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Is a higher end Strat worth it?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by TelT, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. TelT

    TelT Strat-Talk Member

    Oct 24, 2011
    Recently I tried out an American Deluxe Strat down my local axe shop.

    It was a good guitar. But there was nothing about it that I would say made it superior to my main Strat, an '08 Highway 1 (Center of my profile pic) In fact, for me the Highway 1 gives a unique tone I've never found in other Strats and need in my setup. (Billy Corgan used the second incarnation of the Highway 1 as the base for his signature Strat)

    I'm also a big LP player, last year I went shopping for an LP Trad and left the shop set on a cheaper LP Studio, which I subsequently bought. The Studio I'd picked up as a point of comparison and greatly preferred it.

    I've been playing for 15+ years, so like to think I have an idea of what a good guitar feels like.

    So is a higher end, much more expensive guitar really worth it? Be interested to hear from players who have chosen to make a more higher end Strat their main axe.
    2-Finger likes this.

  2. Tafmutt

    Tafmutt Strat-Talker

    Apr 20, 2009
    Washington State
    This is always an interesting debate. To me, it depends upon the comparison. If one is comparing a Squire to a Custom Shop...absolutely - the more expensive one wins, hands-down. When you get into the closer price ranges, it gets a bit muddy.

    My take is this:

    Fender makes great guitars. The MIM Strats are very close (if not spot-on) to the MIA Strats. Resale value, however, heavily favors the MIA. Custom Shops are fantastic guitars, but only marginally better than MIA/MIM, IMHO. Plus, resale value is weak.

    To be fair, I've played some Squires that were fabulous...others, not so much.

    NET-NET: From where I sit, the high-high end offerings are really not worth the $.

    I've heard lots of opinions on this and I respect them all. I'm interested in hearing the opinions of others on this fantastic discussion website.
    arcticstrat, royw, QMTstrat and 3 others like this.

  3. didger

    didger Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 5, 2014
    Salt Lake City
    The main thing to me is the specs, and I have higher end stuff because it was the only way to get the specs I wanted. For example, I have long fingers and the modern C always felt too thin to me. First I got the chunkier SRV Strat. Then I discovered the now discontinued Vintage Hot Rod line that had chunkier necks and a 7.25"-12" compound radius that really hits the sweet spot for me. Those also had a great mix of vintage & modern features that appealed to me, so I got more of that line.

    So yeah, I've got mostly higher end stuff, but only to get specific features that weren't available otherwise. If there aren't any of those features you're looking for, then of course there's no reason to spend more money.
    TelT likes this.

  4. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 21, 2010
    Sheffield, UK
    An American Deluxe isn't high end, it's just a more expensive production line guitar. There's nothing more special about it than a Chinese Squier.
    Dave J, Yogi, wildhawk and 3 others like this.

  5. jrporter

    jrporter Strat-Talk Member

    Oct 23, 2011
    Charlottesville, VA
    My guess is that your question will, by necessity be answered by other questions such as:
    How do you define worth? How do you define high end?

    Obviously the answers to those questions will vary for each of us. However, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that a high end Fender will not be worth it to you. Simply by asking the question, you're also providing your own answer. My gut feeling is that you're looking for validation that whatever guitar you've got more than meets your needs, and an additional expenditure is unnecessary. I've got three Strats, two MIMs and an Eric Clapton "Blackie" that I just bought myself for Christmas. I'm not sure that I'd consider any of these "high end" which in my mind is north of two thousand beans. By my definition, a high end guitar is not worth it to me, but I can feel and appreciate the differences among my three Strats, and that's really the only thing of importance to me....
    texred, Yaralag, Neil.C and 2 others like this.

  6. Malurkey

    Malurkey Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 28, 2016
    That is very subjective: how much value do you attribute to a specific sound or feel?

    I agree that more expensive is not necessarily better. But quality has a tendency to cost.

  7. Crossroads

    Crossroads Strat-Talker

    Sep 16, 2013
    Madison, WI
    It's the highest end of Fender's production line. That's pretty high end for most of us mere mortals.
    texred, Yaralag, Fender Phil and 2 others like this.

  8. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 21, 2010
    Sheffield, UK
    Only if you buy into the hype.
    Guitarmaan likes this.

  9. Murphcaster

    Murphcaster Strat-O-Master

    Oct 17, 2013
    West Virginia
    Not quite. You forgot about the American Vintage series. I believe those are the highest end "production line" guitars Fender offers.

