#1
I was recently informed that the pickups on 1996-2005 (not exactly sure on the years) Strats are better than the current ones.

And it got me thinking...

I've already narrowed my guitar search to a MIM SSS Fender Stratocaster, but what about the year?

I found this site for decoding Fender serial #'s , so I know how to do that already.

So what should I be looking for? Thanks!
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. - Jimi Hendrix
#2
has to be guitar by guitar basis.

some people like the newer guitars because they used a bigger trem block, added shielding, and jumbo frets.

i like my 96' but some 96 strats might be beat to hell, you know?
Jenneh

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#3
Apparently, my Strat is 1999, and it sounds sweet.
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#4
Quote by jj1565
i like my 96' but some 96 strats might be beat to hell, you know?

Definitely, I guess the question should assume the guitars are in new condition.
But yeah, even a great MIA Strat that's had the crap beat out of it might not be better than a Squier.
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. - Jimi Hendrix
#5
You're better off just trying out every MIM strat you can in your area. I've got an '04 model that plays better (for me, anyways) than any other Fender I've ever found. A friend of mine has another early 2000s model that has the weirdest, least comfortable neck profile. Of course, he might very well prefer his to mine, so that's why it's so important that you just spend some time playing several different guitars. They did change things up around '05 or '06, supposedly adding better pickups and using a full size trem block (mine still has one of those dinky little pieces of zinc in the bridge). On more recent models, though, I've noticed the quality of neck wood has gone down pretty drastically. The last few times I've been to GC, all the MIM Fenders have had these sickly, pale necks sometimes even with that green discoloration you expect in really cheap maple necks.