Starcaster S2 Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 11/09/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Fender: Starcaster S2
It takes some fiddling to get it to where you are comfortable with the way it plays. Once your have it set, it plays and sounds as you would expect a $100 guitar to sound.
 Sound: 7.1
 Overall Impression: 8.1
 Reliability & Durability: 7.6
 Action, Fit & Finish: 7
 Features: 7.7
 Overall rating:
 7.2 
 Reviewer rating:
 7.5 
 Users rating:
 6.8 
 Votes:
 93 
reviews (9) pictures (3) 70 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 6.8
Starcaster S2 Reviewed by: FullLife, on november 09, 2012
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 179

Purchased from: sams club

Features: Came with a gig bag, 10' cable, Sq 10 practice amp with headphones, picks, extra strings, tuner, strap, and a DVD. Most of these accessories are poor quality, and I would suggest upgrading the strap, strings, and cable. // 7

Sound: I play along the lines of Switchfoot and Relient K. With the tone knobs and the setting knobs on my Fender Frontman 25R amp, I can come close to those sounds. Very solid guitar for the price. It is no real Strat by any means, but if you're just starting out you can't go wrong. // 5

Action, Fit & Finish: Action is ok. Tuners suck though. String bends or playing for about 15 minutes will cause it to go out of tune. I took out my trem bar and it's better, but I'm gonna upgrade soon. The stock strap tears easy. I bought a Levy's and it stays on. Would definently recomend strap locks. Overall it was a decent guitar right out of the box. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I did gig this once. Big suprise, it came out of tune. I've had it since mid November and have played it every day. It still plays very good. My biggest problem was how easy the stock strings break, but I put on some D'Addirio's and fixed that problem. Next big issue is tuning. Buy new tuners. Replace the stock strap and add strap locka and you're set. But this can take a beating. I've dropped this dozens of times and it still plays good. Haven't had any problems with the pickups. This is a good workhorse. // 8

Overall Impression: A great begginer guitar. Everything you need to get started. I learned on this guitar (self-taught) and my frinds are impressed. It looks like a Strat, so that in itself is a plus. But I'm saving to get an Epi Les Paul Custom. If it were stolen I would definently be sad. It's been my guitar since November (I named her Lena after a girlfriend. Lol) And it has sentimental value, but as a rocking/recording/live guitar, no. It just doesn't have a powerful sound, and it's tuners are worthless. Great practice/begginer guitar! You can't go wrong for the price. // 7

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overall: 7.6
Starcaster S2 Reviewed by: SlayingDragons, on november 09, 2012
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 199

Purchased from: Best Buy

Features: I have no idea the year it was made, but I know it was made in japan. It has 21 frets. The body is agathis, with a maple neck(I think.) It has a black finish. It looks and plays like a Stratocaster, and has three passive single coil pickups. There are three tone knobs: volume, and two tone knobs. The tone knobs do abosultly nothing. The tuners are crap, no idea what type. It came with: a guitar, (duh,) a Fender sp 10 amp, a cable, a guitar case, and an extra set of strings and picks. And a DVD. The amp and the cable sucked. I had to replace the amp, because of faulty electronics, after about three months. And the cable had loose connections somewhere in it, so I had to replace that too. The gig bag is decent, although it's a soft case, and when you carry the guitar around in the case, you have to be careful you don't accidently hit the tuners, as it will come out of tune easily. The extra strings are Fender, same as the stock, so I would recommend buying another pair of strings with this guitar, as the stock strings break very easily. // 8

Sound: This guitar suit's my style pretty well, as I play anything from classic rock to a little metal. I use a Roland Micro Cube (gimme a break, I'm broke,)and it gets the job done. It has a decent sound, a little empty, though. Pickups get a lot of feedback, and are noisy, but all single coils are noisy. (that's why the humbucker was invented- to get rid of the hum.) this guitar can make a decent variety of sounds. Best for classic rock. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The action was fine when I got it, and the pick-ups were pretty good. A couple flaws, though, include: The frets; they need to be sanded or filed down before playing so you won't have to build caluses on the side of your fingers as well. Tuning pegs: the tuning pegs are slightly loose, and come out of tune easily. Inside cuts: I took a look inside the starcaster, and the cuts were poor quality, and there was still sawdust in it. (no problems at all with the outside cuts.) Other than these, the guitar is pretty good. The outside cuts are almost flawless, and the neck is shaped pretty well. // 6

