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Our 7 best stratocaster clones

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Our 7 best stratocaster clones The Fender Strat is probably the most well-known guitar in history. It has been used by legendary guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Richie Blackmoor, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Fender has sold millions of Strats over the years, and it has been copied by many. While the original is a great guitar to own, there are some amazing Strat clones on the market, often at a much lower price point.

These are our favourite Strat clones.

Our 7 favourite Stratocaster clones

Name
Yamaha Pacifica 112 Check Price
Squier Classic Vibe Check Price
Music Man Sterling Cutlass Check Price
Line 6 Variax Standard Check Price
Godin Session Check Price
G&L Tribute S500 Check Price
Schecter Traditional Standard Check Price

Yamaha Pacifica 112V

Yamaha Pacifica 112V

The Yamaha Pacifica range is often unfairly associated with cheap beginner guitars. Admittedly, the 012 model is rather cheap, but we’re big fans of the 112, 312 and 612 models. The playability and value for money found especially in the 112 model makes it our favourite of this test.

The ex-Ibanez guitar designer Rich Lasner is credited designing the guitar with the help of guitar builder Leo Knapp. The duo designed and built the Pacifica as a test project, which Yamaha decided to bring into production in the early 90’s.

Most of the Pacifica Strats have a SSH configuration, with the humbucker being coil-tapped to get the typical Fender sound. The necks lean slightly towards the narrow end of the spectrum, but have high levels of comfort and playability.

The Pacifica is a great guitar for experienced and beginner players alike, and is our favorite alternative to the Fender Stratocaster.

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Squier Classic Vibe

Squier Classic Vibe

Squier Guitars is owned by Fender, which technically should disqualify them from this test, but the Classic Vibe models are simply too good to exclude.

First released in 2008, the Classic Vibe series copy the classic Fender designs of the 50’s and 60’s. While the series was not created to be era correct, the guitars manage to recreate the classic Fender look and feel very well indeed.

The Classic Vibe models are a great option for beginners and experienced players alike. The playability is great, and some hardware upgrades will keep you playing this guitar for a long time.

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Sterling by Music Man Cutlass

Sterling by Music Man Cutlass

Sterling by Music Man has become known for producing guitars that punch well above their price class, and the Cutlass is no different. With a 4+2 headstock configuration the guitar itself isn’t near an exact Fender clone, but the sounds it are on point.

The build quality on the Cutlass made a great impression and our team loved the sounds, even though the pickups were fairly low output. The comfortable neck makes it easy to play and difficult to put down.

For those that want something a bit more unique than the average Strat clone, the Cutlass is an easy recommendation.

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Line 6 Variax Standard

Line 6 Variax Standard

The Variax by Line 6 is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s good reason to take a closer look at it. The Variax is built by Yamaha for Line 6, meaning the build quality is top notch. Even though bears some resemblance to the Pacifica, it’s a completely different beast.

The Variax is a guitar with modeling on board, meaning your guitar can sound like any of the guitars the Variax team has modeled. They worked with vintage guitar dealer Albert Molinaro to recreate the sounds of some of the most coveted vintage guitars, and then built these sounds into the guitar itself.

Turning the Variax knob on the front panel allows you to select a range of sounds from Strats to Teles to Les Pauls, or you can use normal magnetic pickups if you want to keep it simple.

While this is definitely not the right guitar for vintage guitar fans, we welcome the innovation, and recommend it for those that like to experiment.

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Godin Session

Godin Session

The Godin Session is a lovely guitar from the Canadian guitar maker. They are priced well for a high quality instrument, and come with all the features you would expect from a Strat alternative.

A 5-way switch provides all the needed pickup combinations, with a push-pull pot allowing you to split the bridge humbucker for traditional sounds. The 12” fretboard radius and 25 12” scale length create a comfortable neck feel, and the build quality is excellent.

These guitars are well worth considering for those with budget for a mid-level guitar.

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G&L Tribute S500

G&L Tribute S500

After Leo Fender sold Fender guitars in 1965, he spent a few years designing instruments for Music Man, before founding G&L Guitars with George Fullerton and Dale Hyatt in the late 70’s. The Tribute series is built by Cort Guitars and provides players with an amazing guitar for the money.

The Tribute features a traditional 25 12” scale length, bolt on neck and 3 single coil configuration. As such, the sound is also classic Strat. Some hardware differences are the G&L Dual Fulcrum vibrato and a push-pull treble pot that enables additional pickup configurations.

The tribute makes a great impression on both sound and quality, and you could do much worse for the price.

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Schecter Traditional Standard

Schecter Traditional Standard

Schecter Guitars is known for their rock and metal offerings, and as a result the Tradional Standard is a great modern interpretation of the classic Fender Strat. It features some modern touches that may not be period correct, but that make for a great playing guitar.

The neck profile is a “Thin C” shape, which is less chunky than the others in the test. Then there’s the Extra-Jumbo fretwire, making the strings light and easy to play. The sounds are convincingly vintage Strat though, and if thinner necks are your thing, you should definitely check out the Schecter Trditional!

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