Hey all --

I've been looking pretty aggressively for a solidbody. It'd be my first of the kind. I currently own an Ibanez semi-hollow which I love, so I'm looking to diversify the sounds I can get. Subversives aka "you can play anything with anything" are appreciated in sentiment, but not what I'm looking for.
An example of the sound I would like to expand to, which you might roughly call shoegaze: http://youtu.be/ONlLmXuZBI0?t=6m4s. What I know about their guitarist is that she plays a strat, the pickups are hotrails, and I have an actual grade-school-type crush on her.

I've played a handful of strats, and I think that's generally what I'm looking for. But I'm just not inspired by how they look. I've been looking around, and I love the look of Suhrs, Vigiers, etc, which appear to be good (understatement? yeah) strat substitutes. But they're out of my price range for the time being. The guitars that I've found that I like and seemingly would work are some of the Ibanez Prestige line, some ESL guitars I've found, and this odd Ibanez line, the RT line (an example: http://preview.tinyurl.com/kp4xlx4).

If any of you have any experience with any of these, or could make separate recommendations for a guitar with similar capabilities to a strat, that'd be awesome. A solid pricecap is $1000, one for a universe where I'm patient is $1500.
Last edited by waspenterprises at Aug 11, 2014,
Two options that I'm using:

One, I'm using Carvin DC-145s. These are HSH configuration superstrats with a 25" scale (one is actually a 25.5" scale), 24 frets, neck-through construction. Five-way pickup selector, master volume, master treble rolloff ("tone") and three mini-switches. Two of the miniswitches select single coil mode for the humbuckers, and the coils that are left active are the cream coils (see guitar below) closest to the neck and to the bridge. In this mode, this is pretty much a strat. The pickups used are just hot enough that the remaining coils are pretty much the same output as a standard strat set.

With the coil split switches in the off position, there's a whole different set of sounds (except for the center position middle pickup only) on four of the switch points.

The third mini-switch is the bridge pickup add-in switch. This essentially gives you the Les Paul bridge plus neck sound if the pickup selector is all the way forward. In addition, there are some interesting options that you don't get with a strat, when the bridge pickup add-in is engaged for the forward two positions in full single-coil mode and when you have all three pickups selected. Extremely versatile guitars. This one has a mahogany neck/body, with a 20mm quilted maple cap. The control setup could be adapted to virtually any guitar.

Carvins have various fretboard radius (and fret size) options as well.

Second, I'm using a Variax JTV-89F. This is a superstrat version of the Variax, with a pair of "hot" magnetic pickups and the new "HD" modified Variax guitar models built in. At one point I thought I wanted the JTV-59, and I grudgingly bought the 89F because it had the Floyd, and I wanted that more. As it turns out, this guitar may be the best of the Variax half-dozen models for several reasons. One, it's a 24-fret neck with a smoothed bolt-neck construction. I generally don't care for bolt-necks, but this one is acceptable. Satin finish on the neck, 16" radius, jumbo frets, very smooth rosewood fretboard, slightly wider/thinner neck profile -- very comfortable. Well turned out for fast play. There are four pots (well, two of them are for Variax model and alternate tuning switching), with a master volume and a master tone. And a five-way. Honestly, the whole Variax thing was designed for use with a five-way anyway, and the 59 (LP style) has some kludgy thing going on with a three-way to keep the LP folks happy. It turns out that the Graphtech piezos on the LB163 Schaller-based Floyd on the guitar are actually probably better than the normal LR Baggs piezos on the other guitars, and those, in turn, are a major improvement over the 2004-era original Variax piezos. Nice.

The strat, tele, 335 and LP models available are outstanding. ONE major difference between the single coil models (P90, strat, tele) and the real thing. No Noise. Zero. Zip. Nada. Crank them up, feed them gain if you want to. Stand next to the ice machine, mosey over to the neon lighting. No Noise. There are acoustic models on there, but you need to bear in mind that these are models of acoustic guitars with a mike on them, and that you get the best reproduction through a PA or full-range speaker setup, just as you would with any acoustic guitar being miked. Just like an acoustic except that you can do double stop bends, and (with the 89F), you can do acoustic dive-bombs. Try that on your Taylor. If you can listen to one of these through a Pod or an Axe-FX, do so. Do NOT listen to one of these through a 15W Spider. Just don't even bother.

You're going to have to hunt down a used one (or club the store manager over the head) to get one within your budget, but it's so worth it.
$1500 will get you a used PRS CE22/24 and you should have $500ish left over. These are basically the same as the PRS Custom 22/24 but they have a Bolt-thru maple neck wich is more strat like, 2 HB's with coil tap and if you get the trem version, probably the most stable non locking trem being made.
Her you go and it is only $899 www.guitarcenter.com/PRS-Used--PRS-1990-CE24--Sunburst-Solid-Body-Electric-Guitar-110098027-i3741747.gc
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
For under $1000, new, here's what I'd look at for a Strat-like guitar:

G&L Tributes. Made in Indonesia with the same parts as the G&L USA models, they're a lot of bang for the buck- somewhere between Fender's MiM and USA product lines in quality. The USA models are killer, but most are out of your price range, new. Lots of good used ones on eBay right now, though- I'm watching maybe a half dozen; ditto Carvins, FWIW.*

Dean Zelinsky has been making guitars for decades. His latest company uses high quality parts and Indonesian labor to keep quality up and costs down.

