 4 years of slacking off, I know I definitely still want to practise guitar and I know I'd want to more if I had a good one.
I like all kinds of music and would like a guitar that's somewhat versatile, but I'd like to focus on getting a good blues guitar. Almost all my favourite guitarists (Buddy Guy, Clapton) play Stratocasters and I'd like to get one of decent quality. I do like the sound of a Les Paul, but even my favourite Gibson players are the ones who are more like heavier blues guitarists anyways, like Slash and Jimmy Page. I'm finding the idea of an HSS "Fat Strat" very appealing. Especially the American model that also has piezoelectric pickups in the bridge for an acoustic sound. But I imagine that must be pretty expensive. (If anyone can tell me about the quality of the acoustic sound they make, I'd be very interested.)
The problem... big surprise... is money. I don't mind saving and I adore spending, but I don't want to buy an instrument that's too good for me if I'd personally be just as well with something a little less expensive. I'd like ya'll to explain to me the real differences between the American Fenders, the Japanese, the Mexican, as well as Fender's American "Highway One" series and I guess the Squiers as well. Most of the info I find seems either written by people who are in love with whatever guitar they have or like they're comparing everything to their dream guitar and nothing measures up.
I just don't want to buy a Highway One guitar and feel as if I've spent that much but still want to upgrade. But if Highway One's are decent, I like the idea of not having something so valuable to be careful with and of maybe getting that and another interesting instrument as well instead of buying just one very expensive Strat.
Thanks. I look very forward to hearing your opinions... just hope I'm not about to start everyone arguing!
AFAIK, Japanese Fenders are a thing of the past. Your choices now are the expensive US ones, the MIM ones, or the cheapest ones from Asia. I believe Fender's making them in either Malaysia or Indonesia these days.
There are a lot of nice guitars out there for less $$ than the Fenders. Unless you insist that the headstock says "Fender" on it, you might want to expand your horizons a bit.
Just because some of your favorite artists use a Strat doesn't mean much- they may well be getting paid to use one. And the cost of that marketing gets rolled into the price of the guitar.
I'm finding the idea of an HSS "Fat Strat" very appealing. Especially the American model that also has piezoelectric pickups in the bridge for an acoustic sound.
I'm not quite sure which model this is.
There is this one, which is HSS and has piezo saddles, but it's not made in the U.S. (it is American in that all folks that reside in the western hemisphere are in the Americas (north, central, and south). This guitar is made in Mexico (Fender numbers beginning with 013- are MIM). www.fender.com/products//search.php?partno=0139300367
I have the Fender American (U.S.) 50th anniversary Strat (SSS) with the S-1 switch. It's a very nice guitar, but it's a collector version so I don't play it.
I have the American Standard HSS in Sierra Sunburst finish (ash body) with the S-1 switch (the version before the Standard series was renewed this year). It is also a very nice guitar, especially with the S-1 switching.
Fender removed the S-1 from the renewed series, which I consider to be just plain stupid. One doesn't have to use the S-1 switch if'n one doesn't want to. (Also, tone controls are adjustable between "0" and "10", but don't tell anyone.)
The new series has;
A new bridge with improved bent-steel saddles and a copper-infused high-mass block for increased resonance and sustain.
This is a good thing.
A new neck treatment-tinted for a richer presentation, with the maple or rosewood fingerboard buffed to a high gloss. The back of the neck still has that silky satin finish.
A thinner finish undercoat that lets the body breathe and improves resonance.
A new Fender-exclusive SKB molded case.
Two beautiful new finish options, Sienna Sunburst and Blizzard Pearl.
The new Sierra Sunburst finish is exactly like the one that I have, except that it's, uh, new.
(This is a concept known as marketing (or commercial fraud) that gives the impression that there actually are compelling actual reasons to buy something. It works better if it doesn't actually make sense.)
Since the renewed ones were on the horizon when I bought it, I got it for about $600 new (it was normally $1,100 street).
I've tried a number of the U.S. Highway1 guitars and have not found a single one that I'd buy, even at the sub $500 price that I've been offered on new ones. I find them to be overly dull sounding (and looking).
