'57 Stratocaster review by Fender

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.7 (160 votes)
Fender: '57 Stratocaster
4

Price paid: $ 805.2

Purchased from: Rockers

Sound — 9
I mainly play blues, modern rock/indie, and jazz through a Peavey Bandit Transtube 112 (an equally versatile amp) with various effects (delay, compression, Big Muff, wah). This is a very versatile guitar, the strength of the Stratocaster. The neck pickup is mellow and warm, perfect for those slow Gilmour-esque blues leads. The 2nd and 4th positions are funky and tight, with the middle setting producing a nice rhythm sound. The bridge pickup is brighter, with more treble, less bass and suits crunchy distortion very well. These are Vintage style pickups so they are not high output, not that this guitar can't be loud. This is definately not a metal player's ideal choice, it is more suitable for blues, country, jazz and rock (it is after all a 1957 design). The tone is most impressive clean, or with just a hint of distortion. You can get spot on Hendrix, Gilmour, Knopfler and many other famous player's sounds depending on your amplifier.

Overall Impression — 9
Overall this a top quality instrument, far superior to the Mexican equivalent and easily on par with the American models. The finish is flawless on my example, the neck is very comfortable and, although laquered, it is never sticky just silky smooth. I haven't had any problems with this guitar, it will last me indefinately. I would definately replace it with an identical model were it lost or stolen. Incidently I was originally after a Telecaster or a Jazzmaster, but this is far more versatile and outplayed them. Yes, they're everywhere but until I owned my own Stratocaster I didn't realise how personal they become. I'm not planning on altering or modding this in any way, I wanted the pure '50s Vintage approach, which in my opinion is the peak of Stratocaster design.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I have gigged with this without back-up and it was fine. I haven't broken a string and it stays in tune very well for a Vintage style guitar. I've fitted strap-locks for added security (even though I don't hurl it around or anything) but the standard strap buttons were very solid. The hardware is fine, no problems, the fit of the knobs, pickguard and switching is good and the Switch is smooth with no noise between shifts. The pickups are quite noisy but this is the case with all single coil instruments, hence the invention of humbuckers and Lace sensors. As long as you roll off the volume when you need to then it's not a problem.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar came set up well, although the tremolo was flush with the body. I personally wanted to have a two way trem so I raised it, and reset the guitar, but it plays very well indeed and the 7 1/2 radius neck is very comfortable. The pickups were set far too low. I'm not sure on the ideal height but having checked Fender's recommendations they are now much higher and the tone and volume has improved considerably. The tremolo action is incredibly smooth, using 3 springs. The fit and finish is extremely high quality. People often mistake Japanese Fenders as the middle ground between Mexican and American models, but this is not the case. This uses the same hardware and pickups as US Strat and has equal if not better finish quality. Fender ceased officially selling Japanese models in Europe due to their being too competitive in terms of quality with the US models. You really are getting the same quality for half the price because the USA are having to increase their labour effort to produce the same quality as the more efficient Japanese manufacture, and this cost is then passed on to you. Everything else is fine and will last longer than I will. The finish is tough enough, but look after it and there will be minimal scratches, mine are barely visible hairlines on the back from play, only visible under light.

Features — 9
2005 Fender Japan 1957 Reissue Stratocaster. 21 Vintage frets, 1 piece D-shape maple neck with a 7 1/2" radius. 3 piece alder body finished in tobbaco burst (2-tone sunburst). 1 ply white 8-screw pickguard. Fender Vintage 6 point non-locking tremelo. 3 single coil US Fender Vintage pickups. 1 volume control, 2 tone. 5-way Switch. Kulson tuners, 1 string tree. Purchased from Rockers, London in August 2005. Currently fitted with Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinky strings, originally a set of Fender 9's. No official accessories, but I got a fitted flight case thrown in for another 40. A small ding on the body (hardly visible) reduced the retail price by 10 from 450.

