#1
So I’m looking for a Strat type of guitar simply because I don’t have one. I’m definitely more of a “metal” player but want some variety.

I don’t want a piece of junk but don’t want to invest too much on this type of guitar.

Here’s the concise version:

Budget: $250 - $400 with a case
Favorite Artists: Doesn’t apply in this instance. Looking to experiment with single coils.
Preferences: Strat shape, open to neck profile. 22 frets would be cool but not necessary.
Pickups: 3 Passive Single Coils that don’t suck
New or Used: Either but prefer used.
Location: Norfolk, VA and Richmond, VA USA for Craigslist I’m willing to buy this online.
Current Gear: Jackson MIJ and ESP E-II Guitars, EMG 81/85, Duncan Distortion/Jazz, Duncan JB/'59, Mesa Roadster, Peavey 5150, Boosts, Delay, Chorus, etc.

And the detailed version:

Used is fine. I’m a deal hunter so something for $250-$400 with a case would be ideal.

Requirements:

  • Stays in tune well – I don’t want a crappy trem system or tuners that don’t work well. I’m familiar with Floyd Rose styles and what’s good and not, but never looked into these strat/vintage styles before.
  • 3 Single Coil pickups – I have plenty of humbuckers and want the different sound.
  • I prefer 3-tone bursts or transparent finishes (red or blue) with white pick guards. I want the guitar to look pretty and have the right type of vibe for the style of music if that makes any sense.
  • I’ve never had a maple fretboard so I’m open to either maple or rosewood – really whichever looks best with the rest of the package.
  • Chrome hardware – I really don’t like the way gold hardware looks.
  • Prefer routed to take a humbucker in the bridge but come with a single coil for future mods if needed.


I will be playing it through my Mesa Roadster Combo (2x Mesa V30s) mostly on channels 1 and 2 – Lonestar and Mark I based for the cleans but with a Tweed and Brit mode as well.

I’ve done a bit of looking and the Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster looks amazing except for the mint pickguard (would have to see that in person) and of course it’s WAAAAYYYY more than I want to spend for this.

So I’ve been looking at:

Squire Standard Strat FMT - $250 new without case - Finish looks great, 22 frets, no idea about the pickups but seem decent, 9.5” more rounded radius. The FMT seems new so no used market but the price isn’t much.

Fender Standard Stratocaster Plus Top - $549 new without case – Finish options look great, 21 frets, Pickups seem to be the same Single Coil Strat that the Squire has, 9.5” radius neck. Used Market looks limited but doable – I’m not in a hurry.

G&L Tribute Legacy (the Blueburst looks very sexy) - $540 new without case. Finish looks great, 22 frets, Pickups seem nice, 12” radius looks nice (closer to my Jacksons and ESP), tone controls look interesting. Used market is very light.


My thoughts are that the Fender Standard is a better guitar than the Squire but that’s 100% biased on the brand name. . .

The G&L looks pretty ideal but the limited to non-existent used market will put it over budget most likely.

So what are your thoughts on these 3 options and please feel free to bring other options to the table.

Thanks!
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#2
I'd probably recommend you the Squier Vintage Modified Series on that budget, if you want to buy new. Otherwise, a Fender Standard Strat would be a good option.
"Your signature can not be longer than 250 characters."

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#3
1) G&L makes some awesome guitars. If you can find a used tribute legacy, jump on that.

2) Squires can be very solid guitars if you mod them correctly. Maybe try buying a used squire then upgrade the pickups?

3) Look into the peavey predator. The USA predator is a very good guitar for it's price tag. I got mine for $150 and it rivals any mexican strat I've ever played.

4) Used mexican strats would be a solid choice too. I don't know what the used market is like in your area, but they're a dime a dozen where I'm from.
-Andrew H
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#4
Personally, I'd say go for a used Vintage Modified or Classic Vibe Squier depending on your preferred aesthetic and swap the pickups out (in all other factors they're great guitars - the CV are Squier's best - and obviously significantly cheaper than the Fenders so you'd have the $ to spare for a Fender set - a '57/'62 set, for example, can be had for about $100 on ebay). A used hard case could probably be found for $50 or so.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Aug 24, 2015,
#5
If you're the handy sort, a Carvin kit would be in your price range.
http://www.carvinguitars.com/kits/
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#6
Quote by HomerSGR
I'd probably recommend you the Squier Vintage Modified Series on that budget, if you want to buy new. Otherwise, a Fender Standard Strat would be a good option.

