Austin (brand) Strat copy

stratman in va

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 27, 2012
8,830
Virginia
From time to time I stop off at pawn shops and check out the amps and guitars.

I got a low budget strat copy by " Austin" yesterday. Given the fact that its a budget guitar, it seems pretty well made.

I did not get to totally put it thru its paces, but the pickups sound very vintage / Strat like to me, even though they are ceramic, and even though the strings need changing. The wiring is very neat, looks stock, and looks like its better wiring and components than an Affinity Strat. The switch is a little different than most, seems decent, and all the moving parts are enclosed in a box.

Its a nice looking sunburst, solid wood body, looks like 3 pieces. They did a great job of hiding the seams on the front, but you can tell on the back its at least 2 pieces. Its routed for HSH, neatly done too. None of the screws have stripped out the wood, so seems like a decent type of wood for the body, not the balsa like wood sometimes found on cheaper imports.

Neck is pretty straight, no rough fret edges or frets working their way up.
Tuners look to be really cheap... so depending on what I do with it may be swapping those out. Bridge and block are pretty typical for this price range. Previous owner decked the trem with the springs and tightened down the 6 screws on top.

I think the neck is the same type that I got in a trade a couple years back.. its pretty good - along the lines of an Squier.

Anyone have any experience with these? This one I may fix up with some parts I have on hand, perhaps mixing and matching things from another guitar.
 

stratman in va

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 27, 2012
8,830
Virginia
Its a budget model, but I think they did a lot of the basic things right when they made it.

Some previous owner did a decent job of setting it up. It needs some more cleaning and TLC, new strings too. Not sure exactly how much rehab I want to do on it.
 

Lost Sailor

Senior Stratmaster
Aug 20, 2012
1,157
Wolf 359
I just picked up a lefty Austin "Strat" at a local pawnshop here today. It was very dirty and looking unloved -- I wanted a knock off to play when I work away from home so none of my Fenders get stolen. I don't know how to post pics here, but it is a black body and "rosewood" style neck - I removed the blackened steel strings and washed it off from top to bottom, cleaned the gunk off of the pickguard, now it shines -- I cleaned and polished the fingerboard, restrung it, adjusted the pickup height, string height, intonation -- very solid construction and the neck playable, I plugged into my lil micro cube not expecting much, it sounds very close to a MIM Fender-- very surprised - I got it for about 80 dollars, and it stays in tune. I have been playing it most of the afternoon -- it plays well but it is not a Fender - I can live with it though.
 

stratman in va

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 27, 2012
8,830
Virginia
I just picked up a lefty Austin "Strat" at a local pawnshop here today. It was very dirty and looking unloved -- I wanted a knock off to play when I work away from home so none of my Fenders get stolen. I don't know how to post pics here, but it is a black body and "rosewood" style neck - I removed the blackened steel strings and washed it off from top to bottom, cleaned the gunk off of the pickguard, now it shines -- I cleaned and polished the fingerboard, restrung it, adjusted the pickup height, string height, intonation -- very solid construction and the neck playable, I plugged into my lil micro cube not expecting much, it sounds very close to a MIM Fender-- very surprised - I got it for about 80 dollars, and it stays in tune. I have been playing it most of the afternoon -- it plays well but it is not a Fender - I can live with it though.


I have only tried the Austin with a little Fender Bullet amp and the Peavey that was at the pawn shop. The weak link is the tuners... just not that good. I may get a better set of tuners for it and see how it does. The neck is well made for a basic budget guitar.
 

mw13068

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jul 29, 2009
6,950
Ithaca, NY
The guitar player in one of my favorite local bands absolutely rocks with just an Austin Strat and a Peavey Bandit.

The great thing about the Strat design being so well-established, and relatively unchanging is that every factory knows how a Strat is made. They just carve the headstock a bit differently and put a different name on it as needed.

Semi-related: I put new Wilkinson ez-lock tuners on both my Squier Strats last night. New tuners make an inexpensive guitar feel like a mid-range guitar. :)
 

stratman in va

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 27, 2012
8,830
Virginia
This particular Austin guitar reminds me a bit of some of the Squiers .. no idea how old it is. The body is not the full standard thickness. I picked it up thinking that I would use the neck on something else, but the darn thing sounds pretty good and works so well as it is ... except the crummy tuners. I picked up my Affinity with some similar intents and ended up just doing a little fix up on it and keeping it!

