There is no guitar more iconic nor more famous than the Fender Stratocaster. This guitar is the most popular electric guitar in all musical history. It has become a standard in the music industry, it has defined the sound of several genres over multiple generations, and it remains among the best and highest-selling electric guitars in the world. However, this guitar was first developed in the 1950s, and since then, the price of a Stratocaster has changed drastically. How much does it cost to purchase a Fender Strat nowadays?
Modern Fender Stratocasters cost $850 – $3500, depending on the model and instrument features. Vintage Fender Stratocasters can cost anywhere from $3000 – $225,000, depending on the model, condition, and year of the instrument. Fender Squire Stratocasters cost $200 – $600.
The price of a Fender Stratocaster is dependent on several critical factors, and modern Strats are not as expensive as well-maintained vintage versions. There are some low-end Strats that cost less, there are some high-end Strats that cost more, and there are some famous Strats that cost millions. Let’s explore the world of Stratocaster prices to compare the prices of modern, vintage, and famous Strats.
How Much Do Stratocasters Cost?
The price of a Fender Stratocaster is difficult to determine. When searching for the price of a Strat, it is important to remember that there is a significant difference in the price of a Stratocaster that is made in a modern factory, a Strat that is considered vintage, and a Strat that is made to be a less expensive and entry-level instrument.
There are several different Fender Stratocasters that cost different prices depending on where they are made, how they are made, when they are made, the components that they are made with, and the overall quality of the instrument.
When considering the price range of Stratocasters, it is important to consider the three main categories of Strat and the prices associated with them. these categories are modern Fender Stratocasters, vintage Fender Stratocasters, and Fender Squire Stratocasters.
Let’s explore the prices of these broad Stratocaster types.
The Price Of Modern Fender Stratocasters
The price of modern Fender Stratocasters is the easiest to determine. These guitars are made in the current year and are sold at current prices.
However, Fender produces a wide range of Stratocaster guitars, and all of them are sold at different prices depending on their specifications, construction, and place of origin.
The modern range of Fender Stratocasters is priced between $850 and $3500.
The price of the individual Strat models produced by Fender is based on the hardware and features that the guitar is made with, the way the guitar is built, the material used in the construction of the instrument, and whether or not the guitar is made by a master craftsman, and how many of the guitars are made.
The most affordable range of modern Strats is the Player Stratocaster range. These guitars cost $850 – $980, depending on the hardware equipped with the instrument.
Signature model Stratocasters that bear the name of famous guitar players, both modern and from musical history, cost between $1100 and $2700. The American Performer and Modified Strat range cost $1300 – $1450. The American Professional II range costs between $1700 and $17590.
Anniversary Edition, American Original, and American Ultra Luxe Stratocaster models begin at $2000 and can cost up to $2600. American Acoustasonic Stratocasters cost $2000 – $3300. Special edition and limited promotional Strats, such as the Final Fantasy XIV Stratocaster, cost up to $3500.
The Price Of Vintage Fender Stratocasters
The price of vintage Stratocaster guitar is where the difficulty begins. These guitars can be very valuable, but they can also be completely worthless depending on their condition, what year they were made, the modifications that have been done to the guitar, how well the instrument is maintained, and the way the guitar sounds, looks, and feels to play.
The immense variations found in the vintage Strat market can be very confusing. The critical thing to consider is that there are Strats made in certain years that are more valuable than others due to the way the guitars were built, and there are vintage Strats that are not worth much simply due to their condition.
This means that vintage Fender Stratocaster guitars can be bought for anywhere between $3000 and $225,000.
Stratocasters from 1954, which is the very first year that Strats were made, and those that are in good condition can sell for upwards of $200,00 if the right buyer is found.
However, regular vintage Stratocasters that are from the 70s, 80s, and 90s can be found for $3000 to $50,000, depending on the model and the condition of the instrument.
There are several factors that determine the price of a vintage Strat. If you are considering purchasing a vintage Stratocaster model, it is very important to find out the condition of the guitar and verify the instrument model. Comparing the price to other Strats from the same year to ensure you are paying a fair price is also important.
The Price Of Squire Stratocasters
The third pricing consideration when examining the price of Stratocasters is to consider Fender Squire Stratocasters.
Squire is a guitar manufacturer that is owned by Fender and produces instruments under Fender’s name, but Squire makes guitars that are considerably less expensive than Fender. These guitars are made for beginner-level guitarists and those who only have a very tight budget for a new guitar.
Fender Squire Stratocasters are not of the same quality as true Fender Strats, but they are still good instruments, and they are worth considering if you have a limited budget for a Strat.
The most expensive Squire Stratocaster is the 40th Anniversary Gold Edition Squire Stratocaster, which costs $600 brand new. The most affordable version is the Squire HT Bullet Stratocaster for $200.
