Fender Stratocaster (MIJ 1989 - Standard) Reviews 5

Left-handed Solid black, rosewood fingerboard, Earnie Ball 0.10/0.9 hybrid strings, Gotoh machine heads, no pickups yet. I am 27, started playing at 14 and know a little bit about musical production and songwriting. Despite not having a band yet, my style is rock n' roll, from the Beatles to Nirvana (my major favorites). In addition, I am into vintage/organic sound.

I traded my Epiphone Les Paul Standard for the Japanese Fender Stratocaster which came with no pickups, a few dents and a little old strings.


This guitar vibrates when I play it. I also have a Mexican Fender Stratocaster which does not vibrate. The Japanese Strat fits perfectly - or very close to that - to my hands, arms and lap. The neck is very comfortable - a lot more than the Mexican neck. I have read Kurt Cobain prefered the Japanese strats for the thinner necks. Now I know it's true that they are thinner. The strings vibrate so well that they sound almost alive. The Mexican Strat sounds dead and too thinny. I really like the aged headstock wood. I love that color. Afterall, this guitar is nearly 20 years old! The Gotoh tuners - probably added by a previous owner - are terrific! They hold the strings in tune very well. The bridge is excelent and comfortable for my hand to be on for mutting moments. The bridge of the Mexican bothers me too much. The jack on the Japanese is very stable, which contrasts to the Mexican one for the latter keeps unscrewing all the time. Also, it looks 'improvised' when I screw it back together.

The dents bug me a bit and this guitar needs to be well configured by a luthier because it's fretting on the D string after the 12th fret - even after putting new strings. The harmonic tuning must be improved, otherwise, I will have to come up with individual tunings for each song. I wish the name 'stratocaster' was written next to the logo. Some frets - around the 5th fret - are creased, but I do not know if they need to be replaced. The neck is a little dirty due to hand-sweat. The back plate is missing. The chromed bridge machine heads are not as shiny as they could be.

The whole construction is reliable and well made. Therefore, the strings are allowed to sound at their best. After 20 years, it is still sturdy and it offers reliability. Despite minor details and the need for proper adjustment, this guitar is just excelent for the sound it provides!

The best way to know the real sound of the guitar is to play it unplugged. That is the sound the guitar really has. When I first played this Japanese Stratocaster unplugged, I felt something interesting. I could 'connect' to the instrument because I felt the vibration of every note. Also, the notes sounded very lushy. So much that I looked for any other device plugged into the guitar. Fortunately, it's the construction that provides that full sound. I finally own a Fender I like! The Mexican Stratocaster made me feel bad about the whole brand! Now I am on a crusade for the right pickup configuration.

Diego Ambrosio rated this unit 5 on 2010-06-26.

I traded another guitar I had for this down in Houston (Rockin Robins). I had no use for the other guitar. Straight trade for this awesome Japanese Strat.

I tried this guitar out with about 7-8 other strats in the price range ($4-600) and this bad boy won hands down. Keep in mind this guitar was used and abused and has its fair share of dents dings and scratches. Doesn't matter and I'll tell you why -- This was the loudest guitar unplugged of them all. Everyone knows this is a true defining element in a great guitar. Also it has some killer vintage tones to it as well as being capable of more hard core tones too. The neck is the perfect blend between the old 60's style fat back "C" and the newer strat slim "c".

To be blunt, the electronics really suck. The pickups have their moments of vintage awesomenesss, but overall they just don't get it done. Everything else in the guitar is top notch for being used and of a guitar its age plays killer.

Used guitar - tarnished bridge and jack and tuners. Signs of age....no big deal - it has held up to the test of times.

I think that once I change out the pickups and possibly the electronics (pots, switch, etc) that it will possibly be the greatest strat I have EVER owned! Kudos to the Japanese Luthiers - they got these guitars right!

Mark rated this unit 5 on 2005-03-08.

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