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Old June 1st, 2012, 11:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Stratocaster Hierarchy

My apologies if this subject has been brought up before, but being new to the world of the Stratocaster, I'm very confused. Gibson models are branded differently and less confusing than Fender models.

You've got Affinity, Bullet, Squire, Starcaster, MIM, American, American Deluxe, and no telling what other models. Starting at the bottom and working your way up, can you tell me which models are low end and work your way up to the top end?

Thanks in advance.

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Old June 2nd, 2012, 12:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Going from low-end to high-end (low end first)

Made in Asia / South Asia / China:

Starcaster
Squier Affinity Stratocaster
Squier Bullet Stratocaster
Squier Standard Stratocaster
Squier "Classic Vibe" Stratocaster

Made in Mexico

Fender Standard Stratocaster
(and a bunch of other models)

Made in U.S.A.

Fender American Special Stratocaster
Fender American Standard Stratocaster
(and anything else that has "American" in the title)
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster

Fender "Select" Series Stratocaster



I'm sure others can fill in other model names. Those are the ones I'm most familiar with.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 12:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks so much. That will truly help me when I start looking for another Strat. I guess I started out on the wrong end. Found a nice American Deluxe with an ash body on craigslist.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 12:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by michaelinokc View Post
Thanks so much. That will truly help me when I start looking for another Strat. I guess I started out on the wrong end. Found a nice American Deluxe with an ash body on craigslist.
No, that's the right end to start if you have the cash to start there. I have an ash Sienna Sunburst American Standard as my #1 strat, and a really great Fender Standard (MIM) as a backup. I started at the low end with Squiers and worked my way up -- trying lots of different electrics along the way. Once I picked up my MIM and my American Standard, there was no more desire for me to meddle with the lower-end any further.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 01:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mw13068 View Post
Going from low-end to high-end (low end first)

Made in Asia / South Asia / China:

Starcaster
Squier Affinity Stratocaster
Squier Bullet Stratocaster
Squier Standard Stratocaster
Squier "Classic Vibe" Stratocaster

Made in Mexico

Fender Standard Stratocaster
(and a bunch of other models)

Made in U.S.A.

Fender American Special Stratocaster
Fender American Standard Stratocaster
(and anything else that has "American" in the title)
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster

Fender "Select" Series Stratocaster



I'm sure others can fill in other model names. Those are the ones I'm most familiar with.
You forgot the MIJ Strats
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 02:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Made in China Strats? :D
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 03:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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MIJ Strats are somewhere between Mexico and America, MIJ have great quality of body, neck and hardware but they lack of good pickups sometimes.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 03:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Made in China Strats? :D
Modern player Fender Strat is chinese.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 03:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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think you might have forgotten Custom Shop as well

oh, and signature strats........
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 03:26 AM   #10 (permalink)
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There is a relevant point that comes out of this discussion though and that is that Fender are pretty rubbish at branding their models. OK some will say Squier by Fender and some will say Fender, some will say made in America and orthers will say made in Mexico but beyond that there is no consistent method applied to differentiating the models. OK occasionally if it is a special model it might have something on the neck plate or maybe a custom shop badge on the back of the headstock but more often than not the only way you can tell one model from another is by looking at the swing tags. Gibson at least differentiate les pauls by putting 'studio', 'standard' or 'traditional' on the truss rod covers
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 04:41 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by wiryawan View Post
MIJ Strats are somewhere between Mexico and America, MIJ have great quality of body, neck and hardware but they lack of good pickups sometimes.
Really? I don't think so! There are plenty of Japanese guitars that show up their American competitors, so blanket rules like that are misleading.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 04:43 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Gibson at least differentiate les pauls by putting 'studio', 'standard' or 'traditional' on the truss rod covers
Yep, it's a good job they mark the model number on a part that can't be easily swapped, isn't it?

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Old June 2nd, 2012, 04:50 AM   #13 (permalink)
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well, you have a point of course. Not saying that is the perfect solution but at least it's something
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 09:28 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Wow. That's a lot of different Strats - even more than I thought. Fortunately I'm pretty happy with the deal I got on my American Deluxe and am going to stand pat for awhile until I can afford another American Strat. I guess anyway.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 10:35 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Then there are the Korean models made in the 90's between The Japanese & Chinese periods.

Especially noteworthy were the Korean "Protone" Strats & Teles which some feel are as good as the MIJ models.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 12:32 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Theres also Indonesia
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 02:02 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stratman323 View Post
Really? I don't think so! There are plenty of Japanese guitars that show up their American competitors, so blanket rules like that are misleading.
How about we stick with defining hierarchy here in terms of price and marketing, like every other response? Seems obvious that's what the OP's question was intended to ask about.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 05:05 PM   #18 (permalink)
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From Fender's website: Fender® Products

Brands
Fender (59)
Squier® (25)

Price Range
$100 To $499 ( 18 )
$500 To $999 ( 22 )
$1000 To $1499 ( 17 )
$1500 To $1999 ( 5 )
$2000 To $2500 ( 18 )
$2500 and up ( 4 )

Fender (Roughly in order of most expensive to least)

Fender® Select (2)
Artist (16)
Vintage Hot Rod (2)
American Vintage (3)
American Deluxe (6)
American Standard (3)
American Special (2)
Deluxe (4)
Road Worn® (4)
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Classic (3)
Highway One™ (1)
Blacktop™ (3)
Standard (4)
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Modern Player (1)
Factory Special Run (1)

Squier (In order of most expensive to least)
Classic Vibe (5)
Artist Models (1)
Vintage Modified (4)
Deluxe Models (2)
Standard (5)
Affinity (3)
Bullet (2)
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