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Fender Standard Stratocaster [1990-2005]
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Fender Standard Stratocaster [1990-2005]
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King Loudness King Loudness

« A good Strat at a good price »

Published on 08/11/11 at 20:54
The Fender Standard Strat is made in Fender's plant in Mexico as a lower cost alternative to the venerable American Standard guitar that is so loved by many around the world. It shares many features with it's more expensive brethren and they are both Strats at their core, but there are some notable differences in playability, tone, and features. The Mexican Standard Strat features an alder body, a maple neck with a gloss finish and 21 frets, a fulcum tremolo, Fender branded tuners and some slightly higher output Fender ceramic single coils mated with the atypical Strat controls. Here's the full list of specs:

Body:Alder
Body Shape:Stratocaster

Neck
Neck Shape:Modern "C" Shape
Number of Frets:21
Fret Size:Medium Jumbo
Position Inlays:Black or White Dot Position Inlays
Fretboard Radius:9.5" (24.1 cm)
Fretboard:Rosewood or Maple
Neck Material:Maple
Neck Finish:Tinted Satin Urethane
Nut Width:1.650 (42 mm)
Scale Length:25.5" (64.8 cm)
Neck Plate:Standard 4 Bolt
Truss Rod Nut:3/16" Hex Adjustment

Electronics
Pickup Configuration:S/S/S
Bridge Pickup:Standard Single-Coil Strat Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup:Standard Single-Coil Strat Middle Pickup
Neck Pickup:Standard Single-Coil Strat Neck Pickup
Pickup Switching:5-Position Blade: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup, Position 3. Middle Pickup, Position 4. Middle and Neck Pickup, Position 5. Neck Pickup
Controls:Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), Tone 2. (Middle Pickup)

Hardware
Hardware:Chrome
Bridge:Vintage Style Synchronized Tremolo
Tuning Machines:Standard Cast/Sealed Tuning Machines
String Nut:Synthetic Bone
Switch Tip:Parchment Switch Tip
Tremolo Arm/Handle:Vintage Style Tremolo Arm

Tools
Truss Rod Wrench:0.1875"

Miscellaneous
Strings:Fender USA Super Bullets 3250L, NPS, (.009-.042 Gauges)
Unique Features:Vintage Styling, Fender Transition Logo, Parchment Plastic Parts

Accessories
Case/Gig Bag:Standard Gig Bag
Pickguard:3-Ply Parchment
Included Accessories:Standard Gig Bag
Control Knobs:Parchment Plastic

UTILIZATION

The design of the Strat is much more ergonomic and contoured than say, a Les Paul. This Mexican made version stays true to that ideal, with a fairly light weight and good contouring throughout the body. The neck finish doesn't impede hand movement, and the whole guitar feels solid and reliable. The upper fret access is quite good on this Strat, aside from the blocky neck heel which may bother some folks.

Getting a good sound out of this guitar is very simple to me. It's laid out just like a typical Strat and the pickups respond in a very good "Stratty" way, with just the right amount of punch and clarity where it is required. It does everything from clean to mean just like a good Strat should. It doesn't quite have the fullness of the American Series Strat (IE: It tends to sound a little bit thinner and weaker, especially on clean sounds) but it's not a dealbreaker for the price.

SOUNDS

I've tried many of these over the years through many different tube and solid state amps that excel at both clean and overdriven tones. The clean sounds of this guitar are good for the price. They sound like a Strat should and offer a good range of tones from glassy neck pickup blues/jazz to some throaty Stevie Ray tones in the middle position to some bright, glass shattering Dick Dale surf tones in the bridge. Very cool.

The overdrive tones on this guitar sound good and punchy in all positions, as a Strat should. It's not quite as thick as the American ones in this area either, but it still sounds good of its own merit. The pickups have a certain compression to them that kind of irks me a little bit, but that is moreso a problem with the newer models, which I believe have different pickups than the older ones. With a pickup swap these guitars really do sound superior... I've tried them with EMG and DiMarzio pickups, both with excellent results.

OVERALL OPINION

All in all I feel that the Fender Standard Strat is a decent buy for someone looking for a good guitar to ape some classic and modern Fender tones for not a whole lot of change. At $500 new these guitars are fairly priced for what you get. They're made to a good and consistent quality standard, and aside from the electronics I would say they're a killer guitar for the money. It's not even that the electronics are bad per se, they just sound weaker and more compressed compared to the American Standard Strat electronics.
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