The Stratocaster is one of the most iconic electric guitars of all time, and comes in a variety of different models to suit different price points. In this article, I’ll compare how much Stratocaster electric guitars cost in both the Fender and Squier ranges so you can pick the best model for you.
The Quick Answer
Stratocaster electric guitars cost between $180 and $2500. Fender Stratocasters are the most expensive, ranging from $500-$2500, with the most popular Fender American Professional Stratocaster costing around $1500. Squier Stratocasters are more affordable versions which range from roughly $180-$500.
Cost of the Main Stratocaster Models
I have made these tables to compare the specification and prices of pretty much every standard model in the Stratocaster line-up. The prices are all based on Guitar Center at the time of writing for US prices and a popular UK store for the UK prices.
Fender Stratocasters are made in the USA primarily, and Mexico and Japan and cost anywhere from $500 up to $2500. Squier Stratocasters are more affordable versions of Fender Strats and start at around $180 and go up to $500.
In the rest of the article, I’ll be going through each model in a little more detail so you can get some information on the Strat’s that suit your budget.
|Guitar||Price ($)||Price (£)||Origin||Body Wood|
|Squier Bullet Strat||$180||£125||Indonesia||Basswood|
|Squier Affinity Strat||$230||£190||China||Alder|
|Squier Classic Vibe||$430||£350||Indonesia||Poplar/ Pine|
|Fender American Performer||$1200||£1100||America||Alder|
|Fender American Professional||$1500||£1600||America||Alder|
|Fender American Showcase||$1700||N/A||America||Alder|
|Fender American Ultra||$1900||£1800||America||Alder|
|Fender American Original||$2000||£1700||America||Alder|
Guitar Center are always the first place I look at when I’m interested in a new electric guitar because have a huge range of models for sale and always have some excellent deals on. Here’s a link to take you directly to Guitar Center’s electric guitar range so you can see all the offers available at the moment.
There are roughly 10 main models of Fender Stratocaster currently available and the price ranges from $500-2000+. The prices vary due to the country on manufacture, how they are produced, the level of quality control and the materials used.
I’ve got a full article on why some guitars are more expensive than others to explain this topic in a bit more detail.
Here’s what stays the time despite the increase in price:
- Tone woods used (pretty much all models have alder bodies and maple necks)
- Three pickup design and the number of controls
- Bolt-on neck construction
Here’s what changes as the price increases:
- Quality of materials e.g. tone woods, hardware, pickups
- Country of manufacture (the more expensive models are made in the USA)
- Better craftsmanship
- Better quality control
There is also some variation within each model type, usually due to the finish and colour of the guitar. Now let’s take a more in-depth look into the features of each Fender Strat.
Fender Standard Stratocaster
The Fender Standard Stratocaster is the cheapest Fender Strat available and new models start at around $500. It is made in Mexico and is not to be confused with the American Standard guitar which is more expensive. It features an alder body and maple neck, and is available in a limited range of colours.
Fender Player Stratocaster
The Fender Player Stratocaster is one of the entry-level models in the Fender range and starts at around $750 for a new model. Used Fender Player Strats can be found for around $500-$600. It is Mexican-made, has an alder body and maple neck and is available in a wide range of colours.
Check out the Fender Player Stratocaster on Guitar Center.
There are two versions in the Player series, the Player Plus and the Standard Player models. Check out my comparison between these two variants to learn more.
Fender Deluxe Stratocaster
The Fender Deluxe Stratocaster starts at around $950 for a new model, whilst used models can be found for around $600-$700. They often have a humbucker in the bridge pickup and are produced in Mexico. The colour range is more limited than the Player series.
Fender Vintera Stratocaster
The Fender Vintera Stratocaster starts at around $950 for a new guitar. Second-hand models are harder to find and usually cost upwards of $750. They have either an alder or ash body, three single coil pickups and are available in pastel colours.
Check out the Fender Vintera Stratocaster on Guitar Center.
Check out my comparison between the Fender Player and Vintera series for all the differences.
Fender Boxer Stratocaster
The Fender Boxer Stratocaster usually costs upwards of $1200 and it is one of the only Japanese-made Stratocasters. It has a unique dual-humbucker design contrasting from the traditional 3 single coil pickup configuration. It also has a basswood body unlike most Strat’s which have ash or alder bodies.
Check out the Fender Boxer Stratocaster on Guitar Center.
Fender American Performer Stratocaster
The Fender American Performer Stratocaster costs upwards of $1200 and it is the cheapest American-made Fender Strat available. It has a traditional alder body and three single-coil pickup configuration. Second-hand Fender American Performer Stratocasters usually cost upwards of $800.
Check out the Fender American Performer Stratocaster on Guitar Center.
Check out my comparison between American Performer and Player series for a full list of differences.
Fender American Professional Stratocaster
The Fender American Professional Stratocaster costs upwards of $1500 and it is one of the most popular models available. Used American Professional Strat’s cost around $1000-$1200. It comes in a variety of colours with the traditional alder body and three single-coil pickups.