I have two Strat copies that I've built. One is an all-padouk chambered guitar with DiMarzio pickups and the Mike Richardson wiring scheme (with my addition of two phase pp pots and series tone control structure).
Post by BlackAngusYoung on Dec 11, 2008 15:48:25 GMT -5
Great pictures. Thanks both for your replies. Yeah, I think your idea of building one sounds great, but the part about me building one sounds like a really bad idea and I don't think whatever Frankenaxe I ended up with would appreciate you putting it in my head! ha ha ha
No, I don't need the headstock to say Fender or anything else as far as I'm concerned. As long as the guitar is worth owning and worth whatever I end up paying, it could even say Daisy Rock on it and I'm happy. I only mentioned that I had noticed my favourite players tend to play strats because I know I could be taken with any guitar of any style and I'm the kind of person who's likely to just find something weird I'll have to have and end up regretting later. (In the long run, it would be nice to collect all different sorts of guitars, of course. Naturally, banjos and things too.) I just figured that it made some sense to look at players who play the kind of music I'd like to play and look at what gear they use. Then, from there, I can find the closest thing I can afford for a first decent guitar. Keeping in mind that I definitely don't need the durability a professional musician would need but would like a quality sound.
Your answer really brings me to what I expected would be my next question. Of the other good-quality instruments with nicer price tags, which companies would you recommend looking at for something that's like a Stratocaster? I saw a very nice Yamaha strat-like guitar for a good price a couple years ago and have had it in my mind since. Are they generally any good? It had a really great purple finish, which is my favourite colour.... on account of the fact that it's the best colour ever! (See, I wasn't joking about the Daisy Rock thing. lol.)
No, I have not visited the coffee shop yet and have not read that article. So thanks for bringing my attention to it. Looking forward to reading it... but I better go make some coffee first so things are official.
Post by BlackAngusYoung on Dec 11, 2008 16:53:57 GMT -5
The Laguna in that article looks nice! Never heard of the company before but judging by the pictures (I just visited their website) I think the look appeals to me even more than a real strat and with what ux has to say about the quality, that's exactly the kind of info I was hoping for.
You see, when I was saying I want to get some sort of Stratocaster, I wasn't really saying I want a Fender over a Strat copy, though I was assuming that if I had the money that would be the best. I meant I had decided I wanted that sort of guitar compared to others I've wondered if I should look towards. Until fairly recently, I would have set my sights on an acoustic. Folky singer-songwriter music and old folk and hillbilly music have always been my favourite. (Hey, are Laguna acoustics good as well? Could probably get an electric and an acoustic for the same price as a U.S. Fender and the acoustic would sound better than Fender's piezo bridge.)
Writing this makes me wonder something probably unimportant but I'd be interested in what people think.... Above, I said I'd like a "Strat copy" and I'm wondering if that's the correct term. I've heard it used many times, but something about it just seems wrong. I believe there are probably some cheap guitar makers who try to make their instruments look like Fenders or Gibsons for the sake of basically knocking them off and providing players with crappy (?) instruments that look like what they'd really want if they could afford it. But then there are guitars like these Lagunas or the Yamahas, which look like basically the same configuration as a Stratocaster. Is there a name for a guitar of the basic Strat style which doesn't seem to indicate that it's just a copy of something else, but that it's a quality instrument in it's own right that just has similar stylings? After all, how many shapes/styles could they be expected to come up with? I definitely wouldn't confuse the Laguna with a Fender, but they still kinda look the same. Know what I mean?
Is there a name for a guitar of the basic Strat style which doesn't seem to indicate that it's just a copy of something else, but that it's a quality instrument in it's own right that just has similar stylings? After all, how many shapes/styles could they be expected to come up with? I definitely wouldn't confuse the Laguna with a Fender, but they still kinda look the same. Know what I mean?
Yeah, I know what you mean, and there's not really any official terminology to these things. Non-Fender guitars that look identical to a Strat I call "Strat Clones" or "Strat Copies"; guitars that may not look exactly like a Strat but which are sort of similar I call "Strat-Style" guitars. But that's just me, others may use other terms.
