Starcaster Electric Guitar Pack review by Fender

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 5.4 (81 votes)
Fender: Starcaster Electric Guitar Pack

Price paid: $ 139

Purchased from: Groupon

Sound — 10
Being Brand new to guitar playing, this to me is an ideal starter pack. I've heard lots of stories from people against starter packs, yet I've heard an equal amount from respected local players who actually Suggested this specific kit. The 10 watt amp is perfect for practicing in my apartment. In fact, it could even be smaller, since I'm constantly turning it down hurriedly every time my hand slips and hits the volume knob on the guitar. (Quite a rude awakening..haha). As for what the guitar can do.. I've had amateur and pro players goof around with it, producing quite a multitude of what I consider pretty awesome effects, which only make me want to practice even more.

Overall Impression — 9
For a new beginner, I would highly recommend this pack. It is very cost efficient and, especially for a child just starting out, is complete with the basics you need to get started.

Reliability & Durability — 7
I am by no means ready for live playing. I can however, already see that I would want an upgrade before trying to show off. While the guitar seems reasonably durable, it does have it's quirks. I have to keep the clip on chromatic tuner in place to make minute adjustments every 3 or 4 songs worth of play. Could probably go 6 or 7 without re-tuning before anyone noticed.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Everything came set pretty well. I had to lower the strings closer to the frets, at the advice of a friend who plays. Of course the tuning was way out of whack, but quickly fixed. There Was a slight warp in the pickguard. It rises up slightly between two of the screws that hold it down, almost enough to slip the thinnest of picks under, but not quite. Barely noticeable.

Features — 10
I can't answer half the questions in the features section, simply because I do not know the answers. I do know that the guitar is solid, and the neck is Not as weak as the Starcaster has apparently become known for. It has 21 frets, string-thru-body bridge. Volume, tone1, tone2, 5-way selector. Not sure what the pickup configuration would be called, but it has 3 sets, with the one closest to the bridge set at a slight angle compared to the other two, which sit at a 90 degree angle to the strings. Tuners? If it's referring to the pegs, I guess they are non-locking? The kit came with a 10 watt amp, a strap, handful of picks, whammy bar, 10' cord, and set of extra Fender strings.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm not sure what's going on with all the reviewers above, but I've been playing for 40+ years, I have a bachelors of music, I own a Les Paul, MIM Strat, and an Epi ES-335 copy. I play in two bands and have taught guitar for many years. I just bought a Starcaster from a private sale for $50. I was so impressed with it that I tuned it up and took it to band practice an hour after I bought it. It is completely stock and the pickups sound better than my MIM Strat that had 3 hot rails. It has at least 50% more volume and 'bite'. It has very little hum, the tone is terrific (better than the American Made Strat I recently sold), and it stays in tune better than my much more expensive Les Paul, MIM Strat with Gotoh Tuners AND my Epi Dot. I would gig with this instrument in a heartbeat.
    I think my review was fair. It sounds better than my friend's custom Hamer & a G & L he bought for 10x what we paid for this. I think your review was pretty close to what I have experienced so far in giving my son lessons on it for just over a month. BTW, he is coming along nicely on it & is starting to understand some of the music theory I am teaching him. Was/ Is it worth the minimal investment I made? Absolutely.
    I just bought one of these guitars (not the starter pack---no amp, bag, strap, etc.) for $75 for my 9 year old son to learn on. He wanted a Strat style guitar with the brown sunburst finish on it "like daddy's." I have a Tex-Mex Jimmy Lee Vaughan Fender Strat that cost me closer to $800 new. So, to compare the Starcaster to a real Fender Strat is utterly ridiculous. Some of the reviewers on here who think it should play & sound like a '57 or '62 Strat are the real idiots, not the noob player who reviewed it and doesn't know any better. Would they compare a Volkswagen Rabbit to a Ferrari Enzo or Porsche 911? Of course not, so why are they flaming this guitar & the beginner who reviewed it? I have been playing for 20 years and my 9 year old wants to learn how to play & wanted a guitar that looks like mine. My wife found a Starcaster made by Fender in China at a local music store & wanted me to take my son & check it out before buying it. I went in & gave it a quick lookover. The neck was straight & not twisting (first thing every guitarist should look at when buying a guitar) and the pickups had no buzzing coming from them. I played it for a few minutes and yes, the action was high. I mentioned it to the salesman/ technician and he took a few moments and lowered the action on it. Still no buzzing from the pickups & I played with the pickup switch in all 5 positions. I played it for 45 minutes and it was still in tune. I gave it to my 9 year old son so he could get a feel for it & he messed around on it for another 15-20 minutes and then gave it back to me---still in tune. The nut on this guitar looked like plastic or tusk, but I will replace it with bone (bone is the tone!) but other than that, for a beginner who may or may not stay with wanting to learn I think it is what it is. So the unfair comparison of the Starcaster to a real Strat, Tele, or LP that I have read a lot about on here is beyond belief. My wife & I have a limited budget and if my 9 year old decides to stick with it then we may upgrade him in a few years, but until then, this will be a decent guitar to teach him chords on and get him started. Will he be playing Wembley Stadium or the Chicago Blues Fest with this? Probably not, but why so many guitarists on here are flaming a beginner & his review on this guitar by comparing it to rigs that costs a few thousand dollars is ridiculous. Give him a break, he is a beginner (weren't we all?)and compare apples to apples. This guitar is better than anything that was offered 30 years ago for beginners, so keep that within its context. My rant is over. Thank you.
    My mom got me one of these as my first guitar for my birthday about 4 years ago *facepalm*. Yes, that un-modded Starcaster plus that SP-10 it comes with is a horrible combo. Since then, I got rid of that SP-10, replaced it with a Behringer GM110, got rid of that single-coil bridge pup and replaced it with a DiMarzio rail humbucker... so it sounds alot better than what it used to. Still want a nice Les Paul or something though. Also, I guess I got lucky with the Starcaster I got... the action out of the box wasn't bad at all (although some of my friends who play more metal than I do say it's a bit high for their liking, it suits me fine and I can still shred with it).. and it hardly goes out of tune. But yes, without a new pup or two (or three) as well as a new amp... this thing is really not great. And not that good even after all that. (especially if you got one of the 9/10 that I'm hearing are especially crappy)