66 comments sorted by best / new / date

    sum_english_guy
    luyangzheng wrote: i would pick a gibson over fender ne day, gibson just has so much more class and quality and better sounds too.. besides... a lot more famous musicians use gibson lespauls and sgs over strats and teles
    yeah i dont like strats but who cares what famous musicians are using ... find your own guitar which suits you
    OneHappyCamper
    Hmmm. I own a Gibson Les Paul, but I have to disagree with you. Ritchie Blackmore used a Stratocaster, so did Yngwie Malmsteen and Clapton... Don't say Strats aren't used by people.
    Ibzman
    Well I think Fender's are nice depends on what u wanna do, I'd surely change the pickups and try to have a locking tremolo if I had a fender but the only gibson I'd buy is a Flying V because it's cool. I rather buy Ibanez or ESP than Gibson and Fender
    dadgad37
    apparently you non-strat fans never played in the 2nd position on a 5 position switch.nothing beats a sytat out of phase.
    dadgad37
    apparently you non-strat fans never played in the 2nd position on a 5 position switch.nothing beats a sytat out of phase.
    reilly91
    luyangzheng wrote: besides... a lot more famous musicians use gibson lespauls and sgs over strats and teles
    So you should only want to play a guitar because its popular? Spoken like a true noob. Your stupidity has left me speechless.
    cortrules09
    and you care who uses one why? pick one based one what you feel best with. i personally have a 2005 mex strat and its not too bad, i love the way the neck feels. ill eventually replace the pickups when i get more money, but still, that signature strat sound isnt all that bad. overall im impressed with the guitar, especially for what it costs.
    Mad-Mardegan
    i agree fenders are amazing if your into blues and extremely nice clean sounds and gibsons too but more for heavy destortion and basically high gain sounds. i own a gibson les paul standard and a tokia (a copy of a fender strat, same feel and pretty much same sound)and i have to say the gibson is far superior to a fender as sound goes but the neck is quiet chunky and on the gibson, harder to play those fast solos on but hey i like it!! its really just about choice and what feels and sounds right in your hands! im hoping to buy this guitar fairly soon. keep in mind though the right amp and any guitar can sound good!!
    myter binsderti
    ....strats own the versatility of the strat surpasses all others...its now predominantly used by todays blues guitarists...one reason why i like the strat is from john mayers music...sounds so mellow sometimes...i dont think he could have puleld that off with a les paul or an SG
    pl0x
    im a fender person but seriosly is there not a pageon this site on gibson or fender without the argument of which one is better!?! there both different types of guitars so geet oot there and see which on is u! Thank you
    DeathByStereo23
    I have a fender deluxe strat(american) and an elitist SG and i use it for different kinds of music.Of course you can't get good distortion with single coils,in fact I use the SG for metal,andthe strat for blues and classic clean sounds.gibson and fender are different,and you can prefer gibson or fender sounds,it's just a preference.But both gibson and fender have some ****in high prices....
    jeordie1
    CobenBlack is right, they are both made to do different things. how and why would u try and compare these 2 if they arent even trying to do same thing. the only thing they are both trying to do is make their own good sound and be sold.
    CobenBlack
    The best point raised here is that both guitars are made to do different things, i think. as well as this you have to remember that you can get a brand new top of the line strat for 1000 pounds(english) whereas a standard les paul will cost 1500 ish. If you want rock tones then fenders can do it, see iron maiden, hendrix, etc. but gibson's are always going to have an edge when it comes to metal. its preference
    jammer-91
    This guitar dont look like the 50's to me... it looks like ummm... recent!
    jv_music
    Single coil pickups give a nicer tone to me than a humbucker. for heavy distortion the humbuckers own, but for a less heavy and more of a crunchy tone than strats or any other single coils do great.
    Mahoru
    I hope I can find somewhere here the first Strat (the MIJ one, I mean), I've really fallen in love with that one (And I also have a Les Paul, so I can have both classic guitars)