Fret-King is a British company- their Blue and Black label lines are manufactured in Korea and (I think) China or Indonesia. I personally own a Blue label Super 60 HB. The rumor is that the Blue label is being phased out. The Black labels are still good, with an upward quality trend- it even contains some unique sig guitars.

Fernandes is a Japanese company that usually caters to the hard rock/ metal crowd. They do have some Strat-clones though- their take includes slimmer necks and a few unusual pickup options.
This one is on clearance:

Godin is a Canadian company, and AFAIK, their entire production comes from just a couple Canadian factories. That translates into some fairly tight QC, and really good bang for the buck.

Richmond was Godin subsidiary that has now been absorbed into the main company. The guitars are every bit as well made as Godin's. I think the Belmont would be a good choice if you want a HSS hardtail.

Reverend's Six Gun is their most Stratlike product, but others can do the job. The Double Agent has a P90 in the neck and a HB in the bridge, so its kind of like a beefed-up version of a HSS guitar. And the bass contour knob- standard on all Reverends- can make the HBs on almost any of their guitars deliver convincing singlecoil-like tones. Their P90s and RevTrons (a miniHB designed with the classic FillerTron sound in mind) are top notch. (I own 3 Reverends, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.)

* some examples:





Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Fender "offset" models are sweet if you're looking for a strat alternative.
Fender Mustang/Derfenstein DST> Boss Power Wah> Pedal Monsters Klone> Bogner Uberschall> Walrus Audio Janus> Randall RM20> Line 6 M9> Randall RM20
@All -- thank you so much, these are on-point and really valuable. I might have to try every one of these :p the Fernandes and Godin Belmonts in particular look pretty unusual. Any more input is of course appreciated, if anyone has anything to add.
Quote by lucky1978
Fender "offset" models are sweet if you're looking for a strat alternative.

I'll second the emotion on this one, that's what I play (clarification: Jaguars, Jazzmasters, Mustangs, Jag-Stangs). I'll throw some of my info/suggestions out there...

Jaguars are my #1 off the rack guitar. They tend to be able to do everything from Jazz, to Metal if set up right. I have one with cool rails in it, it's like having a Teisco and a Gibson in the same guitar.

Jazzmasters are about the same, but they have that unique Jazzmaster thing to them (sort of a Piano-like delivery when clean, and can be a bit ratty distorted, which can be cleaned up with careful manipulation of the volume and tone knobs).

Mustangs are an interesting beast tone-wise, they sound very strat-like or tele-like in all the usual tone settings, but the interesting ones are the out-of-phase settings which give this sort of "Clonky" type delivery that can be very effective with an overdriven amp.

Jag-Stang's are also pretty versatile and have the same attirbutes as a Mustang, but with a bridge humbucker pickup for fatter tones. Most Jag-Stangs I have played are a tad bit, well, wooly because of the ultra-light basswood body paired with the bridge humbucker.

The only thing to look out with on Offsets, is the setup, particularly on the Jaguar and Jazzmaster. Most people prefer 11+ gauge strings (especially on the Jaguar) as the bridge has a low breakover angle, though some people get around it by installing an expensive boutique Mastery bridge or a Mustang bridge on the guitar.

I use 009's on mine and they work fine, but I had to put stronger springs on the high E and low E saddles to make the bridge a little more robust. They can be rather tricky at first but once setup they are about as stable as anything else.
My Current Mains
- 1996 Fender Jag-Stang with EMG Pickups
- 1998 Fender Jaguar with Cool Rails
- 1982 Hondo Paul Dean II (DiMarzio Super II X2)
- 2010 "Fender" Jazzmaster (Home built)
- 2013 Squier VM Bass VI (stock)
Quote by Mad-Mike_J83
I'll second the emotion on this one, that's what I play (clarification: Jaguars, Jazzmasters, Mustangs, Jag-Stangs). I'll throw some of my info/suggestions out there....

My issue with Jaguars has to do with the fairly short scale (24"). The standard Gibson scale (24.75" nominally, but often more like 24.6") is about as short as I usually want to go. I'm also leery of fretboards that have a radius less than 12" -- a lot of Gibsons are spec'd at 12", but when you measure them, they're closer to 10". I don't remember where the Jags are, but some Fenders are as low as 7.25", and that's pretty far from my personal preferences.

There ARE longer scale replacement necks for the Jags, and Fender may make a longer-scale version (seems to me I've seen them). The Mastery bridges go a long way toward helping to keep the strings where they belong on these guitars, but be prepared for a $200 bill (worth it, IMHO, though): http://www.masterybridge.com/
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Aug 15, 2014,