    I purchased a new Am Deluxe Strat back in 2012 for around $1,700 USD. I've also purchased several new AV guitars (post 2011) and they ran around the $2,200-$2,300 range.

    Keep in mind though, the higher price on the AV guitars does not make it "better" than the Am Deluxe...or Am Standard/Am Professional for that matter.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
    mikej89 and LeicaBoss like this.

  10. TelT

    TelT Strat-Talk Member

    Oct 24, 2011

    Probably fair to say its all down to the individual. Right now, my Classic Player 50's and Highway 1 don't feel inferior to the American Deluxe I tried in any way. MIM Standards don't do it for me at all though. That's where I'm at right now, perhaps that will change later. It wasn't until I'd played for 10 yeras that I started to really appreciate what the Strat has to offer, and only very recently have I discovered a Les Paul that was right for me.

    As you're saying about the Squires, some CP 50 Players I've tried weren't all that.

  11. DBSG-STRAT1976

    DBSG-STRAT1976 Strat-Talker

    Mar 6, 2016
    My 57 AVRI is my main guitar and as far as price point, it is right in the middle of my three guitars. In terms of the Fender line, the AVRI is a higher end, American made Strat. With that said, I do see a difference between the AVRI and my 50s Vintage Series. Between the bridge, the Pickups, and the "feel" I can tell the difference and it is my favorite guitar by far. I do love my Jackson, but with my AVRI I have trouble putting it down.

  12. Duotone

    Duotone Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 12, 2016
    The best strats I've tried have been one of a kind, handmade stuff, at luthier workshops.

    So does it need the spagetti F on the headstock?
    s7henry likes this.

  13. jimbojo

    jimbojo Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 4, 2010
    Rio Rancho, NM
    Worth it? For this we gotta define "IT". Lot of nuance there. If you are a working stiff scraping up your cash for a decent guitar to rock a club with your local garage band, I would say no. If you are a collector, maybe you have always wanted a CS Strat, and cash is no issue, the pride in ownership might be enough. But Honestly, crappy samples aside there is no way a $3,500 CS Strat sounds or even plays $3,000 better than a $500 MIM or even a Squier CV. All things aside, plugged into a good rig and with a modicum of talent on the finger side a higher price tag does not equate to exponential quality gains. Not in my book anyway.

  14. newplayeroldguy

    newplayeroldguy in the wind

    May 12, 2015
    north and east
    Only one person can answer that question- the buyer.
    Silvercrow, Yaralag, s5tuart and 5 others like this.

  15. Heartfelt

    Heartfelt Strat-Talker

    Jun 9, 2013
    In over 30 years of playing I've bought a fair few cheap guitars. If I add up all the guitars it comes to approx £20,000. If I'd have known that then, would I have been better off spending less than half that on a high end CS model?
    I'd have had one of the "best" guitars in the world. Primo bragging rights etc. But would have I been happier?
    Well, for one thing, I'd have missed out on all the NGDs inbetween. There's also a couple of cheap guitars that I've still got that I wouldn't want to part with.
    The essence of this conundrum, is where YOU perceive the value of the instrument to be. Is it the physical materials? Is it the craftmanship? Is it the exclusivity? Is it the tone, feel, or coolness? Is it the pleasure of playing it, or the pleasure of owning it?

    We are all trapped on the outside of this little rock, revolving through endless space for such a brief moment. Choose what makes your heart sing.
    8T_BoCO, b22p, Fender Phil and 4 others like this.

  16. Yves

    Yves Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 2, 2016

  17. brians

    brians Strat-O-Master

    Nov 28, 2016
    Good thread
    Imo there are two very different things here
    Outside of the real collectables, which is a real wealthy persons pleasure,we keep thinking about resale value
    I don't believe any usual guitar is an investment
    It is a musical instrument purchased for enjoyment or a tool for work
    Whichever one buys it's not a retirement policy
    It's supposed to be used and enjoyedvuntil it has to be replaced in a professional
    Family Man likes this.

  18. brians

    brians Strat-O-Master

    Nov 28, 2016
    Sorry fingere trouble
    Anyway buy em love em and play the s$&# out of them and keep them for the memories

  19. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 18, 2014
    Victoria TX
    Wrong about Custom Shops being marginally better than MIAs and wrong about their resale value being any weaker than any other guitar. Squier resale value stinks.

  20. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 21, 2010
    Sheffield, UK
    I buy guitars to play them, selling them never enters my mind. When I kipper and they are no longer any use to me, I hope Mrs Bit doesn't sell them for what I told her I paid ... ;)
    s5tuart, Kester, Rockape and 4 others like this.