New guitar! What kind of Strat should I get?

I’v decided to get a new axe, likely a Fender Strat. Being the purist I am, I’ve been deciding between a year 62’ classic and the John Mayer signature edition. The purpose of this guitar is mostly for wedding dances / general fun. I like the big dipper pickups in the Mayer Strat which gives it a bit more character. Thoughts on the situation or other reccomendations? What axe do you play? My budget is about 1500$.

Oh, my friend, the threads you could find:

and there are plenty more.

But first - a few questions:

  • Why a Strat? What qualities do you like that a Strat has above other guitars? Or, put it another way - are you set on a Strat and if so, how come?

  • Have you tried an Eric Johnson Strat? They get EXCELLENT reviews online and have somewhat different characteristics - e.g., a bigger neck with soft-V profile (I believe a Mayer has an SRV-like profile and a '62 Reissue is more slim), the neck is quartersawn (the JM and 62RI will not be; a quarter-sawn neck has its grain aligned differently so it is often seen as more rigid and with a different vibrational pattern) and the EJ has a flatter fingerboard radius (12") which many folks find really comfortable (not sure about the other two) - and the EJ has a maple fingerboard vs. rosewood for the 62RI and not sure about the JM.

Bottom line is that any of the three would likely be a great guitar and an excellent example of a Strat - but you would need to decide: a) if you are focused on a Strat; and b) which of the different features you care about most - which can get very geeky very fast - just see above, and that’s barely scratching the surface! But 90%+ of players will barely notice the variations - they’ll just notice if it a well-crafted guitar or not. If you are one of the latter, then just pick the one you enjoy playing, listening to and looking at the most and be done. But, if you think you want to dip your toe into the geekiness and really think through the feature differences, then I am happy to be your geek enabler and I am sure other Dopers would sign on to the effort, too…

While this thread doesn’t have to do with buying guitars, it does geek out in a huge, incredibly tedious sort of way on how different features affect the tone of the guitar:

Oh - and in terms of my Strat Cred - I was primarily a Strat player for over 15 years.

As for my geek cred and ability to geek out on the various features - well, you can read the threads I posted links to and decide that for yourself… :wink:

I can’t geek at WordMan’s level, but I played in a wedding reception band for many years. Because that gig involves playing so many styles of music, often at relatively low volume, I found that a Strat Plus worked very well for me. These guitars have Gold Lace Sensor pickups, a roller nut and a relatively flat (for Fender) fingerboard. The Lace Sensors are quiet and clean. Most of the tone I needed for that gig came from effects pedals and processors, not from the guitar.

A Strat which intrigues me for playing covers is the VG Strat, which does some cool modeling and modulation.

Just play as many guitars as you can and pick the one that feels and sounds right. In your price range, there are lots of nice ones. Have fun!

“Being the purist I am, I’ve been deciding between a year 62’ classic and the John Mayer signature edition.”

If you were a real purist, you would be considering a ‘real’ Strat (pre-CBS, or pre- 1960), not a copy.

Yes, but almost nobody plays those, those are collectors items to be locked away in cases, not gigged with at a wedding. Besides, if a wedding guitarist had $60k to spend on a guitar, what the hell is he doing in a wedding band? :wink:

Purist is not the word I meant, I think “traditionalist” or “play it safe” would be more akin to my personality.

And lo and behold I’ve decided to rent a Les Paul for a month…go figure.

I’m learning lots though!

I’ve tried many guitars and few cover as many bases as a Strat. Being a traditionalist as far as guitars, I can’t think of a better choice than a '62 reissue. As long as you can feel comfortable with a 7.25 fretboard radius (I certainly can) and smallish frets (no big deal to me) then by all means try some '62 reissues. If you feel more comfortable with a flatter radius and bigger frets ( I like those too) go with an American Standard Strat. I like the new ones with the more vintage style saddles but older used ones are plentiful at realistic prices.

I’m a huge Strat fan!

I can vouch for that guitar – I played it during my guitar shopping blitz a few weeks ago (though I neglected to put it in the guitar shopping thread), and it was fine. Mucho tonal character, great neck, just a really fine axe. I was all ready to take home my AD Tele, or I’d have considered it more seriously. It’s also a bit pricey @ ~$1700, which gave me some pause.

Which LP and what led you to rent it? And how are you finding it? LP’s are VERY different from Strats…