Reliability & Durability: This guitar would withstand Live playing for about thirty minutes before haveing to retune, and the hardware (except for the strings)seems like it would last. The strap buttons are okay, altough you might want to get another strap, as the one that comes with the guitar does not stay attached. I have dropped this guitar a couple times, and it's still good. The finish is going to last a long time, as it is pretty thick. // 9

Overall Impression: I play anything from classic rock to metal, and it fit's pretty good. I have not been playing very long, maybe about a year. If this guitar was stolen or lost, I would be pissed, because as my first guitar, it holds sentimental value, than save up and buy the Epiphone SG G-400 that I've been looking at. // 7

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overall: 7.4
Starcaster S2 Reviewed by: viginti_tres, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 120

Features: The body of this get-up is made from agathis. Yes I know, many of you just choked, but bear with me. This guitar really doesn't sound that bad, even for non-beginners with tonal experience. it's not a highway Strat by any means, but it gets the job done and has enough tone to get you by. Plus playability is a little more important then tone as we all know, and even though you may have to do a little set-up here and there with the starcaster, it is indeed playable. A big thing that kind of got me down is that they claim this is a 22 fret guitar. However my "22nd fret" is non-existent, so there is just a space behind the 21st fret that is unusable for it's lack of it's own fret. Body style is a classic doublecut which you can never go wrong with, so no complaints here. However the headstock is not the most attractive thing in the world, being a triangle shape. There is a model of the starcaster with a humbucker, and 2 single coils, however mine is a three single coil pickup configuration. The pickups are passive, and while they are not dimarzio's, they do their job quite well for stock pickups in a 100 dollar guitar. Strat setup with the 2 tone knobs, 1 volume, and a 5-way selector. Strat style tremolo bridge, but it is NOT something to drool over. The strings don't stay in tune if you go whammy'ing away, but again, with a 100 dollar guitar you can't expect the results of a floyd rose. I ordered mine in a starter pack which came with picks, cables, tuner, a few other little goodies, and a 10 watt Fender amp. Not too bad of a way to get started. So definately not a bad fleet of features for a starter guitar. // 8

Sound: I play a little bit of everything, anything from lynard skynard, to Slipknot, all the way back to creed. Since the guitar is agathis, I will say the tone is not as bright as any Strat you will ever play, but it doesnt't sound horrible by any means. I use a Crate gt 30 watt amp, and a DigiTech Hot Head Distortion pedal and it sounds fine. The pickups are not high-output enough to get that true metal-core sound, but if you think about it, what kind of single-coil pickups are. The amp that comes with the package (10 watt Fender) isnt a tone beast by a long shot. The overdrive is a joke, but with a distortion pedal it's decent enough to get by. But after a while you will want to upgrade. The guitar holds up nicely enough to squeeze decent tone out through my Crate gt. The sound of the guitar is pretty versatile depending on your rig, but I would say it's best for country, classic rock, blues, and maybe a little hard rock if you throw in some fat distortion. One thing I recommend is to change the strings immediately when you get it, the stock strings are horrible. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: The factory setup on my guitar was a joke. The truss rod needed major adjustment and the action needs to be a tad, just a tad, bit higher than normal to get rid of fret rattle. But I really don't notice the raised height of the action, and I wouldn't think anyone else would because it's so subtle, unless you keep your action super low anyway. Also the intonation was way off, and I still cannot get it quite perfect. Other than that there are no other flaws besides the issue with the non-existent 22nd fret. // 5

Reliability & Durability: I have beaten the crap out of this thing. It goes back and forth to my dad's everyweekend and it does just fine. Definately rugged enough for a clumsy/rugged guitar desiring person. I believe this guitar would do fine in a Live performance, however I'd think if someone was experienced enough to be performing live that they would not be using a starcaster just because by then most people would have purchased a new guitar. But yes, it would do fine and you could depend on it easily. // 9

Overall Impression: Overall this guitar is a great buy for a beginner. It sounds good enough to get you by and is as playable as any other guitar, which is the most important thing in getting better. One thing I love about this guitar is that its playability is plainly outstanding for a beginner guitar, once you get it set up properly of course. // 8

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overall: 6.8
Starcaster S2 Reviewed by: fenderbender62, on november 09, 2012
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 178