Every other Squire Strat falls within this price range, and these guitars are the ideal instruments for beginners and for guitar players who need a good guitar on a low budget.
What Contributes To The Price Of A Stratocaster?
We have established there is a very wide price range for Stratocasters of every type. New Strats are priced differently from old Strats, and entry-level Strats have their own price range too.
However, these prices bear no indication of why these guitars cost what they do. What determines the price of a Stratocaster guitar?
The truth is that there are several determining factors. Some of these factors are obvious and easily quantifiable, and others are more incorporeal but simultaneously critical to the value of the instrument.
The major factors that influence the price of a Fender Stratocaster are:
- The wood type that the guitar is made from.
- The features on the guitar.
- The components used on the guitar.
- The quality of the components and materials in the guitar.
- Where the guitar was made.
- The overall sound, feel, and tone of the guitar.
- The aesthetics of the guitar.
- The accessories that come with the guitar.
- The year that the guitar was made.
Let’s explore these major factors on a deeper level to better understand how the price of a Stratocaster is determined.
The Woods That The Guitar Is Made From
Every Fender Stratocaster is made from one or more types of wood to construct the body, the neck, and the headstock of the instrument.
The type of wood that is used on the guitar determines the way the guitar is constructed, the way the guitar feels, and the way the guitar sounds when played.
Different wood types are more expensive than others due to rarity, commonality, and the characteristics of the wood that affect the tone, sound, density, weight, and overall quality of the guitar.
Guitars made from high-quality, rare, or expensive woods cost far more than guitars constructed from cheap, common, low-quality, or composite woods.
The Features Of The Guitar
The features of the guitar also directly contribute to the price of the guitar. A Stratocaster that is made with specialized pickups, or a Floyd Rose Tremolo System, or a kill switch, or some other specialized hardware will always cost more than a standard Strat, especially when the instrument is new.
These features cost more to install, and the added cost of the materials and the development of new features increase the cost of the instrument as well.
Any guitar that comes with standard features will cost significantly less than guitars that have custom features.
The features of the guitar include the model of the instrument. Stratocasters that are made to the specifications of famous players such as Jimi Hendrix or Eric Johnson will cost more than regular Stratocasters simply because these guitars are designed for a more specialized tone and way of playing.
The Components Used On The Guitar
The components that the Stratocaster is equipped with contribute to the price of the overall instrument as well.
If a guitar is made with a hardtail bridge, it will cost less than a guitar with a semi-floating bridge. Stratocasters with more high-end components, such as locking tuners, bone nuts, graphite saddles, and over-wound pickups, cost more than the models with standard components.
The components used on a Stratocaster as a big factor in how much the guitar costs to buy.
The Quality Of The Materials And Hardware
The components on the guitar contribute to its price, but the quality of the components is also something to consider. Every Stratocaster has a pickguard, pickups, a bridge, saddles, tuners, and all the other standard components of these instruments, but the quality of these parts makes a difference in how much the individual guitar costs to buy.
A Stratocaster with high-quality parts that are custom-machined, or the Strat models that are made to sound better by using better-quality components, costs far more than Stratocasters that use basic components.
This is a major factor in the price difference between the Player Stratocaster range and the Performer Stratocaster range, for example.
Where The Guitar Is Made
The country and factory where the Stratocaster is made is an important factor in the price of the instrument as well.
Manufacturing factories in different countries produce guitars to different standards. For example, a Stratocaster that is made in America will be made to a higher standard than a Stratocaster made in Mexico. A Stratocaster made in Japan will be much better made than a Stratocaster produced in Indonesia.
This is simply because the workmanship in these different locations is held to a different standard, and the quality of the guitars that these places produce is reflected in the price of the instrument.
The most expensive Stratocasters are those that are made in America and Japan, and the least expensive are those that are made in Indonesia, Korea, and China.
How Well The Guitar Was Made
This leads us to discuss the quality of the craftsmanship of the Stratocaster, as this is a critical factor in the price of the guitar.
Every Stratocaster that I made to a very high standard of quality will sound far better and feel significantly better to play. Stratocasters are instruments, and instruments are judged by the way they sound and the way they feel.
A guitar that I made with a high level of craftsmanship will always sound and feel better than a guitar made with poor craftsmanship, and therefore, the guitars that sound and feel better are more expensive.
How well a Stratocaster is made drastically impacts the cost of the instrument. Better craftsmanship also means that the person building the guitar is paid more for their skills and the time used in building the guitar. This also increases the price of the individual guitar.
The Overall Sound, Feel, And Tone Of The Guitar
The craftsmanship determines the feel and sound of the instrument, but the way the tone of the guitar is another factor to add to these that also contributes to the price of a Stratocaster.
The way any guitar is valued is by the way it sounds when played, the culminative tone of the guitar and all of its components, and the way it feels to play.