To my eye, the Laguna looks closer to an Ibanez than a Strat, but again,both are fairly similar.
BTW, do NOT make the mistake of assuming that Strat clones have parts which are interchangeable with an actual Fender Strat. Even the Squier Strat models are actually subtly different.
Rather than take the advice of someone whose tastes and playing style may be very different from yours, I'd say get out and try different guitars, there's no amount of talk that can substitute for actually playing something.
I have a Yamaha Strat-style guitar (EG112, I believe, is the model). I bought it as a basket case and totally rehabbed it so it's not really a Yamaha anymore. It is OK for a cheaper Strat type, really no better than some Squier Strats I have played (well, it's probably better than your mini )
Based on what others have said around here, as well as my own experience, for something decent in the under $200 range, consider Rondo Music.
In the $400-$700 range, Peavey guitars seem to get a lot of love around here. For blues style playing, I have played a couple of Reverends that I loved in the same price range.
is identical to my Sienna Sunburst one in switching functions, but is an American (U.S.) Deluxe model. The model number is 010-1500, the "010" means that it's U.S. made.
The differences are that the AmDlx series have SCN pickups, have a better vibrato, locking tuners, might have a better neck feel (although the one that I have has a great neck), and mine has the ash body (a $100 adder).
I saw one on eBay selling for around $1500 OBO (no auction.)
Chris, does this mean you're supporting Warmoth again?
BAY (blackangusyoung), newey's right, just get out there and try some. If you can hit the big stores in the morning when there are not so many customers, you can try lots without trying to play over the "other" Angus Youngs . For the price of one American standard, you could take home 2 or three very nice guitars, or as Chris says, build a couple yourself (many kits are pre-wired, so little technical expertise is needed).
They have a "stratish" feel, and yet, have their own vibe about them. The P90 ones have a bass rolloff control that will give you that strat sound, and with the twist of a knob, a P90 Gibby growl. The Jetstream 390 has the 2 and 4 position "quack" tones that strat player long for.
As for the piezo bridge, that can alway be an after market upgrade.
And the best part, around $600 to $800 street price!!
One thing you may want to consider is one of the new Squier CV series strats, I have a friend who sold his mex strat because he preferred the Squier CV, I have played it and it sounds very good and plays great, plus the fact that they are only $299. its something you may want to check into.
<mostly off topic rant> I would recommend a Jay Turser. Strat copy. I got mine for less than $200 Canadian brand new... so about $45USD on a bad day. ;D Since they're so cheap, you can upgrade to your liking and not worry about skipping out on the power bill.
Mind you, mine head stock pickups for about 10 minutes after i owned it before i swapped them out with MIM fenders i got at a pawn shop that same day. Side by side comparison, besides the slight mis aligned screw in the pickguard, it matches a MIM strat, i haven't measured the bridge screws yet, and i doubt it will. if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
but playability, great. well worth the ~$190 that i put into it.
there are a bunch of imports that are made in the same factory but have a different sticker on them.
anyway, if you decide to go the cheap rout, look for these (if not more): - if it is a clear coat, is the back and/or contours clear also? - the block for the bridge should be made from cast, not stamped metal (on fender style tremolos) - check for sharp edges on the ends of he frets - are the pickup pole pieces under the strings? - have a look at the body from different angles and light, if you can see the glue joints on a NEW guitar, that's not really a good thing. if it's 10+ years old, it doesn't matter. - lightly strum every string from every fret to check for random buzzing. no need to sound like you know what you're doing. - bring a friend to knock you into reality when you think you found one you like.. doesn't need to be a guitar buff either. **note: for every low end guitar you see on display, there are 2 in boxes out back. ask the guy working there to get more out and tuned up for you and repeat the steps above until you find one that works.
I tried out about 6-7 jay tursers at the shop before I settled on the one I got. I was there for about 2 hours (I scoped the place out the previous week so I didn't waste any time). Didn't even plug one in. the guy working there seemed confused. I thought it was funny, then I told them I want them to cut a left handed nut for free. They didn't think that was funny.