Check out my in-depth comparison between the Fender American Performer and Professional II series.
Here is a link between my article comparing the Fender Player and American Professional II Series.
Fender American Showcase Stratocaster
The Fender American Showcase Stratocaster costs upwards of $1700 for a new guitar. It is one of the most premium guitars in the Fender range and second-hand models are very hard to find. It has an exclusive finish, 3 single coil pickups, alder body and modern neck shape.
Check out the Fender American Showcase Stratocaster on Guitar Center.
Fender American Ultra Stratocaster
The Fender American Ultra Stratocaster costs upwards of $1900 for a new guitar. Second-hand Fender American Ultra Stratocasters cost upwards of $1500. It has an alder body and comes in either a HSS or SSS pickup configuration. It is available in multiple unique finishes as well as classic colours.
Check out the Fender American Ultra Stratocaster on Guitar Center.
Fender American Original
The Fender American Original Stratocaster is a very high-end with a starting price of around $2000 for a used model, and $1500 for a good second-hand guitar. It comes in 50’s and 60’s variants with the main difference being the neck shape. The 50’s model has a soft-V shape, whilst the 60’s variant has a thicker C-shape.
Check out the Fender American Original Stratocaster on Guitar Center.
There are 4 main Stratocaster models in the Squier range, costing between roughly $180 and $500. There is some variation between the price within each model in the range, mainly due to colour options and special edition availability.
The models in the Squier Strat range are produced in Indonesia and China, which is why they are cheaper than the American and Mexican made Fender versions.
Here’s what changes as the price increases:
- Tone woods used (quality and type)
- Bridge type
- Neck shape
- Colour and finish options
Now let’s take a look at each Squier Strat.
Squier Bullet Stratocaster
The Squier Bullet Stratocaster is an entry-level electric guitar starting at around $180 (or £125 in the UK). Second-hand models can be found for as little as $40.
It is an Indonesian-made guitar and features a basswood body, which is a cheaper wood type than alder which is found in most other Stratocasters. The Squier Bullet has a hard-tail bridge, meaning that it does not have a tremolo arm like pretty much every other more premium Stratocaster.
There are plenty of colour options available but you will not find any unique finishes as they all are finished with a flat colour. It comes with options of two pickup configuration: 3 single coils, or a humbucker and two single coils.
Check out the Squier Bullet Stratocaster on Guitar Center.
Squier Affinity Stratocaster
The Squier Affinity Stratocaster is a step-up compared to the Bullet-series but still considered a beginner’s level guitar with a starting price of around $230 (or £190 in the UK). Second-hand guitars cost around $80. It has a traditional alder body and floating bridge with a tremolo arm.
There are several variants in colour and specification. Some Affinity Stratocasters have a classic three single-coil pickup configuration, others have a HSS configuration and some have two humbuckers. You can also choose from a maple or rosewood fretboard.
Check out the Squier Affinity Stratocaster on Guitar Center.
Squier Contemporary Stratocaster
The Squier Contemporary Stratocaster guitars put a modern spin on a classic shape, and cost around $400 (or £325 in the UK). They differ to traditional Stratocasters by having humbucker, or active humbucker pickups, thinner necks and more unique colour options.
Check out the Squier Contemporary Stratocaster on Guitar Center.
Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster
The Squier Classic Vibe series of Stratocaster is the most premium in the range and starts at around $430 (or £350 in the UK). There are three types of Classic Vibe Strat: 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. They have either pine, poplar or nato body woods, and come in multiple traditional colour options.
The main difference between the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s version is in body wood and colour options. They all have the same pickups and neck shape.
Check out the Squier Classic Vibe Stratocasters on Guitar Center:
Check out my comparison of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s Classic Vibe models to learn about the differences.
Not sure if you should get a Fender or a Squier? Check out my article comparing the Squier Classic Vibe and Fender Player Series.
More Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some more questions you might have about the cost of Stratocasters.
Why are Stratocasters so expensive?
Stratocasters are expensive guitars due to their quality and rich history. They are an iconic instrument played by many professionals which means they command a higher price. They are also made from premium materials and some of the best luthiers in America.
Are Fender guitars worth the money?
Fender guitars are a good investment to make and often are worth the money as they hold their value quite well. However, for beginner and intermediate players, a Squier guitar may be sufficient and in this case, the extra cost may not be worth it.
Do Fender guitars hold their value?
Fender guitars hold their value well, especially the American-made ones. The classic American Professional Stratocaster costs around $1500 and around $1000-$1200 second-hand. Vintage Fender guitars in mint condition have been sold for over $1 million.
Why are some guitars more expensive than others?
I’ve written a full article explaining the reasons why some guitars are more expensive than others here.
I’ve written a complete buyer’s guide for electric guitars which takes you through all the things you need to consider and a step-by-step method to narrowing down your selection and choosing the best option. Here is a link to the article.
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