    lespaul#1
    tmd9314 wrote: I believe people should just focus on what they like and not criticize others if they don't like the same thing. Fenders and Gibsons are both great and have valued places in the music buisiness. I for one didn't know which one I wanted so I got one that's sort of in the middle of both. All musician's should appreciate each other's work and what they like to use! And that is what I firmly believe so shut up with you're little baby arguments about what is better it's all person al preference!
    Finally, someone said the right thing.
    TooFast
    danabis wrote: i hear fenders play well but this costs too much for such a plain guitar. my friend now plays guitar in his band valour, he had skulls air brushed all over the body and sctarch plate of his stratocastor, it looks awsome. maybe all fenders should hav body art!
    No.
    wildchild6660
    Phoenix62187 wrote: Hey, relax. It's your guitar preference and what sound you are going for that matters. I own a Fender American Strat AND a Gibson SG Standard. They both are excellent guitars in their own right. Your choice of intrument is merely preference, there is no such thing as the best guitar ever. Once again, IT IS PREFERENCE, there is no right or wrong. Chill out....
    And THAT, ladies and gents, is the attitude all guitarist should have.
    tmd9314
    I believe people should just focus on what they like and not criticize others if they don't like the same thing. Fenders and Gibsons are both great and have valued places in the music buisiness. I for one didn't know which one I wanted so I got one that's sort of in the middle of both. All musician's should appreciate each other's work and what they like to use! And that is what I firmly believe so shut up with you're little baby arguments about what is better it's all person al preference!
    GNR'n'A7X
    Fender is totally fu*ked up. I love their guitars, though... I mean, Fender's guitars are fu*kin' great but are priced so damn high. Like the this model, who the fu*k can afford this? For someone looking for an amazing guitar with a great price check out Schecter (the C-1 Hellraiser FR is a dream and it's only $800 new).
    cts0209
    why would you want to really play meatal on a strat? im not saying your uncapable of doing it but 1 its got 21 frets and its got more of a classic sound like santana and jimi hendrix. its a good rock guitar but not metal. gibson is good for rock and some light stuff, fender great for all around and a good classic sound maybe and ibanez is more modern and metal electric guitar, but they also sell semi - hollow guitars which are great for blues jazz and classic rock. i own an artcore and you can play metal with the right accessories but really good for anything
    Vapress wrote: Crap to whoever that says strats aren't good. I have 3 les pauls, 1 JEM77FP, and 7 strats. Why so many strats? Because different era of strats gives you different sound. I have a strat with silver/blue/red lace sensors and I can use that to do heavy metal sound. It still does as good as others less the floating trem. If you have a vintage or reissue strat and expect it to play metal, you are at the wrong planet dude.
    lespaul#1
    jeordie1 wrote: CobenBlack is right, they are both made to do different things. how and why would u try and compare these 2 if they arent even trying to do same thing. the only thing they are both trying to do is make their own good sound and be sold.
    + 100.
    clawsofsteel
    luyangzheng wrote: i would pick a gibson over fender ne day, gibson just has so much more class and quality and better sounds too.. besides... a lot more famous musicians use gibson lespauls and sgs over strats and teles
    umm, let's see the famous musicians that come to my mind, strat= david gilmour, srv, eric clapton, les paul= alex lifeson, slash
    Captain Penguin
    I like both Gibsons and Fenders. As has been said before, It depends on what style you want to play. I love my strat to bits.
    jellieman11
    you guys all talk about eric clapton but noone mentioned how awsone hendrix is at guitar and he had a strat
    lennon_ramone
    jellieman11 wrote: you guys all talk about eric clapton but noone mentioned how awsone hendrix is at guitar and he had a strat
    yeah for sure. although obviously it is about what you feel comfortable with, or what you can afford/steal.
