The Stratocaster is one of the most famous guitars of all time. But is it easy to play? In this article, I’ll talk you through the Strat’s suitability for a beginner, and address how easy it is to learn and play on. So let’s get started!
The Quick Answer
The Stratocaster is considered an easy guitar to play by most guitarists. This is because it has a lightweight contoured body, double cutaway design for easy fret access, and a fairly thin and comfortable neck. Hence, it’s usually a great guitar for beginners to choose, when first learning to play.
One aspect of the Strat that makes it an easy guitar for most players, is its body shape. The Stratocaster has a contoured, thin body shape. This means it feels comfortable to play on, whether you’re stood up, or sat down.
A lot of guitars have thick, wide, and heavy body shapes, meaning they can get pretty uncomfortable to play on, especially when you’re gigging. But the Strat is basically the opposite of this.
It also has a double cutaway design, which really helps you access the upper frets, compared to a double cutaway body shape.
Most guitarists, experienced or novice, also find the Stratocaster’s neck very easy to play on.
The Strat has a standard C-shape neck. It’s very average in terms of it’s shape, and thickness. This means that neither players with small hands or large hands are likely to struggle.
Keep in mind though, that not all Strats have the same neck profiles. It depends what model in the range that you go for.
The Standard, Deluxe and American special models have a “modern C-shape” neck, which is thinner than the “class C-shape” that you’ll find on ’60s and American Vintage Strats.
The American Professional line-up has a deep-C neck, which means it’s a bit thicker than a “modern C”.
Generally, the thicker the neck is, the more new players, or those will small hands will struggle. Check out the table below to summarise the different neck profiles.
|Stratocaster Model||Neck Shape||Ease of Playing|
|Standard||Modern C-Shape||Easy for most players|
|Deluxe||Modern C-Shape||Easy for most players|
|American Special||Modern C-Shape||Easy for most players|
|Player||Modern C-Shape||Easy for most players|
|‘60s||Classic C-Shape||Easy for most, but small hands may struggle more|
|American Professional||Modern Deep C-Shape||Easy for most, but small hands may struggle more|
|American Ultra||Modern D-Shape||More suitable for medium-large sized hands|
When considering how easy a guitar is to play, you also need to think about the scale length. This simply refers to the distance between the nut and bridge.
The longer the scale length, the more you’ll have to stretch to reach the lower end of the fretboard. But, it also means the frets are further apart, meaning it can be easier to play quick riffs more accurately. However, it’s all personal preference really.
The good news about Strats though, is that they have a very average scale length of 25.5″. This means that pretty much every guitarist will find it comfortable to play on.
Frequently Asked Questions
Okay, so now we’ve been through the anatomy of the strat and talked through why it’s a relatively easy guitar to play, let’s jump into some FAQ’s.
is a strat a good guitar for a beginner?
The Strat is a great guitar for a beginner. Its lightweight, has a comfortable body shape, and relatively thin neck profile. This means most new guitarists won’t have any trouble sitting and standing with the instruments, or learning chord shapes.
It also comes in a variety of options starting at a really low price point. Squier Stratocasters start at around $180 and go up to around $500.
If you’re looking for a great price, then check out Guitar Center. When purchasing my electric guitar, I tried it in store but then ordered it online because the price and colour options were better. Don’t be afraid to purchase a guitar online, as long as you pick a well-renowned shop like Guitar Center, then you’ll be completely fine.
which is easier to play: a Strat or Tele?
Generally, most players find the Stratocaster easier to play on than the Telecaster. This is because the Strat has a contoured body shape, and a thinner neck on most models.
which is easier to play: a Strat or Les Paul?
Most guitarists find the Stratocaster an easier guitar to play than the Les Paul. This is because the Strat has a double cutaway body, thinner neck, and it’s more lightweight so easier to sit and stand with.
Take a look at this in-depth comparison between the Stratocaster and Les Paul for some more information.
In my opinion, the Strat is a great guitar for beginners because it’s one of the easiest to play on. It was the first guitar I ever purchased and I think it supported me very well in the early stages of learning.
However, when you’re a complete beginner, no guitar is easy to learn on. Although some guitars, like the Strat, are generally considered more comfortable than others, you need to remember two important things.
- Playability is subjective. What’s an easy guitar for one player, might not be for another.
- Learning to play the guitar is tough in the beginning, no matter what model you’re playing on.