I'd prefer to go used for this one. Feel like I can get a better guitar for the money.
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#7
Quote by fagelamusgtr
1) G&L makes some awesome guitars. If you can find a used tribute legacy, jump on that.

2) Squires can be very solid guitars if you mod them correctly. Maybe try buying a used squire then upgrade the pickups?

3) Look into the peavey predator. The USA predator is a very good guitar for it's price tag. I got mine for $150 and it rivals any mexican strat I've ever played.

4) Used mexican strats would be a solid choice too. I don't know what the used market is like in your area, but they're a dime a dozen where I'm from.


I'm really liking the G&L on paper and I normally only hear good things about them.

I'm not sure I want to get into a project with this one. I want more of a pick up and go for the use case.

Peavey is a good call. I didn't list them as all of their new ones are HH. I'll keep an eye out for a MIA SSS.

Used Mexican Strat is probably the front runner just from the sheer number of the things. . .

I'm really concerned about the difference in hardware quality - trem, saddles, tuners, and pickup quality (since I really don't want to do a swap unless something dramatic happens to my playing preferences) between the Squires and MIM Strats.
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#8
Quote by K33nbl4d3
Personally, I'd say go for a used Vintage Modified or Classic Vibe Squier depending on your preferred aesthetic and swap the pickups out (in all other factors they're great guitars - the CV are Squier's best - and obviously significantly cheaper than the Fenders so you'd have the $ to spare for a Fender set - a '57/'62 set, for example, can be had for about $100 on ebay). A used hard case could probably be found for $50 or so.

The CV is a good call. They are looking decent if I end up going Squire. I just really feel like I can get a better deal on a used MIM Strat or a G&L or something else.

How is the hardware - trem, saddles, tuners, pickups, etc. on the Squire vs. the MIM strat?
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#9
Quote by dannyalcatraz
If you're the handy sort, a Carvin kit would be in your price range.
http://www.carvinguitars.com/kits/

This is a great out of the box suggestion Danny. Unfortunately I don't want to spend the time for this particular project.
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#10
Well that's why I'd favour the Squier to help budget for pickups. The biggest issue with the Squiers and the standard MIMs is they both have mediocre pickups (ceramic, I think, not that that's inherently bad). If you can afford new pickups and an MIM that'll be ideal, but if not then you'll get a better sound from one of the good Squiers (and the VM and CV ranges are really quite good) and a fresh set of pickups.

EDIT: Yeah I don't think there's a particularly large difference in hardware between the Squier CVs and the MIM standards. I mean I've heard it said the CVs are better, though I'm not sure I'd go that far. Unless you need to use the trem a lot the CV hardware will be fine, and if you do want to use the trem all the time, the MIM wouldn't cut it either.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Aug 24, 2015,
#11
Quote by K33nbl4d3
Well that's why I'd favour the Squier to help budget for pickups. The biggest issue with the Squiers and the standard MIMs is they both have mediocre pickups (ceramic, I think, not that that's inherently bad). If you can afford new pickups and an MIM that'll be ideal, but if not then you'll get a better sound from one of the good Squiers (and the VM and CV ranges are really quite good) and a fresh set of pickups.

EDIT: Yeah I don't think there's a particularly large difference in hardware between the Squier CVs and the MIM standards. I mean I've heard it said the CVs are better, though I'm not sure I'd go that far. Unless you need to use the trem a lot the CV hardware will be fine, and if you do want to use the trem all the time, the MIM wouldn't cut it either.


Gotcha. This is really insightful. I appreciate your input. This is the kind of info I'm looking for. I can help out all day on Jacksons and ESPs but these are all new!
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#12
Quote by metalmingee
This is a great out of the box suggestion Danny. Unfortunately I don't want to spend the time for this particular project.

Cool.

On the G&L: I've held a few of these in my hand- Tribute and USA- and found them to be very nice guitars. They feel better in MY hands than Fenders. YMMV.