Thanks for the tips on the Wilkinsons. Where did you get those?
 

tmenss

Strat-O-Master
Nov 4, 2009
710
St Louis, MO
I have a couple Austins,one is an older series (can't remember the model Number) which had a quality build similar to Squier Deluxes. It had staggered Wilkinson tuners, wilky SSH pickups (hot vintage wind) and the Wilky modern trem with full block. It has a quilted maple top finished in a transparent Blue. The vintage hot pups sound good but I'm a low inductance vintage pup guy (CS69's and APS-1's) but Wilkinson also makes some very good sounding vintage A5 pups that are very affordable. Wilkinson parts more popular in England than in the US. The trem is impressively solid. I use Wilkinson vintage type trems to replace squier trems. (have to redrill the holes or us the 5+1 mount system).

There's a newer model AST-100BK, cut away that is about a $100 retail that are more like squiers. They have a materials feel between a Bullet and Squier but the out of the box playability is superior. The neck is full size, the fretwork is nice, it is a beefier profile neck akin to some of the older Squier standards. The setup was very good, intonation was set and it comes with D'addario 10's installed. The Pups are ceramic but decent sounding, at least equivalent to most Squiers. On the whole I think it is a great value. Enjoy playing yours!
 

Lost Sailor

Senior Stratmaster
Aug 20, 2012
1,157
Wolf 359
Here is my Austin (those are fingerprints not dents reflected on the body)
sitting next to a 92 MIM

I know what you mean about the tuners - I am planning to replace them too
 
Last edited:

Rutiger

Strat-Talk Member
Feb 14, 2021
26
Regina
I have an Austin, pictured. Body thickness is 42 mm - 1 5/8 inches. My Squier SE is 45 mm thick or 1 3/4 inches. They weigh the same which is to say both are heavy guitars. I have no scale so I can't be more specific. I've had them both for years and there is really no difference between the 2 in any respect. All hardware and electronics on both are real good. I should point out that I don't do any gigging so they're gently used at low volumes. Through Boss Katana 50 amp. The Austin has the nicer finish in my opinion compared to that tobacco burst or whatever is so popular in other brands. I'll just bet that the Austin's and Squier's are built on the same carpenter's bench in the factory, same tuners, pickups, different headstock. Both are suited to modification and upgrading but neither need any upgrades. Squier's and Austin's leave the factory needing minor attention to fret refinement and setup but once that is done they're same. Darn good guitars as is!
 

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mikaellewis

New Member!
Jun 6, 2018
1
Utah
From time to time I stop off at pawn shops and check out the amps and guitars.

I got a low budget strat copy by " Austin" yesterday. Given the fact that its a budget guitar, it seems pretty well made.

I did not get to totally put it thru its paces, but the pickups sound very vintage / Strat like to me, even though they are ceramic, and even though the strings need changing. The wiring is very neat, looks stock, and looks like its better wiring and components than an Affinity Strat. The switch is a little different than most, seems decent, and all the moving parts are enclosed in a box.

Its a nice looking sunburst, solid wood body, looks like 3 pieces. They did a great job of hiding the seams on the front, but you can tell on the back its at least 2 pieces. Its routed for HSH, neatly done too. None of the screws have stripped out the wood, so seems like a decent type of wood for the body, not the balsa like wood sometimes found on cheaper imports.

Neck is pretty straight, no rough fret edges or frets working their way up.
Tuners look to be really cheap... so depending on what I do with it may be swapping those out. Bridge and block are pretty typical for this price range. Previous owner decked the trem with the springs and tightened down the 6 screws on top.

I think the neck is the same type that I got in a trade a couple years back.. its pretty good - along the lines of an Squier.

Anyone have any experience with these? This one I may fix up with some parts I have on hand, perhaps mixing and matching things from another guitar.

I bought an Austin Strat locally for $60 and I love it. The pickups were a bit meh, but build quality is excellent. It 's very playable and stays in tune very well. I've just ordered some Wilde L280s/ L298s pickups for it. Excited to hear it with those new pups. I'll post a review after I've done that.
 

Oldboy

Senior Stratmaster
May 17, 2009
1,612
Land Of 1000 Dances
My partscaster is based on an Austin, built about 15 years ago. Bought it on eBay for $35, no pickups.

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Put in GFS 60s pickups, Alpha pots, Wilkinson trem (thinner body, had 1/8" machined off the the block), stripped the thin satin finish off the neck and refinished with Minwax wipe on tung oil. Looks good, plays good, sounds good. They are definitely one of the better budget brands.

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teleamp

Strat-Talker
Silver Member
May 21, 2009
481
Prairie Hill, TX
I recall a shop in Colorado Springs that was in between prosound and GC.. They sold Austin brand electrics... When they would get them in, before they went on the showroom floor. Each was given a fret level, dress crown and polish along with all of the solder joints resoldered then set up... The store sold boatloads of them.
 


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