5 GREAT Inexpensive Fender USA Stratocaster Alternatives
If you can’t afford a made in the USA Fender Stratocaster here are some brands that are worth checking out because they are built really well for their price and they also sound fantastic. This is a list of guitars I have put together after years of playing and years of buying guitars. Watch the video below for the full list and also some honorable mentions. Direct links under the video.
Squier Classic Vibe Guitars
There’s a reason Squier Classic Vibes are top of the list. If you haven’t had a chance to test out a Squier Classic Vibe guitar you’re missing out. I actually purchased two Squier Classic Vibe guitars. I purchased the 50s Telecaster and the 60s Stratocaster which was amazing. The Classic Vibe series are up there with the Mexican made Stratocaster’s in terms of quality and tone. The stock pickups in the Classic Vibe guitars are also very nice as is the finish on the neck. My only small criticism about the 60s classic vibe is the toggle switch feels a bit cheap. That said, changing it out will not break the bank if it causes any issues.
SX Guitars is the hidden gem of electric guitars. In terms of build quality, they are easily as good as the Classic Vibe guitars. The first difference is the price. These guitars are almost identical in terms of how great the finish is, how nice the pickups sound, and overall build quality. The second difference compared with the Classic Vibe Guitars is the headstock shape. For legal reasons they can’t copy the Fender headstock but I don’t mind it at all. If you’re on a budget these guitars are probably the best value for money on the list as a Fender Stratocaster alternative.
The Harley Benton guitars are pretty wild, especially for the price. Some of them compare very favorably to the SX and Squier guitars and some might be even nicer. In terms of price, they are very comparable to the SX guitars and come directly from Thomann in Germany. Harley Benton has developed a bit of a cult following online. I didn’t believe the hype until I got to see them in person and I can tell you for a budget guitar they are really something special. The Harley Benton Stratocaster range is one of their least expensive too. Harley Benton does make more premium guitars in the range but if you’re looking for something inexpensive, Harley Benton is worth a shot.
Yamaha makes really solid instruments. I am not sure why Yamaha guitars aren’t more popular than they are? Maybe it’s the cool factor or online marketing? Whatever the case is, Yamaha really does make nice Stratocaster style guitars. Many of the Yamaha Pacifica’s come with a humbucker in the bridge position too which will appeal to those who like to rock.
The Fender Stratocaster
Wait! What? Yes, you read correctly. The best Fender Stratocaster alternative is actually a Fender Stratocaster. Fender makes guitars in many different regions of the World and the made in Mexico guitars are still arguably the best alternative to the USA made Stratocaster. You get the authentic headstock, the Fender logo, great sounding pickups, and some of the best value for money out there. For me personally, I actually prefer my made in Mexico Stratocaster over any US one that I’ve owned in the past. I even prefer it over my old USA Deluxe Stratocaster. Crazy hey!
There are a number of honorable mentions that could be added to this list no questions about it. If you’re interested in finding out what they are please check the video out located in this post for those mentioned.