I'll also suggest looking out for a Godin Progression. Good Stratclone, made in Canada. Used ones will be in the same price range as a G&L Tribute.
http://www.godinguitars.com/godinprogressionp.htm

https://reverb.com/marketplace?query=Godin+progression&sort=price%7Casc&price_min=&price_max=600&commit=Filter

http://www.ebay.com/sch/Electric-/33034/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=godin%20progression&_dcat=33034&rt=nc&_mPrRngCbx=1&_udlo&_udhi=600
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!
#13
best bet is a used MIM. as for some of your concerns the MIM meets most fairly well to really good. a good setup is the key to tuning stability. the trems work fine if you have them setup properly and take the time to learn them a little. (personally i set them to float as that helps when trying to pop it back into tune). a properly cut nut is essential.

stock pickups aren't that bad and actually they do well with distortion. if super clean chime is what you want then yeah replace them.

the G&L option is also a good one. they don't sound exactly like a fender but that isn't necesarily a bad thing.
#14
i have two MIM strats, one (my favorite) i landed at or around $200, the other is newer and i got the other for about the same.

HOWEVER - not all MIM's are created equal. i have honestly had over a dozen, a lot were bought and sold or traded quick, but there are some duds. the two i have are from the cream of the crop of a few years trading fenders. if you find a good one and you like it, it will never let you down.
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#15
Quote by trashedlostfdup
i have two MIM strats, one (my favorite) i landed at or around $200, the other is newer and i got the other for about the same.

HOWEVER - not all MIM's are created equal. i have honestly had over a dozen, a lot were bought and sold or traded quick, but there are some duds. the two i have are from the cream of the crop of a few years trading fenders. if you find a good one and you like it, it will never let you down.


oh yeah they are a try before you buy guitar for sure. sometimes you have to try few to find the one that really works for you.
#16
I appreciate the feedback everyone.

Does anyone have an opinion on how the stock G&L Tribute Legacy pickups compare to the stock MIM Strat pickups?

The plan is to play this one mostly clean to just a bit of grit.

Having to change the MIM Strat pickups for a really good clean sound isn't very appealing. I'd rather just spend a little more and not have to change the pickups for this project.
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#17
MiM Fender or a G&L Tribute Legacy, all day, every day. If you've got $400 on the upper end to drop on this, I'd definitely question the decision to get a Squier.

I've owned 3 Legacies and close to 20ish Strats. Depending on the Strat, you won't have to change pickups for a good clean sound, especially playing a Roadster Twin, you should be able to find something very useful.

The Legacy is definitely beefier, wants to overdrive faster, and doesn't have as obvious of a quack to it. It's very Strat-ish, but more modern, beefier in feel and sound. If you want the vintage or classic Strat tone, get the Fender. If you want the modern metal player's idea of what a Strat can be, get the G&L.
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#18
I'd consider radius 1st, you can't change it. The Vintage styles are the smallest radius necks and I couldn't stand that. The minimum for me is 9.5 IN so I'd immediately discount anything smaller than that.
Moving on.....
#19
^That's very true. I love 9.5 to bits, but if you have your guitars set up for metal you're almost certainly used to significantly flatter fretboards and the lower action across the board they allow. Within the Fender range at least, I'm fairly sure the only 7.25 ones are the Classic Series (excluding the Classic Player models, which are 9.5), but you can check that on the Fender site.

No idea if there are 12 radius Strats in that price range but personally I think that'd be cheating (Just kidding, though, you do you)

Honestly, for me it'd never be a dealbreaker, but radius is one of the most noticeable factors in how a guitar feels (or at least, how it can be set up).
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Aug 25, 2015,
#20
Quote by metalmingee
I appreciate the feedback everyone.

Does anyone have an opinion on how the stock G&L Tribute Legacy pickups compare to the stock MIM Strat pickups?

The plan is to play this one mostly clean to just a bit of grit.

Having to change the MIM Strat pickups for a really good clean sound isn't very appealing. I'd rather just spend a little more and not have to change the pickups for this project.


MIM has ceramic vs alnico in G&L. never compared cleans side by side on them though. the MIM cleans aren't really bad at all as it seems that fender figures that's how they'll be used. they don't have the exact 50s sound or chime if you like. i find that they have a bit of a fuller sound. granted i don't use much in the realm of super clean sounds.
#21
Thanks everyone for the feedback and insight. I was eyeballing a G&L Tribute Legacy in that pretty Blueburst but someone else snapped it up - guess it wasn't meant to be then!

I'll keep an eye out for a used MIM Strat (hopefully a Plus Top or a 3-Tone Burst) in next to mint condition or a used G&L Tribute.

I think both would suit my needs pretty well.
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#22
Quote by metalmingee
So I’m looking for a Strat type of guitar simply because I don’t have one. I’m definitely more of a “metal” player but want some variety.

