Cheap Strat for fun (Squier vs AZES)

binz

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I want to try out a strat, preferably with HSS or SSS and am looking into (even cheaper) used squiers or one of the new Ibanez AZES. I would pay ideally less than 200€ (knowing well the AZES are 300). I really like the Schecter Nick Johnston, but I am not ready to pay that money (checked used market, there are some but still quite expensive >700€).

My problem with the squiers (or similar) is that I have no idea about the details (bullet, affinity, infonesia, china, Fender Squier limited Run FSR?). I heard good things about the right squiers. I have checked my local used market in spain and found these models, any thoughts?

https://uk.wallapop.com/item/fender-stratocaster-replica-685021481 (not sure what replica means)

https://uk.wallapop.com/item/fender-stratocaster-partcaster-528252393 (not a fender but a project guitar with fender parts)

https://uk.wallapop.com/item/stratocaster-faber-tokai-629323444 (faber tokai)

https://uk.wallapop.com/item/harley-benton-vs-stratocaster-664202301 (harley benton)

https://uk.wallapop.com/item/squier-stratocaster-affinity-green-surf-662959495

https://uk.wallapop.com/item/fender-stratocaster-chinocaster-680117041 ("chinomaster", not a fender but a project guitar with fender parts)

https://uk.wallapop.com/item/guitarra-squier-by-fender-stratocaster-684910199

https://uk.wallapop.com/item/squier-stratocaster-graffity-yellow-ed-especial-689734316 (FSR, pretty cool finish)

I basically went through wallapop looking for "stratocaster" and listing the ones that I found aesthetically interesting and that offer shipping.
 

CTID

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idk if the AZES have made it into stores just yet - they were just announced. that being said i'm interested to try one and see how they play/sound. as far as squier goes, affinity and classic vibe are generally their better quality series guitars and you can prob snag a used one for pretty damn cheap
 

budda

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Classic vibe or vintage modified and go.
 

vilk

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AZES has several qualities absent from a normal strat.

1. All Access Neck Joint
upload_2021-10-5_10-24-30.jpeg


2. Alternate pickup selector setting
puswitch_50.png


3. These cool saddles that the grub screw is inside so it doesn't poke you

feat_AZES40_bridge.jpg


4. One piece jack that won't come loose

feat_AZES31_jack.jpg



just my personal opinion, but I would rather have the AZES over a true strat copy because of these points. But no, I have not played one yet.
 

mmr007

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As already stated...classic vibe or used MIM. Don't bother with other pretenders
 

binz

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Thanks for the feedback!

MIM means made in...? (all the classic contenders for cheap production don't start with M or is it still too early?)

I also found these Harley Benton strats (ST series). The internet seems to approve of them, heard anything different? Especially with the maple board + headstock and cool finish this is pretty much what I'm looking for. But you know the feeling when something seems to good to be true?

maxresdefault.jpg




150€ on thomann
 

Ataraxia2320

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All of the options in this thread are good in different ways. I still think the Yamaha Pacificas are the best bang for the buck, but squier has gotten so much better over the last 10 years that there's not much between them. The Pacifica also only comes with a humbucker in the bridge. I've never played a HB but I nearly pulled the trigger on one but then the AZ was announced and I really want another 25 inch scale guitar.

Currently waiting for the finish I want to come back in stock.
 
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Zhysick

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Pacificas are GREAT and easy to find on the second hand market in Spain. Once I bought a 611 (which is a 600€ guitar) for 300€ and it still had the plastics and stock strings on...
Great guitar, great manufacture.

If not, go for a newer Squier. Great value today... old ones are worse, but newer models are great. New Bullet strats are under 200€ on a shop and normally there are a few models so you con try and choose the one that plays the best.
 

Ataraxia2320

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Pacificas are GREAT and easy to find on the second hand market in Spain. Once I bought a 611 (which is a 600€ guitar) for 300€ and it still had the plastics and stock strings on...
Great guitar, great manufacture.

Same as myself, except I paid an extra 50 euros. It's been my main guitar for ages now.
 

bostjan

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Mexico.

Go with whatever is Fender spec/compatible, it'll make finding replacement parts and upgrades a heck of a lot easier than something like a Pacifica or AZES which use proprietary components and measurements.
Other than the bridge and neck, which parts of the Pacifica are proprietary/non-standard? I just bought a pacifica and it might need some TLC.
 

