Is the Fender Standard Stratocaster going away?
This guitar will probably be gone very soon.
I noticed something on the Fender.com web site recently. Although the Standard Stratocaster is still listed there, it's not listed as a main category of Strat anymore:
Only one Standard Stratocaster is listed for sale, the Sunburst with 1-piece maple neck. That's it. No other choices.
This strongly indicates that 2018 is the final year you can buy a Standard Stratocaster new. After this, the model that replaces it is the Player Stratocaster.
We saw the retirement of several Fender models over the past few years. American Standard was replaced with American Professional, American Vintage was replaced with American Original, and so on. But the one that held out the longest was the Mexico-made Standard. And that's the one that will most likely not survive into 2019.
What does this mean for the Strat?
A few things.
- It's probably the last time ever you can buy a Fender Strat for under $600.
- It's probably the last time you'll see a non-vintage/special model with the 6-screw bridge instead of the 2-point.
- It's probably the last time you'll see a non-vintage/special model with a 21-fret neck instead of the modern 22.
- With the retirement of this model, the most mod-friendly Strat will be gone from the lineup.
It's #4 that takes most Strat players by surprise.
When you want a Fender Strat that uses 100% standard Fender measurements for a relatively low price that will fit almost any third-party replacement part (pickups, pick guards, bridges, tuners, etc.), the Mexico-made Standard is the best thing going for the money when the goal is to mod the guitar.
The Player Stratocaster, while "better" in certain respects, means you have to fork out more cash and end up with a guitar that is not as mod-friendly as its previous model.
I'm not saying the Player Stratocaster is bad, because it's not. It's actually quite good - but it costs more and isn't as mod-friendly. With the two-point bridge for example, you can't just drop in a 6-screw. Not without drilling holes into the guitar, anyway. That's just one small example.
Should you buy a Standard Stratocaster now?
If you want one that's the most mod-friendly, yes, get one now while they're still for sale new and comes with a warranty. It's very possible that come 2019, you won't be able to buy this model new anymore.