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Japanese Stratocaster

Updated on May 19, 2013

Made In Japan

The Fender Stratocaster is one of my favorite electric guitars - especially with a Sunburst finish. When I decided to learn how to play guitar, it had to be with a Strat or a Flying V (long story but I ended up getting both). I couldn't afford a brand new Strat and I didn't want to get a cheap imitation so I started looking on line. I found there are 3 kinds of "genuine" Fender Stratocasters - Made in USA, Made in Japan, and Made Somewhere Else (mainly Indonesia and Mexico). USA and Japan models have the best reputation. I found my Japanese model on Craiglist for just $300...

(Photo: Me)

My Japanese Sunburst Stratocaster - Two humbucker pickups and a Floyd Rose bridge...

Fender Stratocaster, crafted in Japan
Fender Stratocaster, crafted in Japan

Most Stratocasters have 3 pickups - either 3 single coils (the classic configuration) or a humbucker and 2 single coils. Mine is a Floyd Rose Stratocaster with 2 humbuckers which I like because it gives a heavier sound and matches the setup on my Flying V. It also has a Floyd Rose tremolo which I don't like (at least for now) because I can't tune my guitar until I get an allen wrench for the string locks. It might be great if I was using the whammy bar, but I'm not... The thing I like best about my Strat though is the finish - the Sunburst pattern on tiger grain wood is absolutely gorgeous.

Japanese Stratocaster Video Review - Also with commentary on Mexican and USA models...

This is a great review of the Japanese Strat. He also comments on the Made in USA and Made in Mexico models, so it's worth watching if you're considering one of those...

The Electric Guitar Handbook - A Compete Course In Modern Techniques and Style

Owning a guitar isn't worth much if you don't know how to play it, and The Electric Guitar Handbook has everything you need to know to pick out the guitar that's right for you and learn how to play it. The first section covers the different construction styles (do you know why a Stratocaster sounds different than a Flying V?) and different types of pickups, tremolos, etc. The second section teaches you the basics of playing electric guitar - from correct posture and hand positioning to reading tabs and on into advanced techniques. It comes with a "lay-flat" binding and audio CD. For begeinning guitar players, highly recommended...

Picking the Right Amp

Don't spend too much when you're just starting...

When you buy a guitar, you should always buy the best one you can afford, and it's OK to emulate your favorite guitar hero. It's a little different picking an amp - the best amp for a rock star is probably NOT the best amp for you, especially when you're just starting out. Many high-end amplifiers don't sound good unless they're cranked up really loud, and trust me - your family and neighbors probably won't enjoy listening to you play (at least not while you're learning). A good beginner's amp should sound good a low volume, have a minimum of controls, and most important be inexpensive. Because they vary so much in quality and sound I DON'T recommend you buy one from reading reviews on line. Instead, go to a music store and listen to what the different amps sound like in person. You'll pay a little more, but it's worth it to get the right one for you. FWIW I use an old Fender SIdekick Reverb 25 that I got for $100.

Made In Japan Stratocasters on eBay - The fastest way to find a Japanese Strat...

I found my guitar on Craigs List, but the fastest and easiest way to find one is on eBay. You could also check local music stores, but the ones in Reno only had over-priced American or Mexican-made models.

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    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 4 years ago

      Nice axe.