Musicians Fender's Stratocaster marks its 60th anniversary? Is the quality still as good?

Fender is celebrating the 60 year anniversary of the Stratocaster. Nice article on how they are made.

What kind of reputation do they have these days? Is there any reason to buy a vintage strat? Are the new ones as good or even better with the new electronics?

I’m saving up for a Jimmie Vaughan TexMex Stratocaster. Has three Tex Mex pickups. No hummingbirds. I love the sound. I want mine in candy apple red. Most places are selling them discounted down to $850. Some of the other model Strats are a lot higher.

Happy 60th birthday!

Another question.

Wheres the best place to buy? I’ve had friends tell me Sam Ash is really good. Theres one outside Nashville and one in Dallas. Either one is a five hour drive away. Would I get better service in person? Get the strings that I prefer put on and get the bridge and action setup? A ten hour round trip is no joke, but if Sam Ash is that good then it might be worth it. I’d probably drive to Nashville. I love that city and enjoy visiting.

Or should I just buy it online at the best price? Get it setup here locally?

I love the sound of old guitars, this is an opinion shared by many but by no means is Universal. Strats and most other models of guitars have changed radically over the years, neck radius and nut width being a common set of changes. IMHO if it feels good in your hands, sounds good, fits your body and you think it is beautiful, this is the gitfiddle for you. YMMV.

While I am no stranger to GC or Sam Ash, I try to buy local. IME the price difference is not too much and they will help with setup and the like. This is not Universally true.

Do a little research and buy it for a price you are ok with. MSRP is $1089.99 but it seems that all of the majors are at 849.99, probably a mandate from Fender.



Guitar making - electric and acoustic, factory, small-batch and single-luthier - is really going through a Golden Age. 35+ years ago, I paid $350 for a Fender electric; you can get an entry-level Squier/Fender for less money today and some of them are pretty decent. And the Mexican, American and Custom Shop ones (those are ascending price points) can be spectacular.

The good Capt is correct that old ones in decent shape are valued, but that’s something to worry about if you’ve played a while and know why you’d pursue that specific old guitar. For someone starting out, a decent Mexi-Strat or a basic US Strat is going to more than likely be just fine. Make sure it gets a proper set up before you walk out with it. I tend to favor buying at a place I can go back to, so geographic proximity is something I value…

We have a local Guitar Center (its a chain store) in my city. I see on their web site they have a blemished Jimmie Vaughn Tex Mex for $747. White or Sunburst

$100 bucks off but I wouldn’t get my candy apple red. decisions, decisions Sunburst is nice, but candy apple red is so much nicer.

the guy said the normal setup is $50. they’d discount it to $25.

The one thing that ticked me off is the Guitar Center wants payment first before ordering. I’d prefer looking at that “blemish” before committting to buy.

Does the JV Strat have the vintage style 7.25" fretboard radius or the modern 9.5" radius?

I have Strats with both, I prefer the 9.5". The American Standard series Strats (9.5") are usually very fine intruments if you can swing the higher price.

Instead of paying 25 bucks for a setup I’d recommend buying a book and learning to do it yourself. It’s not hard.

A book like this one maybe.

it’s the 9.5 radius. Specs

I might put a better pick guard on it. This reviewer at ultimate guitar put a silver pearled 5-ply on his.

That book could be useful for any strat owner.

Cool, it’s got the bigger frets too! I like those better.

The thing about sunburst or any other see through finish is the ones they show online always have pleasing wood grain and no obvious seams between the pieces of wood that make up the body. The one you actually get may have very plain wood and obvious joints. I’m a nut about my guitars having pretty wood so it’s something I really notice. The maple in the neck can have some cosmetically funky wood grain patterns too. It’s good if you can see clear photos of the exact guitar you are considering buying online or ordering through a dealer.

Hmm, I think about the cheap side of the guitar business most of the time. At the Squier and Epiphone price range and below, there’s never been a better time to buy a cheap guitar. The materials aren’t always a nice (some old cheapo guitars are made out of very nice hunks of wood), but the build quality is much better. A little money gets you a lot these days.

But the real Fenders usually all live above that price range. If I mentally compare the new ones that I’ve tried out to the old ones, I’d say they are generally still as good, if not better. If nothing else, the quality control is usually better. On the other hand, the truly horrible instruments that slipped out of the factory in the old days have usually been fixed or discarded by now.

Plus, old instruments just do this intangible thing that new instruments can’t do. The good news is that the instrument bought new this week eventually gets it if it survives 20 years. Old instruments die every day. So, new instruments have to be bought to keep this phenomenon happening. :slight_smile:

But, as far as buying your guitar, I agree with the Capt that the feel determines whether you should buy that guitar or not. You’ve got to hold it in your hands and play it to know if it’s any good for your hands. My hands can’t really judge this for you, only yours can.

Either way, lots of people sell Fenders, and most will match other’s listed prices. I’d buy it from the place where you can try it out with the least hassle.

The guy that wrote that review mentioned tuning problems and that he solved the problem with a tuner upgrade. He may well have had bad tuners and if replacing them fixed it that’s great. BUT…for future reference…tuning trouble is often caused by the strings binding in the nut slots. Always check to make sure the strings are sliding freely in the nut slots before blaming the tuners.

River Hippie if I went with the White or Red would that prevent issues with the wood joints showing?

I already have a Sunburst acoustic. Thats why I was wanting red. GC does have a blemished white for that $749 price,

Thanks for your advice. This will be my only electric guitar. I’ve been researching for awhile.

I need a practice amp too. Something small. I’m considering either the Fender Frontman 10G or 25R. The 25R is two channel.

I was referring to somewhat transparent finishes like SB, blonde and natural where you can see the grain of the wood. Sometimes a solid (opaque) color finish can reveal where the joints in a body are but usually only after the guitar is older and even then you have to hold it in the light just right and squint. In other words, nothing to worry about.

ok. Thats good to know. White or Red then would look better. That Strat also comes in black. But I’m not a fan of black guitars.

thanks again.

Another thing I like in a Strat is light-ish weight. Some people don’t care as much as I do but once I got a light one there was no going back to a heavy one. For me 7.5 lbs is fine, over 8 is a little too much and over 8.5 is out of the question.

I had a late 70s Strat that I never weighed but I’m sure now must have been close to 10lbs.

I have a Warmoth Strat replica I built that weighs 6.4lbs. It’s a hardtail, they tend to be lighter.

If you’re open to white check out Sweetwater. They have two white ones. Same price as the other places but I’ve heard good things about their service and they show the serial number and weight of the specific guitar you are looking at.

JV Strat at Sweetwater

I’ll call Sweetwater Monday. See if they will be getting in any red models. Otherwise the white is a nice alternative.

I like their 55 point evaluation of each guitar and 2 year warranty. Sounds like they provide good support.

Getting back to the thread. There’s a 60th Anniversary Strat. Way too rich for my blood. It would be a great collectors item for those that can afford it.

Got my White Jimmie Vaughan TexMex Strat ordered. :smiley: I’m having the pick guard replaced with the optional Fender tortoise shell and I’m getting Elixir Nanoweb 10’s put on.

A lot of white Strats have the tortoise shell pick guard. Here’s one from Google. It really dresses it up and the Fender pick guard is only $38.

I’m really impressed with Sweetwater. They’re making those changes for only $20. They also offer a 2 year warranty on the guitar for free. I’m glad now that I didn’t just get something off Ebay.