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Your standard Fender Stratocaster is one of the most iconic instruments in rock music and it is easy to see why so many new players are drawn to the instruments. Guitarists are usually initially influenced by the artists they look up to and this means new guitarists will want to play the guitar their idols play. This is why so many budding guitarists opt for the Stratocaster and of course, by the time they develop their own sound and style of play, they are more than content to continue playing the instrument.
This all ensures that the cycle of the Stratocaster continues and as long as people are playing guitars, there will be a Fender Standard Stratocaster to play! Given the way that Pearl Jam put a great level of importance on value for money and playing fair by their fans, it is good to know that you can pick up the main guitar used by Michael McCready for a very affordable price.
With respect to the basic features of the Fender Standard Stratocaster, you are looking at:
- 22 frets (some models have 21 frets)
- A mahogany neck and body
- Three way switch
- Volume dial
- Two tone dials
Sound / Tones
Given that Fender themselves say that Fender Stratocaster provides the legendary Fender tone, you may already have a good idea of the sound in your mind. Then again, with acts from Hank Marvin to Jimi Hendrix to modern day acts like Radiohead and Pearl Jam, stamping their own unique sound on the guitar, you may need a little bit more help to narrow down exactly what is meant by that classic Fender tone!
The sound you get will very much depend on how you play and your settings but you can expect a full-sound from the instrument. There is definitely more treble than bass to be found with the Stratocaster and you will find that the tone varies greatly depending on whether you play on the bridge or the neck. There is a deepness to the sound on the neck while the sound is a lot brighter at the bridge.
The range of sounds and versatility that is available from this instrument is a massive reason why it is such a popular choice for so many different types of artists. With the exception of heavy metal, you will commonly see this type of guitar on stage for all musical genres. The Fender Stratocaster is not a guitar for any metal-heads but if you really want this look of a guitar while you play heavier music, all you need to do is change a pickup for a quality humbucker and you would be on your way.
Playability / Action / Ease of Use:
One of the things about the Fender Stratocaster is that it is extremely easy to play, almost as if the guitar has been created with the musician in mind. There are many guitars which look great but can be very heavy or slightly awkward to play but this is not the case with the Stratocaster. This can be a very important thing for a new player so if you are looking for a comfortable instrument, there is no need to look much further.
The Fender Standard Stratocaster carries a pick up and play style that will allow many guitarists to play straight out of the box. Some guitarists will want to alter the instrument with the pick-ups or the tremolo bar but if you have no experience at all, you will still be able to make the most of this instrument from the minute you take it home.
Build / Reliability
When it comes to surviving bumps and scrapes, the Fender Standard Stratocaster is amongst the best in the business. This is why it is one of the best guitars for performing bands because it can take everything that a live performance and travelling can throw at it. If there was one concern about the Stratocaster it is that many players find the strings can take a lot of tuning in the early days.
If you have time and patience, this isn’t a worry but there is often nothing more frustrating than spending a great deal of time tuning and retuning your guitar. This is the biggest quibble you will find with the Stratocaster so there is not too much to be concerned with but it is definitely worth bearing in mind. It can be of benefit to blast your way through playing and tuning this guitar for a number of hours before you take it to practice or for a live show.
Price / Value
You will be looking to pay anywhere between $300 and $600 for a good Fender Standard Stratocaster and it is easy to see why it is the instrument of choice for so many guitarists. It is a classic rock guitar at a very affordable price, which will always see the Stratocaster remaining at the front of the industry. There is absolutely nothing to worry about with respect to reliability or wear and tear, so if you are looking for an affordable guitar that won’t come with many hidden costs, the Fender Standard Stratocaster is a great choice.
The Verdict / Impression
You only have to look at the vast array of famous guitarists who have a Fender Stratocaster as their number one instrument to know that this is a great addition to your collection. This instrument carries a much different sound from other guitar standards produced by Gibson but the Fender classic instruments seem to be available at a much more affordable price.
If you are looking for a cleaner sound from your guitar that can be easily changed up with a little bit of work, the Fender Stratocaster can do exactly what you need. This instrument has a firm place in the history of rock n roll and the genres that have spawned from it so if you are looking for an affordable guitar you can rely on, the Fender Stratocaster is a great choice.