Hi, i bought my son a starter kit with a "balsa wood" strat copy and tinny speaker which he discarded after moving on the next new thing. I started playing it on and off over the last 18 months and replaced the amp with an orange crush 15R. What i really want is to move another another step and advice varies from a £200 copy will make a difference to go the whole hog and buy one to last a lifetime.

My research has thrown up some contenders - a squier classic vibe tele(£250), well thought of by the guy in my local shop and lovely to play, a highway one tele(£550), well reviewed but haven't got one in my local shop for a couple of weeks and a second hand usa standard strat (£600 with hard case) which i haven't played but my mate raves about, although he's a "strat man". I know advice will be try them all and get what feels best but i don't know if i should approach this in stages rather than being all the gear no idea guy!!

All advice taken in good spirit.
Really it all comes down to how much you want to spend. Chances are if you go for the USA Strat you'll keep it for a long time, but not necessarily the same with the other 2. If you go for one of the cheaper ones you will obviously save money, but a bit later on down the track you might want to upgrade again, so you could possibly end up spending more all together.