Schecter Traditional Custom Maple 3048
If you want a Strat not by Fender that really, really gets it right, this Schecter is it.
In the Schecter lineup there are two specific Strat style guitars that would please any Strat player. The 3048 seen above and the 3047, which is the the rosewood version with white cover pickup covers.
How much? About the same price as Fender Standard Stratocaster...
...but when you know the specs of the Schecter, you might prefer it over the Fender.
The body is swamp ash. Scale is 25.5". Fretboard radius is 12" (like a Gibson.) It has locking tuners (a feature not on the Standard Strat.) Neck is bolt-on. Fret size is X-Jumbo (better for soloing.) Nut is TUSQ. Nut width is 1.653". It does have push/pull controls in addition to the 5-way selector (which again the Fender does not have.)
What's great about the Schecter is that it's a Strat that has what most guitarists wish Fender would make as a standard model. Flatter radius, a volume knob moved out of the way that won't get knocked while playing, a better nut for smoother string travel, and solid traditional construction.
In other words, Schecter made a modernized Strat without getting goofy about it. It has arguably just the right blend of traditional + modern, both for styling and electronics. And the price is great for what it is.
China build guitar? No. South Korea build. And those in the know understand there are some darned fine guitars that come from there, including this one.
Schecter is one of the few guitars I would openly buy without trying it first where it arrives near-perfect out of the box. Yes, they're that good.