Purchased from: sams club

Features: My starcaster was made in 200 in japan. It has 22 medium jumbo frets. The body is made of agathis and a Strat style shape. The neck is a c-shaped maple mith skunk stripe down the middle. The finger board is rosewood with mother of pearl dot inlays 3, 5, 7, 9, 15, 17, 19, and two dots on 12. There are 3 single coil pickups with Standard Strat 5 way swith. 1 volume two tone knobs. The finish is a black metallic. The headstock is the 70's style big size. It is equiped with a synchronous tremelo bridge and die cast tuners. My guitar came with a Fender gigbag and Squier SP-10 amplifier and guitar stand. All hardwhare is chrome. The tremolo bar also makes this guitar stay in tune for about 5 minutes so I don't use it and rely on string bends. // 7

Sound: I play almost any kind of rock, classic, metal, punk. It works well. I use a DigiTech RP50 amp modulater but the only effect realy that I use is fuzz distortion. It sound great in all pickup and tone locations. For a heavy sound I will sometimes have to booste the bass on my amp to about 7 but that is the only amp adjustment I use to get a humbucking kind of sound. My one complaint on it's sound is the feedback. I know it won't be quiet based on the single coils but I have to use a noise gate, one of the fetures on my rp50 to keep it in control. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: When I took my guitar out of the box the 3rd fret on the 2nd string made o sound do to bad action. After a truss rod adjst ment and some string saddle adjustments it sounded fine. It was a relief because I realy needed that note to play stairway on. The only flaw I found on this guitar was the frets were not filed well on the bottom of the neck so it took me about a week to build up a calus on my hand from where I slide up and down the neck. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I haven't play Live yet and honestly I don't think I'd use it. It goes out of tune easily after some hard strumming. I think the finish is week because there are some scratches in it that shouldn't be there. When I play standing up all I have to do is move a little and the strap falls off. also strings seem to break on it a lot I use.10s but.09s came on it. // 4

Overall Impression: As I said earlier I play rock in all forms. It being a Strat style guitar fits my needs perfectly. I have been plaing for few years and play everyday for at least 2-3 hours. If my guitar were lost or stolen I would probably play on my accoustic until I had saved up enough money for an upgrade but still the Strat style. Something I love about my guitar is the tonal and styleistic verasatility. Something I hate is nothing but I would like better tuner. This is the only electric guitar I have ever laid hands on so I can't compare. On thing I wish it had was a high output humbucker in the bridge position for more versatility. Maybe I will install one. // 8

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overall: 7.6
Starcaster S2 Reviewed by: M1K3A, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 200

Purchased from: Sams Club

Features: My starcaster came from China, body made of agitha wood, Stratocaster body is really comfortable, 21 frets, single single humbucker pickups, 2 tone 1 volume knob, tremolo bridge, tuners basically non existant, came with a strap; useless, gig bag, cable; useless, tremolo arm, DVD, extra strings, a tuner and picks, along wih an sp10 amp, which can get a semi decent clean sound but it can't go very loud with distortion before getting muddy. // 7

Sound: I play it through a Line 6 spider 3 30 watt amp, I can get various sounds out of it ranging from an acoustic like clean to a pretty loud type metal. Key word like. It took some fine tuning to get it to play the way I want. As with any electric though most of it is in the amp so with out one I could make a les paul sound like my starcaster. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: My guitar needed to major work, no mis alignments, no blemishes no flaws really, just came out of the box, needed some tuning but other then that I haven't had many problems. This guitar fits really nicely along your body as would any Stratocaster, it weighs about the same too. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This could withstand Live playing, but first the tuners need to go, I've replaced mine with wilkinson locking tuners and fitted a Seymour Duncan TB-4 JB humbucker and it has become more versatile in the sound department. Other than the tuners everything else seemed fine, you will need strap locks for Live plaing though. I would gig mine with modifications with out a back up, a stock one I would say nay. // 8

Overall Impression: I play RHCP, Metallica, nirvana, santana, hendrix, skynyrd, zeppelin, and some Black Sabbath, although I can't get an exact sound I can get close. I have been playing for about 5 months and this was my first guitar and I actually prefer it over my new one, an Epiphone Les Paul Standard plain top. maybe I just haven't gotten use to it yet but the neck on my starcaster feels so much more comfortable as does the body, but I love the deep metal sound from the Epiphone. I would miss it very much if it dissapeared. // 8

