Fender Stratocaster Models Buying Guide [2020 Update]


We offer a quick Stratocaster buying guide to show you all the different Fender Stratocaster models available today at Professional Music Technology

fender stratocaster buying guide

If you have decided that the iconic Fender Stratocaster is the next guitar on your list, we have a huge range of different Fender Stratocaster Models to suit all budgets. But what's the difference between the different Fender Stratocaster models? Our buying guide breaks it down and will help guide you in the right direction and find the right Stratocaster for you.

Fender strats for sale

Here is a summary of each type of Stratocaster including models past and present, ordered from the lowest to the highest in price.


Fender Squier Stratocaster

Squier Vintage Modified 70s Stratocaster MN, Black

These cheap guitars are perfect for beginners, with series such as Affinity and Bullet making a fantastic first guitar.

Their Classic Vibes and Vintage Modified series are great guitars and offer extremely good value for money for intermediate players. Of all the Fender Stratocaster models, these are the most budget friendly. But don't let that fool you as they are made with meticulous attention to detail and provide a massive sound. Most pro-level guitarists have one of these for writing and recording with as they're a no frills option that still gives you that classic Strat sound, for less investment.

Shop all Fender Squier Stratocasters here.

Fender Modern Player Stratocaster (Made In Mexico)

fender modern player stratocaster crimson red

Aimed at entry-level players who take their playing seriously and want a real Fender strat with a unique look about it. The HSH pickup setup makes this a great option for both clean and heavy rock playing. Ideal if you are upgrading to your first professional guitar.

Fender Standard Stratocaster (Made In Mexico)

fender standard stratocaster sunburst

If you wanted a traditional Stratocaster then a Standard was the best way to get one on a budget. The same design that has been around since the 50s with some improvements made over the years. A no frills strat made in the Mexico factory that you couldn't go wrong with.

Fender Classic Series Stratocaster (Made In Mexico)

Fender Classic Series 70s Stratocaster, Natural

Built to the exact specifications as the strats of the 50s, 60s and 70s, you can get yourself a real gem from the classic series. Period-correct parts have been replicated to make these exactly the same as the guitars of that era.

Shop all Fender Classic Series Stratocasters here.

Fender Deluxe Stratocaster (Made In Mexico 2016 version)

Fender Deluxe Stratocaster MN, Blue Transparen

A similar traditional design to the Standard series, but with better pickups and switching options with some extra touches cosmetically (gold hardware, tortoiseshell pickguards) that make these both look and sound deluxe. Some of the most versatile Fender Stratocaster models.

Shop Fender Made in Mexico Deluxe Stratocasters here.

Fender Player Series Stratocaster (Made In Mexico)

Fender Player Stratocaster MN Tidepool

The Fender Player series guitars replace the Made In Mexico series, ensuring there’s a budget friendly option that everyone can afford. Don’t be fooled by the price tag, these are highly professional guitars crafted to offer exceptional playability and superb sound for all genres of music. A modern "C" shaped neck has been crafted for added comfort, new pickups have been developed specifically for the range and an array of new finished have been added. These are absolute workhorses waiting to be gigged with.

Shop the Fender Player Series Stratocasters here.

Fender American Special Stratocaster

Fender American Special Stratocaster RW, Sonic Blue

The most affordable way to get an authentic Fender USA Stratocaster, the American Special has a vintage feel about it, with some special looks that make it live up to its name.

Shop all Fender American Special Stratocaster guitars here

Fender American Standard Stratocaster

Fender American Standard Stratocaster

The American Standard is a real workhorse - Fender call it the "heart of their family". Plain and simple, the American Standard is one that pleases everyone - you can't go wrong with one. And with Custom Shop pickups, it is sounding better than ever.

Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster

Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster

With some modern enhancements and quality parts, the American Deluxe is a fantastic player. N3 Noiseless Strat pickups and reconfigured S-1 switching give you complete control over your sound. The compound radius fretboard makes fretting notes a delight. Although this series is no longer available look out for the 'Plus' series with their interchangeable 'personality' cards.

  • 2019 Status: Sadly no longer in production.

Fender American Vintage Stratocaster

Fender American Vintage 56 Stratocaster Guitar Aged White Blonde

After dissecting some real vintage gems from the past and studying their parts, Fender have created the exact replicas of their guitars of the past. The American Vintage series is their name - with the legendary '56, '59 and '65 strats all returning to life. Re-live the past!

  • 2019 Status: Sadly no longer in production but replaced by Fender American Original Stratocaster guitars here.