I don’t want a piece of junk but don’t want to invest too much on this type of guitar.

Here’s the concise version:

Budget: $250 - $400 with a case
Favorite Artists: Doesn’t apply in this instance. Looking to experiment with single coils.
Preferences: Strat shape, open to neck profile. 22 frets would be cool but not necessary.
Pickups: 3 Passive Single Coils that don’t suck
New or Used: Either but prefer used.
Location: Norfolk, VA and Richmond, VA USA for Craigslist I’m willing to buy this online.
Current Gear: Jackson MIJ and ESP E-II Guitars, EMG 81/85, Duncan Distortion/Jazz, Duncan JB/'59, Mesa Roadster, Peavey 5150, Boosts, Delay, Chorus, etc.

And the detailed version:

Used is fine. I’m a deal hunter so something for $250-$400 with a case would be ideal.

Requirements:

  • Stays in tune well – I don’t want a crappy trem system or tuners that don’t work well. I’m familiar with Floyd Rose styles and what’s good and not, but never looked into these strat/vintage styles before.
  • 3 Single Coil pickups – I have plenty of humbuckers and want the different sound.
  • I prefer 3-tone bursts or transparent finishes (red or blue) with white pick guards. I want the guitar to look pretty and have the right type of vibe for the style of music if that makes any sense.
  • I’ve never had a maple fretboard so I’m open to either maple or rosewood – really whichever looks best with the rest of the package.
  • Chrome hardware – I really don’t like the way gold hardware looks.
  • Prefer routed to take a humbucker in the bridge but come with a single coil for future mods if needed.


I will be playing it through my Mesa Roadster Combo (2x Mesa V30s) mostly on channels 1 and 2 – Lonestar and Mark I based for the cleans but with a Tweed and Brit mode as well.

I’ve done a bit of looking and the Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster looks amazing except for the mint pickguard (would have to see that in person) and of course it’s WAAAAYYYY more than I want to spend for this.

So I’ve been looking at:

Squire Standard Strat FMT - $250 new without case - Finish looks great, 22 frets, no idea about the pickups but seem decent, 9.5” more rounded radius. The FMT seems new so no used market but the price isn’t much.

Fender Standard Stratocaster Plus Top - $549 new without case – Finish options look great, 21 frets, Pickups seem to be the same Single Coil Strat that the Squire has, 9.5” radius neck. Used Market looks limited but doable – I’m not in a hurry.

G&L Tribute Legacy (the Blueburst looks very sexy) - $540 new without case. Finish looks great, 22 frets, Pickups seem nice, 12” radius looks nice (closer to my Jacksons and ESP), tone controls look interesting. Used market is very light.


My thoughts are that the Fender Standard is a better guitar than the Squire but that’s 100% biased on the brand name. . .

The G&L looks pretty ideal but the limited to non-existent used market will put it over budget most likely.

So what are your thoughts on these 3 options and please feel free to bring other options to the table.

Thanks!


Get the best Fender you can find. I'd go with Rosewood, but it doesn't make a huge difference.
#23
So I found what I think is a good deal - purchased online so we'll see - 3-tone burst MIM Strat without any major wear, dings, or scratches with a Fender molded hardshell case for $230 ($249.50 with taxes and handling - you can always haggle ).

If it doesn't work out I can either return it or flip it locally. I see MIM Strats go for > $300-$350 without the molded hardshell locally. The case is worth what $65 - $75 alone if it's the one I think it is.

I won't be able to pick it up until the end of next week or the week after unfortunately. . . .

I appreciate everyone's help!



Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#24
Nice stuff, enjoy it! I dread the possible doubts that might be raised by others (though in this case I may be safe...) but you just can't go far wrong with Fender.
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Youre officially uber shit now.

Quote by StewieSwan
3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

Quote by Bladez22
I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
#25
Well at the very least I'll be able to check it off the been there done that list!
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#26
yeah you can probably find solid meixcan strats on the market from the 300-400 range and some of em are actually great guitars. i would say a step down from japanese strats but i know a lot of people who gig with em for years and they sound good and hold up well, meet the expectations of long term musicians who could afford better.

if i had my druthers on that list, i would take the G&L

edit say youy buy -

exactly. nice steal. and for 250...you have a solid platform and if you wish to do something to it, plenty of upgrades on the market.
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
Last edited by ikey_ at Aug 29, 2015,
#27
Ditto on the G&L.
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!