The better a guitar feels, the easier it can be played. The better the guitar sounds, the better it is an instrument for making music. The better the tone of the guitar is, the more useable and versatile the instrument. All of these are critical factors in any Stratocaster, regardless of its model, age, or construction.
Any Stratocaster that is built to produce a good tone feel, and sound will cost more than a Strat built without considering these factors.
The Aesthetics Of The Guitar
This feature of a Stratocaster may seem inconsequential to many players, but the truth is that the aesthetics of the Stratocaster and the way it looks contribute significantly to the overall cost of the guitar.
If a Stratocaster is made with a particularly good-looking finish, or if it is made with a custom finish, it requires more time, effort, resources, and funds to build. This makes the guitar more expensive.
Stratocasters with unusual finishes become collectors’ items more quickly. Stratocasters with classic finishes such as Tobacco Sunburst or Olympic White generally cost more than those with more standard finishes such as simple red or blue.
The way a Stratocaster looks directly impacts the amount of money it is worth. A guitar with a good finish and a guitar with a finish that is well looked after and maintained will come with a. higher price tag than a guitar that has a poor aesthetic, a bad finish, or a finish that has been allowed to tarnish over time.
The Accessories That Come With The Guitar
A somewhat minor but not insignificant factor in the cost of a guitar is the accessories that come with the instrument. Stratocasters that are sold with a case, extra hardware, replacement parts, a tremolo arm, a gig bag, and those that come with cloths and other cleaning materials all cost more than those that do not.
Every Fender Stratocaster sold new comes with a standard kit and a certificate of authenticity, but the guitars that come with a high-end case and other accessories will cost more than those that do not, simply because these accessories cost money and they increase the price of the guitar.
The Year That The Guitar Was Made
The year the Stratocaster is made is the last factor that we will cover o this list. The year the Strat was made is important because it defines the vintage of the instrument, as well as the type of wood, materials, and hardware that the guitar is equipped with.
Stratocasters from certain years were better made than models from other years, and Strats from some years are equipped with better hardware than others. This means that Stratocasters from particular years, such as 1969, are more valuable than others.
Stratocasters from 1954 are more expensive than others because this is the first year that the Stratocaster was made. Other years are prized for their hardware, tone, sound, or feel.
Modern Stratocasters do not bear the same heritage or components as vintage models, and so modern Strats are far less expensive than those from desirable years.
Summary Of Stratocaster Prices
The last thing to do here is to directly compare the prices of different Fender Stratocaster models to clearly define the range that Stratocasters can be sold for.
All of the prices that will be listed here are for guitars that are currently available at the time of writing. The price of these instruments may fluctuate depending on the year and other economic factors, but going through this list should help you get a good understanding of the price of these instruments over time.
This table lists the Stratocaster prices based on model and year:
|Squire Bullet Stratocaster HT
|Squire Affinity Series Stratocaster
|Squire Affinity Series Stratocaster FMT
|Squire Classic Vibe ‘50s Stratocaster
|Squire Contemporary Stratocaster HH FR
|Squire 40th Anniversary Edition Stratocaster
|Fender Player Series Stratocaster
|Fender Vintage Series Stratocaster
|Fender Player Plus Stratocaster
|Fender American Performer Series Stratocaster
|Fender American Professional II Series Stratocaster
|Fender 75th Anniversary Commemorative Stratocaster
|Fender American Ultra Series Stratocaster
|Fender American Ultra Luxe Series Stratocaster
|Fender American Acoutasonic Cocobolo Stratocaster
|Fender American Standard Stratocaster
|Fender MIJ E Series Stratocaster
|Fender Ash Rosewood Stratocaster
|Fender Masterbuilt Stratocaster
|Fender Mexican Standard Stratocaster
|Fender Aerodyne MIJ Stratocaster
|Fender 1962 Reissue MIJ Stratocaster
|Fender American Professional II Stratocaster
|Fender American Standard Left Stratocaster
|Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster
|Fender American Stratocaster
|Fender Custom Shop Limited Lt Ed Robbie Robertson Last Waltz Stratocaster
|Fender Standard Stratocaster
|Fender Custom Shop Classic Player Stratocaster
|Fender Standard Olympic White Stratocaster
|Fender Standard Hardtail Stratocaster
|Fender American Vintage ’62 Reissue Stratocaster
|Original Fender Stratocaster
At the end of it all, the price of a Fender Stratocaster is dependent on several critical factors. No two Strat models cost the same amount, regardless of when and where they were built. Every Strat has its own price tag, and it is up to if that individual instrument is worth the price or not.
The most expensive Stratocasters in the world are those that sound the best, the models that are the most desirable, and those Stratocasters that carry something special such as being used by a great guitar player. The prices of Stratocasters change over time, so do not be surprised if your own Strat becomes more valuable as the years go on.