Im in the market for a used mim fender strat (SSS).
I have a budget of about $400 (US)
I'd like to know a few things first before i make any purchases.

I really want to get the most bang for my buck, and i've been looking around CL, eBay, local shops and I want to know which guitar would be best.

I'm seeing several early 90s mim strats for decent prices, but i heard they used cheaper woods then (poplar, etc) and they dont compare to newer models (06-09).
Is there truth in that? would i be better off buying a more recent model?

I can get the more recent models for the same price range as the old (300-400).

When i get it i plan to have the body painted, and if i decide to go transparent i want the wood to look good.

I also plan on buying duncan hot rails for the bridge, any pickup combinations worth investigating? Id replace them all, or keep the stocks in the neck and middle position..

The neck i would prefer to be all maple (neck and fretboard).

do mexican made fenders use quality hardware?
by quality i mean can i expect it all to work very well for many years?

id be able to eventually replace the hardware if necessary, but i dont want to if i dont have to.

i dont know much about fenders, but ive been looking to buy one for a few months, but i cant decide.

hopefully you guys with all the collective experience on this website will be able to give me enough info so i can confidently buy a great guitar.
I'm assuming you want single coils?
Quote by JD Close
Piano dick had some good parts, but should have said "As the business man slowly gets boned", would have accented the whole dick feeling of the album
Why do you want a SSS strat if you plan to put a hot rail in the bridge? Are you dead set on a strat?

Also any painted guitar you buy could have crap looking natural wood underneath. If you really want a natural finish, I suggest looking for a guitar that already has one.
You could get an american standard strat. Sam Ash in NY has a 20 year old one in mint condition for 800.
the older models have slightly worse tuners and a small block for the trem. i'd try for a newer one if possible. the stock hardware on a MIM isn't bad but isn't up to the american hardware quality wise. it will last for a while but may not be as good as you'd like. basically they are pretty decent guitars. play them if you can some are better than others and the only way to determine this is to play them. if you find a realy good one then i think you'll be happy for years to come.

fender uses ash for their natural finished guitars the MIM's are alder and chances are that the wood if stripped wouldn't be very pretty. just buy one in a color you like and skip the refinish. you can get a 70s reissue in natural butt hat might be out of your price range even used.
Last edited by monwobobbo at Oct 19, 2011,
If you plan to do that much of modifications then I would recommend getting parts and assemble your own guitar build. An unfinished warmoth body let you avoid stripping the paint and a Fender neck from ebay should make a quite good foundation for the build. Then other hardwares counted in it should costs you around $600 total. Not bad build I would say.

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