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overall: 7.8
Starcaster S2 Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: made in 2002 in indoniesia has 3 pickups and 5 selection if different pickup sounds 3 knobs 1 volume 2 tone put a whammy on the son of a biscuit 21 frets i just cant stand the head its pointy! uggghhhhh! pointy poiny pointy lookin forward to swappin its neck though with a m.i.m. Strat so i could fool someone to buy it. // 8

Sound: its a beginners guitar if u have money to upgrade the pickups and throw a whammy on it itll sound pretty cool.It came with a cheapy 15g frontman amp but instead I use a Line 6 spider ! i love the hammer ons but for some reason it refuses to tap neatly it plays sloppy especially with distortion ,i have an fx pedal and man it sounds awesome .especially with a clean effect. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: bought it used so it was in almost good condition but i fixed her up and it looks sexy but i hate its sharp head. the third double pickup falls out ocassionally but thats cuz i was dikin around with it. since it was used i had no idea what kind of abuse it went through but shes in better arms now.... .... // 7

Reliability & Durability: its lasted 8 years plays nice and is a great beginner guitar. if anythin braks 95% is fixable and cheap for this guitar. i wont be playin it anytime soon and i would only gig with it if its an emergency.considering it uncooperates with distortion. ocassionaly the strap falls of lucky enoygh in never fell while practicing recommended change of lots of things. // 8

Overall Impression: I play classic to hard rock to metal and any type of rock. it doesnt like bieng distorted but it sound great with fx and clean its an excellent beginners guitar especially souped up it stayed in tune and likes to be played great for learning and not permorming.......... // 9

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overall: 8.8
Starcaster S2 Reviewed by: f22master, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 100

Purchased from: Sams Club

Features: Not sure of the year but it was definetly made in china! It has 22 frets on a maple fretboard. Not sure of the body/neck woods but they are very soft. The finish is a gloss black with a white pickgaurd. It is a Stratocaster copy that is made in china. it has a Standard style tremelo which I replaced because half the bar snapped off inside it! it has 3 passive single coil pickups that aren't that bad. 2 tone 1 volume knob and a 5way Switch. the tuners are pretty crappy but it IS a $100 guitar! It came with a 10w amp, POS strap, crappy tuner, and a gig bag. oh, and a dvd. // 8

Sound: It sounds a lot better than most people would think! I play mostly rock and metal and it's fine for it. It can play anything from Metallica to zepplin to the beatles. I play it straight through my Crate GTD65. the pickups are kinda noisy but all single coils are noisy. It plays very well acoustically. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: from the box it was OK. Not sh!t, not godly. Just OK. It was my 1st guitar so I wasn't all that sure how they were supposed to play. Now I know. After a set-up and some Ernie Ball 9s it played like a dream! there are no real flaws in the paint or in any electrical. the only thing is that the bridge pickup tone knob doesnt't work at all. but that's not a big deal because I don't really need it. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is very durable. I have played it Live 2 or 3 times. I've never dropped it but it has gotten bannged around a bit! The finish is like an inch thick and was probably applied by splasshing a bucket of paint on it! The strap buttons seem solid but I mostly play sitting down. The only real problem I've had is that when I first got it I overtightened the tremelo bar and it snapped off and half of it was stuck in the trem block! So I put a new trem in it($23 from GC! ) and now it works just fine and stays in tune forever. Well almost! // 9

Overall Impression: I've been playing for about 9 months now and own 2 electrics and an acoustic. this was my first guitar and it's better than any Squier Strat I've ever played! the only thing I wish this had was a floyd but now that I got a floyd on my B\.C\. Rich NJ Warlock I'm set! if it were stolen I'd prolly go to sams and get another one just like it. I love the neck on this guitar! I don't know what it is but it's just so easy to play! it's beter than any Fender neck I've played. I really do think this guitar is great after a few tweaks here and there! // 10

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overall: 8.4
Starcaster S2 Reviewed by: rocknroller34, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 199.99

Purchased from: Target

Features: I don't know what year it was made, it was crafted in china, there are 21 frets, its a solid top, the neck and body are made of mahogony, the finish is satin, the body style is a Strat, the ridge style is tune-o-matic, its electronics are passive, theres a volume, 2 tones, and a 5 way selector, the tuners are non-locking, the guitar came with a gig bag, strap, tools, and tools. // 9