    Sorrows
    probably the worst guitar I've ever played in my life. I will never touch one again. ESP is a better electric company BY FAR!
    WhichOnesPink?
    This argument is basically pointless, I used to think that Strats sucked because they weren't as good sounding as a Gibson. Then one day I realised I was just talking about my own personal feelings not hard facts, and I sat down with my friends strat and played and it can do some cool stuff. The fact is we could argue til time ends and not resolve anything because it's opinion and nothing else.
    Crazy_Diamond16
    well i like the Strats since they tend to be more affordable. Not to mention I don't want to get a hernia from how much more the gibson weighs. Still if I had the money i would buy both since they are very different.
    Four Symbols
    Personally, I prefer a Les Paul, but I have to say if i was filthy rich and could have as many guitars as I wanted, I'd still get some strats
    ragis
    dude the strat has bad points and good points cons-its out dated pickups have come to another level from single coil thats the only problem if strats were that bad would such guitring ledgends such as jimmi hendrix or yngwie malmsteen have or still play them the easier access to frets is a big bonus and a guitarist with any idea how to play would be able to unlock the secrets to playing 1
    Washburn736
    Strats are extremly overrated in the music industry today and always have been. what ever hapend to superstrats? Am i the only one with one?
    Sedona_Ash_Tele
    You guys are nuts . . . strat's are awesome. Superstrats are just another way to rape a great legacy. You fellas are probably just not into the sound they put out . . . cause I agree they don't even come close to humbuckers when you're going for a modern distortion sound, but rate them on what they're built for. I have an '05 Mexican strat and I replaced the pickups and it sounds AMAZING.
    luyangzheng
    i would pick a gibson over fender ne day, gibson just has so much more class and quality and better sounds too.. besides... a lot more famous musicians use gibson lespauls and sgs over strats and teles
    Slash_HuDsOn
    HmTownHero1007 wrote: I've owned strats before and everytime I am always left disappointed. It could just be me, but I will always prefer an SG or Les Paul to a Strat.
    i feel the same way to only thing that i like about strats is the cut aways and how u get easy access to higher frets
    HmTownHero1007
    I've owned strats before and everytime I am always left disappointed. It could just be me, but I will always prefer an SG or Les Paul to a Strat.
    Cliff_Hetfield
    I love The Strat although I don't own one, I still like it better than Gibson. Oh and that's cool you can comment on this place now.
    hendrix6769
    Everybody who is talking is crazy!! I have a Tele,Strat(american),and a Les Paul and the strat is my favorite. I can get it to sound like anything. It can be bluesy or it can sound heavy. It is the true rock n roll guitar!
    stratmatonman
    I can never understand why guitarists are so down on a particular instrument - STRATS ARE GREAT GUITARS. It all depeds what sound you want but man they are versatile. I have '68 Strat (got it for $Au460 in 1986) and it's the best guitar I have ever played, so versatile. I am a Knopfler, Gilmore, Jamie West-Oram fan so it's MY kinda sound. To me Humbuckers are muddy sounding but hey it don't mean I don't like Les Pauls or PRSs. Loosen up guys
    Phoenix62187
    Hey, relax. It's your guitar preference and what sound you are going for that matters. I own a Fender American Strat AND a Gibson SG Standard. They both are excellent guitars in their own right. Your choice of intrument is merely preference, there is no such thing as the best guitar ever. Once again, IT IS PREFERENCE, there is no right or wrong. Chill out....
    little jim
    I'd say fenders are much nicer to play but don't sound as good or look as good as gibsons
    TimmyPage06
    You have to love the bluesy tone of a fender, you just cant avoid that. But for hard distortion you need humbuckers (or an SD Hotrails.. mwa hahah ha) Gibsons are muddy, but I love the look.. Unlike the strat, I would replace the pickups in a gibson. (and just to remind you, so you know im not too biased, I listen to everything from classical to death metal, so its not like Im basing it purely on "Single coils cant give you good distortion")