#1
I'm a chili peppers fan and my old guitar teacher played an american standard strat and I basically want to get a strat without killing my wallet. I've tried american standards and then the $500 fender mexicans and of course I loved the feel and tone of the american but it was around $1200, and I want to spend around $450-600.

I don't mind going used, in fact I'd love to get an awesome used strat, just don't know what to look for. Would a pickup change on the cheaper strats help a good amount? Give me some suggestions guys, I would appreciate it! Thanks.
Gear

Mesa/Boogie Mark V Head
Mills Acoustics Mach 212B
Peavey Vypyr 15w
ESP LTD EC-1000 guitar (BKP Nailbombs)
Fender American Standard Strat
PRS Custom 24
Dunlop KH Signature Wah
Menatone Red Snapper
Boss DD-7 Delay
Zvex Fuzz Factory
#2
A mexican one would do the trick if you don't want to spend alot of cash on a strat and also you want a good strat. I suppose if you continue you to dislike the pups or something, you could always get them changed.
#3
I thought American Specials were like $800?

Since fender is a bigname company I'd be wary of ebay, but try craigslist. You can probably score an MIA strat for $400-$500.

And I think the Specials are the cheapest MIA fenders.
http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Fender-American-Special-Stratocaster-Electric-Guitar?sku=584385
#5
Hmmm, would this be an alright deal?

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/msg/1873308884.html

I really don't care if its made in american or mexico, as long as it feels good to play, and sounds good! I could always change the pickups like I mentioned before to texas specials or something that could handle some grit.
Gear

Mesa/Boogie Mark V Head
Mills Acoustics Mach 212B
Peavey Vypyr 15w
ESP LTD EC-1000 guitar (BKP Nailbombs)
Fender American Standard Strat
PRS Custom 24
Dunlop KH Signature Wah
Menatone Red Snapper
Boss DD-7 Delay
Zvex Fuzz Factory
#6
As long as you have a chance to try it out, that should be fine. I mean most of the complaints I hear about MIMs are just the pickups. IF you're going to swap them I don't see any problems with that guitar unless its messed up in some way.
#8
I have one of the $800 American Specials that was suggested above and it's a great guitar. The MIM ones didn't seem bad either, I think either of those choices would be good for you.
Epiphone Les Paul
Fender American Special Strat
Assorted Boss and Hardwire pedals
Vox AC15C1
#11
Mexican strats are you're best bet, but look for the ones made around the mid to late 90's..they have much hotter pups in them than the ones today..they crop up on ebay occasionally
Gear
Custom USA Fender Telecaster
'85 Ibanez Roadstar 2
Vox Valvetronix VT15
Guitar Rig 4