Fender American Performer Stratocaster

Fender American Performer Stratocaster RW Honey Burst


The Fender American Performer Stratocaster is the most affordable option out of all the current 2019 American Strat models, which replaces the Special series. Within these beautifully designed guitars you have a set of Yosemite single coil pickups and a push-pull pot which activates the neck AND bridge pickup – something we’ve wanted for many years. A new Greasebucket tone circuit rolls off highs without adding extra bass when you turn down the Tone knob which is ideal for keeping your tone clean. Jumbo frets and a “Modern C” shaped neck all add to the playability and comfort, whilst the 70s style larger headstock adds resonance due to the extra wood, and it just looks cool!  Ideal for players of all levels.

Shop all Fender American Performer Stratocasters here.

Fender Artist Stratocaster

Fender Jimi Hendrix Strat 3 Tone Sunburst

Fender have always worked closely with artists that love their gear. From Eric Clapton to John Mayer, Fender have created them a guitar to their exact requirements and spec from the artist's personal input. If it is good enough for Eric Johnson, it is certainly good enough for you! Pictured: The Fender Jimi Hendrix Strat 3 Tone Sunburst.

Shop all Fender Artist Stratocaster guitars here.

Fender American Original Stratocaster

Fender American Original 60s Stratocaster Candy Apple Red

The Fender American Original guitars give players the opportunity to take a step back in time and play a Fender Strat designed to the specifications of a particular decade. These “best-of-the-decade” models take all the best ingredients from the decade they were designed in yet offer modern improvements that help with playability and reliability.

Shop all Fender American Original Stratocaster guitars here.

Fender American Professional Stratocaster

Fender American Professional Stratocaster RW, 3-Tone Sunburst The Fender American Professional Stratocaster RW, 3-Tone Sunburst

The Fender American Professional Stratocaster guitars are essentially the new ‘Standard’ range of strats offering incredible tone and playability. New V-Mod pickups have been crafted with a blend of alnico magnet types to create a unique sound and the modern “deep C” neck allows for a more comfortable playing experience. Medium Jumbo frets offer increased bend capabilities and better intonation. A new treble bleed circuit has also been included which retains the high-end tone when you turn the volume down – no muddiness here!

Shop all Fender American Professional Stratocasters here.

Fender American Elite Stratocaster

American Elite has now been discontinued - you can now shop the new and improved American Ultra Range.

Fender American Elite Stratocaster EB Satin Ice Blue Metallic The Fender American Elite Stratocaster EB Satin Ice Blue Metallic

The Fender American Elite (replaced by American Ultra) Stratocaster guitars feature an array of modern appointments offering beautiful playability, and far more control over your sound. A new truss rod adjustment wheel allows you to adjust the instruments neck relief with ease, whilst new sot touch knobs makes changing the tone and volume easier overall. Locking short post tuners provide increased tuning stability and redesigned body contours are far more comfortable to play! Noiseless pickups ensure there's no unwanted squeals or feedback when you decide to rock out.

Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster

Fender Custom Shop LTD 59 Stratocaster Heavy Relic Sunburst

The holy grail of Fender - the best of the best. Their Custom series instruments are truly a work of art, with the best hardware and techniques money can buy. If you have the money for a Fender Custom Shop, you will never look at another guitar.

Shop all Fender Custom Shop Guitars here.

Hopefully you have more of an idea what type of strat is within your price range. If you play heavy rock/metal you might want to consider a HSS (known as a "Fat" Strat) variation or a HH (Blacktop) as humbuckers are strongly recommended for anything high gain over the usual stratocaster single coil pickups.We have a large selection of left handed Fenders too, for all you lefties out there.

If you would like some more information on any of the Fender Stratocaster models available today or you can't find a specific model or colour you require, our friendly sales team would be more than happy to help. Just give us a call on 0151 448 2089 between 9:30am-6pm.

Got any other questions about Fender Stratocasters? Ask us in the comments below!Fender strats for sale

Want to know the in-depth differences between all Fender American Stratocaster models? Want to know the difference between the Performer and the Special, the Player and Elite Stratocaster? Read our blog belowdifferences between fender stratocaster

Updated 2020-07-01

One Comment on “Fender Stratocaster Models Buying Guide [2020 Update]”

  • Dan
    1st February 2020

    I purchased a Stratocaster yesterday that has the serial number MZ5115546. This Strat does not look like your normal Stratocaster. It is reminiscent of the 90s era showmaster. It has three single coil pickups and the output jack is located on the side of the body like the early showmaster and also has no pick guard like the showmaster. However going by the serial number this Strat was made 2005/2006. My question is is this a reissue of the showmaster, or a replica maybe? It also says Fender Stratocaster on the front of the headstock and special edition on the back of the headstock

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