Sound: This guitar suits my music style very well (my style is 80's metal and classic rock), the only amp that I have is the little practice amp that came with it, but sometimes I use my friends Peavy bandit 112, it is noisy on the lead guitar setting, it has a full sound, it can make a lot of sounds, the variety can range from heavy metal to pop. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up very well at the factory, I didn't have to adjust the pickups at all, the top was properly bookmatched, the bridge was routed very good, the only flaw was the harmonics but I fixed that in about 10 minutes, and the strings were kinda rusted but I replaced them, the only flaws about the guitar you could easily fix you self in about 10 minutes. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This guitar in my opinion is more of a studio style guitar, it could withstand Live playing, but I wouldn't play with it live, the hardware on the guitar does seem like it will last, the strap buttons are solid, I could depend on it, but I wouldn't use it in a gig without a backup, the finish will last a long time. // 7

Overall Impression: I play 80's metal and classic rock, it is a very good match for those style of music, I have been playing for about 1 year now, there's nothing I would have asked before buy this guitar, if this guitar were stolen I would buy it again, I love that it has a 5 way selector, there's nothing that I really hate about it, I compared it to Squier and Fender strats, I chose this one because it better than the squiers nad cheaper than the fenders, there's nothing I wish it had. // 9

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overall: 6.2
Starcaster S2 Reviewed by: CinderellaFan14, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 179.99

Purchased from: MusiciansFriend.com

Features: Fender guitars are well known for having beautiful craftsmanship, an easy to use layout, and an overall excellent sound. But all of these great qualities came at a price, which pushed many guitar players away from a great brand and product. The Fender Starcaster is the perfect remedy for that Fender withdrawal. From first glance, you can immediately tell what kind of guitar you're dealing with. A Japanese Stratocaster clone, my 2012 Fender Starcaster shines with the essence of the sun, with a beautiful starburst finish radiating from its core. The snow white pickguard, control knobs, five-way tone switch and three pearl white pickups stand out wonderfully against the starlight body, making its appearance alone the showcase for a room. The 2012 Fender Starcaster has a 24 medium fret neck and a satin lacquer neck, which allows your hand to slide easily up and down the guitar. Already this guitar has made great first impressions. // 7

Sound: The tone of the Starcaster sounds exactly like the way a Fender should. Clear, harmonious notes echo throughout my Rickenbacker amplifier everytime I strum the strings. The Fender Starcaster can easily handle the sound of 70's classic rock, but with any type of sound, the stock pickups don't handle the tone or output as well. However, increase the tone and the gain, let the amp do the work and it can scream out hard rock to the world! The 5-way tone switch is also extremely helpful when it comes to increasing the tone of the stock pickups. You can easily transition from a clear, crisp sound to a low, almost bass-like tone. However, after changing the pickups on this guitar to Seymour Duncans, the true potential of this guitar really came out. // 5

Action, Fit & Finish: Immediately out of the box, this guitar was in beautiful condition and shape! The guitar tuned up incredibly well, however the action and truss rod of the guitar did need to be adjusted before I could begin playing. Out of the box, the guitar would barely manage to choke out a faint, buzzing sound on the first frets of each string. But after 5 minutes of adjustments, this Starcaster was ready to shine! The finish on the guitar was absolutely flawless, and all of the small details began to really add up. Overall, I was moderately satisfied with this out of box shape. // 6

Reliability & Durability: With a solid Agathis wood body and rosewood neck, the Fender Starcaster will and has stood up to many beatings and came out nearly unharmed. Despite several drops and and slams, this guitar is still unscratched. The stock hardware on the Starcaster are of great quality, and have lasted over two years without any change in performance. Although the stock pickups are really excellent for the price, the real potential truly comes out after a change in pickups. This guitar is incredibly reliable when it comes to being on the road and onstage. // 6

Overall Impression: The 2012 Fender Starcaster is an incredible instrument, with amazing quality and large potential. This guitar dominantly boasts a beautiful starburst finish and stunning white hardware, but to get the true power of this guitar comes out after a change of pickups. The Starcaster is a great guitar that can handle nearly any style of music with a little help from some new pickups or guitar pedals, and your hand can easily slide between quick riffs of metal or jazz. With over 10 years of guitar experience, I can easily say this guitar cannot honestly match up against a Gibson or an actual Fender Strat. However, taking the price into consideration, this guitar is definitely a great buy and an essential guitar to have in your collection. // 7

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