#1
I want to build my own Strat. I already have a neck and pickguard assembly from my 1st Strat(MIM), just need to get a body and hardware. The problem is there are a lot of body options, including used bodies, and I just don't know the difference.

How do these Strat bodies compare?

American Strat body
Standard Strat (MIM) body
Squier Standard body
Squier Affinity body
Starcaster body
3rd party Fender licensed body

From what I have researched, the American bodies use the best wood and have a Nitro finish. The MIM body, both Squier bodies, and 3rd party licensed bodies are all about the same quality and are mainly Alder or Ash with a decent finish. The Starcaster body is Agathis, which I have heard is junk.

Am I about right, or am I way off? Please compare the above bodies in terms of wood, finish, weight, and overall quality.

Also, how hard is it to finish or refinish a body if I have never done something like that before?

Thanks for all the info.
My gear...

Samick Les Paul (AV6VB) Guitar w/ SD Alnico2/JB
Marshall AVT150H halfstack
Schecter Stiletto Elite-4 Bass
Ampeg BA112 Bass Amp
#2
The best one their will be the American strat and then going down in the order you listed them APART from the 3rd party one. That may be good or bad depending on many factors. It may be a hand made super-fantastic one or a cheap chinese one. I'd go with the american as they have good quality control so you are fairly sure that it will be good.
#3
I realize that the American body will be the best, but it's also the most expensive, and for my very first self-built Strat, not looking to spend that much. Looking for more of a mid-level body and was wondering what the differernces were on those.
My gear...

Samick Les Paul (AV6VB) Guitar w/ SD Alnico2/JB
Marshall AVT150H halfstack
Schecter Stiletto Elite-4 Bass
Ampeg BA112 Bass Amp
#4
Well could you post the prices? That way I could see which are the best value.
#5
American or third party depending on the make.
Squier affinity or MIM fender will be great still if you're restricted.
Never go for squier standard or "starcasters" though.