Are you looking to purchase a bargain bucket stratocaster guitar without breaking the bank?
Or how about buying your kid brother, or sister for that matter these days their very first guitar – think how proud they would be if you bought them one of the great names from guitar history, their very own Fender Stratocaster guitar! What a great gift idea!
How is it possible to do that? Is it not true that strocaster guitars cost an arm and a leg?
How can I afford a Fender Stratocaster guitar? Is it possible that you can help me pick a model which will not burn an excessive hole in my pocket, only I cannot at present afford too much and who knows with my brother (or sister) they might keep it only a month or two and then decide it’s not for them, would you please be able to give me some advice to help me out in this situation?
Absolutely not a problem, here we go!
The Fender Stratocaster guitar that likely you need to be thinking about buying are the one’s name Squier Stratocasters. The hierarchy of Fender Stratocasters guitars is first the American Standard, followed by the Fender mexican Standard, after which there is the Squier Standard Stratocaster, then the Squier Affinity Strat and last but not least, the Squier Bullet. Now, you should be able to find on a marketplace like eBay for example, a very nice example shipped to your door in the $120 to $160 bracket, not bad eh?
First though, let’s go into a bit more detail so that you can make a more informed purchasing decision when you do decide to buy.
Squier Stratocasters, which are currently made overseas in places like China and Indonesia, with some coming from Korea. (Note: There were some that were made in Mexico in the very early ’90’s that have the standard Mexican serial number, i.e. MNxxxxxx and also some made in the USA in the 1980’s I believe that may start with and ‘E’). The newer ones will say ‘Crafted in Indonesia’ or ‘Crafted in China’ on the back of the headstock but the older ones will normally have ‘Made in Korea’ or ‘Made in China’ on the front of the headstock. I won’t go into the serial numbers too much here other than to say that they are normally found on the back of the headstock, but these will say “Squier” in large letters right on the front of the headstock instead of the regular “Fender” logo that’s on the American and Mexican Standard models. The Squiers may say something like ‘by Fender’ in smaller letters. To make things more confusing, the Squier line of Stratocasters come in 3 sub-models. The top of the Squier line is the ‘Standard’ which sells for around $199 new, the ‘Affinity’ which goes for around $149 and the bottom of the line ‘Bullet’ which goes for around $99 new. Those are shipped to your door prices. It’s amazing what some people will try to sell these for on eBay but you should be able to find a very nice used Squier Standard on eBay for between $120-$160 shipped.
The American and Mexican Strats will have similar bodies and necks as far as materials go but the Americans will typically have the nicer feeling necks, bodies made of fewer pieces, much nicer finishes and better hardware (tuners, bridges, etc) and electronics (pickups, tone/volume controls, etc). The American models will have a 22 fret neck with a width of around 1.68″ at the nut and most Mexicans will have a 21 fret neck with a 1.65″ width at the nut. Both are very good quality though and lots of people are perfectly happy with the Mexican models, which are a great value for the money. You can upgrade the pickups to American Series quality or better and end up with a really great guitar. The general rule is to buy as good of a guitar as you can afford. The better the guitar, the more likely you are to pick it up and play! Used is a great way to start as you can usually get your money back on a resale. That’s if you don’t overpay to begin with, which is what this guide is intended to prevent. Plus, when you buy used you can get a much better guitar for the same amount of money. The American models and some of the Mexican made special models can hold their values very well. Use the new and used pricing I’ve listed above as a guide but it never hurts to do your own research. Check the eBay ‘Completed Listings’ for similar models to get a good idea what the going prices are.
You can also look online for Fender Forums, where you will find some truly excellent advice from individuals just like you that have been in the same situation. Just register and join for free, as with any other forum online and post up your questions. Most individuals posting on these kind of forums are extremely helpful when it comes to imparting advice to others. Finally, may we wish you the very best of luck trying to source and find your guitar either for yourself or as that all important birthday or other gift item for your brother, sister, a member of your family, boyfriend, girlfriend or business colleague. We hope that they get many years of playing pleasure from their very own Fender Stratocaster guitar!