Although I have bought and sold more Fender Stratocasters than any other type of guitar, I keep coming back to them, I love them for their warm woody tones, iconic design and versatility. Recently I purchased a new model Mexican Strat, and was suitably impressed. Firstly, buy these second hand and get a better deal, and with the savings you can upgrade the pups if you really feel the need. This particular Made in Mexico Fender Stratocaster that we are looking at today was made in 2008 and has an Olympic White finish.
The Mexican Standard Stratocaster of course looks pretty standard, with a small headstock, a smooth modern ‘C’ neck profile and in this case Fender has put a thin coat of satin polyester varnish to finish off the maple neck (I love maple necks..but I keep on ‘attracting’ rosewood ones!!). By the way, a ‘C’ neck profile is a size with some meat to grab onto (like an overweight Aunty when you give her a hug or something!), with medium jumbo fret wire that a lot of guitarists seem to prefer (for bending apparently!!).
Now here’s an upgrade I am really happy about, Fender have upgraded to a larger, higher mass bridge block to aid sustain and beef up the vintage-style synchronized vibrato. Definite thumbs up there from some of those thin bridge blocks you see on lower end Squiers and the older Mexicans. I felt that the tone and resonance seemed better, but I understand that pedals and amps can compensate. However unplugged, the instrument sounded musical and had good sustain.
Electronically pretty much standard Strat fare with the expected configuration of five-way pickup selector blade switch, master volume and individual tones for the neck and middle single-coils. I usually love changing PUPs (another bad guitarist habit, I mean Jimi Hendrix probably didn’t do this much!!) but the sound from the pups were warm and sweet, so I left them as is. I really think we guitarists need to spend more time playing! Well, I do, as I…umm suck!! I was very happy to note that the bridge pickup was not too thin or icepicky, but aggressive and full in a good way. The neck pickup, my favourite for cleans was thankfully pure Strat, woody, warm and so cool for those Hendrix lead/rhythm fills such as ‘Little Wing’, ‘Castles made of Sand’ and I can just noodle for hours on this pup! Lovely…
So, there you have it from a diehard Strat lovers! A great Strat that has everything you need for the bedroom stadiums that we pretend to rock! I really think that the ‘hit and miss’ experiences that MIM Strat’s used to be like (you never know if you will get a lemon or a nice axe) is probably slowly disappearing as Fender try and maintain their customer base. Get one for a good price second hand, say about $500 or so, and you have a classic, versatile and fun instrument to enjoy music on!! Rock on!!