MaxOfMetal

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Other than the bridge and neck, which parts of the Pacifica are proprietary/non-standard? I just bought a pacifica and it might need some TLC.

Pickguards are a pain unless you feel like making your own, which isn't really hard. But I'd say bridge can be a big deal if you like tinerking with different arms and saddles, etc. Depends on model and year of course.

The beauty of the Strat platform is that you can find "big" parts like necks and bodies for cheap and just slap together nearly a whole different guitar. Want to try a maple board? Grab a $100 Mighty Mite neck. Want a neat sparkly finish? GFS got you for less than most pedals.
 

bostjan

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Pickguards are a pain unless you feel like making your own, which isn't really hard. But I'd say bridge can be a big deal if you like tinerking with different arms and saddles, etc. Depends on model and year of course.

The beauty of the Strat platform is that you can find "big" parts like necks and bodies for cheap and just slap together nearly a whole different guitar. Want to try a maple board? Grab a $100 Mighty Mite neck. Want a neat sparkly finish? GFS got you for less than most pedals.
Thanks Max. It looks like the bridge is possibly the only headache I'll have to deal with in my case.

For all the customization possible with Fender Strats, I feel kind of silly for having three of them at various points and never modding them beyond replacing pickups.
 

USMarine75

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Yamaha Pacifica is legit.

If Strat the hierarchy is Bullet, Affinity, Reg, Classic Vibe iirc. Newest Affinity stuff is supposed to be good. I’ve had great luck with CV.

FSR is just Fender Special Run. So when a store decides they’ll buy 250 CV Strats but they want in pink like Andertons and CME have done. I’ve had great luck with all my FSR stuff.

I’d also check out G&L. Stay away from the MF SDOTD apparently those are unlabeled b-stock according to folks around these parts. But I paid $450 for an S500 that’s MII but final QC check in CA. And it’s a gem. You can get the regular traditional pickup model for $100 less too. But their upgraded electronics is 10/10 IMO wish it came on more guitars.

If you do save up for a Nick Johnston Schecter it is worth it! I’m in love with mine. I think it was like $700 new with a discount. And their stock HSS is so good I have no desire to swap with any pickups.
 

MaxOfMetal

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Thanks Max. It looks like the bridge is possibly the only headache I'll have to deal with in my case.

For all the customization possible with Fender Strats, I feel kind of silly for having three of them at various points and never modding them beyond replacing pickups.

I stopped buying Strats and Teles because they had a habit of dividing and multiplying. One project guitar quickly became two or three as the parts I'd upgrade or replace would leave me with an entire guitar, or two, worth of stuff to put together when I was bored. :lol:
 

Drew

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My problem with the squiers (or similar) is that I have no idea about the details (bullet, affinity, infonesia, china, Fender Squier limited Run FSR?). I heard good things about the right squiers. I have checked my local used market in spain and found these models, any thoughts?
The traditional approach with buying a Strat is just go into a guitar shop or a couple guitar shops, and play everything in your price range until you find one you like. These days Fender's QC is really awfully good so I wouldn't hesitate to order an American or even Mexican sight unseen, but even as recently as the 90s (when I bought my first American Standard) you wanted to do that with their "good" guitars too, much less their budget ones.

Every once in a while you come across a cheap strat that smokes everything around it. If you ever do, buy it. Especially used, I don't know if I'd order one online without having played it.
 

USMarine75

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The traditional approach with buying a Strat is just go into a guitar shop or a couple guitar shops, and play everything in your price range until you find one you like. These days Fender's QC is really awfully good so I wouldn't hesitate to order an American or even Mexican sight unseen, but even as recently as the 90s (when I bought my first American Standard) you wanted to do that with their "good" guitars too, much less their budget ones.

Every once in a while you come across a cheap strat that smokes everything around it. If you ever do, buy it. Especially used, I don't know if I'd order one online without having played it.

MIM Charvel, EVH, and Fender have been great recently (2020+). I haven’t played one yet but the Player Plus MIM stuff is getting rave reviews as comparable to the $2k MIA Ultra stuff.
 

binz

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Thanks all that feedback helps a lot to put things into perspective.

That pacifica's headstock is a big turnoff to me.
I ordered the Harley Benton one in pink because it looks too cool not to give it a try, aesthetically it's all I'm looking for (pink + maple board and headstock). If it feels bad I can just send it back and look for all the Squier strats the City has to offer new and used.
 


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