Is there a guide out there for buying an 'el cheapo? i never really looked.
</mostly off topic rant>
Last Edit: Dec 12, 2008 21:03:26 GMT -5 by jmartyg
And before you get too infatuated with building one, My "Proper" Telecopy indicates at the bottom of the thread that the cost for a finished body and neck plus upscale components cost $1,000 two years ago.
The PadoukCaster ran about $800, but it required no finish on neither the body nor the neck.
Only at the American (U.S.) level and above does building compare with store-bought. You get exactly what you want, but the resale is less than the mundane Fender offerings unless you find a lustful buyer.
Looking back at your original post, the two points that stand out for me are "Strat-style" and "money".
Being intimately familiar with both concepts (especially the latter), I offer this bit of advice:
It doesn't get any more Strat-style than Fender, and the epitome of that is the classic 3-single-coil standard arrangement. The MIM Standard is a good bread-and-butter guitar, and with a reasonable price tag to boot. It's a classic for a reason. It'll give you all the basic attributes that Strats are justly famous for. All the rest is gravy (hey, it was good enough for Jimi...). If/when you get around to jonesing for something more, it makes the perfect platform for upgrades and modifications.
The only real advantage the US-made versions have is somewhat better quality control, but it certainly doesn't justify doubling the price. If you play it smart and try before you buy, you can inspect what you're getting and get a MIM instrument that's as good or better than its US counterpart, for much less money.
To a large extent, the same applies to Squier, though the basic models do cut some corners on the electronics and hardware.
I entirely agree with teleblooz. If it were me, I'd opt for a MIM Strat. It makes a nice blues machine. I have both MIM & US Strats and in some ways, I prefer the feel of the MIM.
If money is a concern (it is for most of us), that should be enough to get you started. BTW: a used MIM Strat usually doesn't retain its resale value too well, so you might be able to find a sweet deal at a local shop.
Later, if you want get a "Gibson" sound out of it, you can always do what I did -- replace the neck pickup with a Seymour Duncan Lil'59. I wired its coils in parallel to sound Fender-ish and used a push-pull pot to switch the Lil'59's coils into series to get a fatter "Gibson" type sound (and a small volume bump too)
just finished reading all the strat shtick ...great stuff .if you want a strat /squire /or clone or any other guitbox for that matter check out he pawn shops in your area ! all the would be guitar heroes that bought the best or coolest guitar because they wanted to learn are hocking them in droves because with the bush economy effect hitting everyone HARD they need cash now ! Don't be afraid to bargain with the hock shop guy they got the guitars cheap and just want the sale .You can find some real good deals . I found a sweat black squire strat "special edition ?" for $90 out the door and a excellent marshal combo for $140 out the door for a friends daughter .I put new strings ,tweaked the neck a bit shielded the body cavity and pick guard (a trick learned at guitar nuts )Added a pp tone pot for 7way pup selection (g nutz again )it plays and sounds fabulous .I also look for "rescue " guitars at flee markets seldom pay more than $40 and have fun turning them into Frankensteins (in a good way ) good luck with your search .....Denny B
Last Edit: Jan 1, 2009 22:25:27 GMT -5 by dennyb2009
I know that a lot of fender players dont really give the MIM strats a far shake. MIM guitars are now branded as Player Series. I was in your situation. When I was cutting my teeth playing the guitar I purchased a used Squire for about $40 and it played well and stayed in tune. It was very functional. Though my band mates at the time had no complaints about my playable tone I felt out of place since they all had "professional gear". This is what pressured me into upgrading. I ended up finding a used MIM stratocaster for about $300. And it worked just as well as the squire though there was a definite tonal difference mainly due to better pickups. I used it for about 2-3 years. Then simply upgraded the pickups for $100 to vintage noiseless pickups. I've never really played or owned a Made in USA stratocaster. I hear they are well put together and sound amazing. I did make a large guitar purchase a while back and almost got an American Strat but purchased a Gibson Les Paul Classic instead.
Hope this helps.
"Ace Frehley was the reason I picked up a guitar, but The Beatles were the reason I wanted to learn to play it"