Things to know before buying a Fender Mexican Stratocaster

Svetlana February 02 2022

What do you know about Fender?

Fender is a manufacturer of stringed instruments and amplifiers. It was founded by Leo Fender in 1946 in Fullerton, California. The company's headquarters have been located in Scottsdale, Arizona since 1988.

The company began when founder Leo Fender decided to make electronic guitars instead of repairing guitars. In 1954 the first single-pickup guitar, called the Esquire was introduced followed by the Broadcaster later that same year which would later be renamed as the Telecaster.

In 1956 came what is considered the world's first successfully mass-produced solid-body electric guitar, named simply "the Stratocaster". Also born in that era was one of the most popular and influential electric basses ever made, now known as the Precision Bass.

The company is also credited with making the first mass-produced solid-body Spanish-style electric guitar, now known as the Telecaster. The company has introduced other models, such as the Jazzmaster (1958), which was the first to feature a rosewood fretboard as standard equipment.

Notable users of this guitar include Billy Corgan and James Iha of The Smashing Pumpkins, William Reid and Peter Kember (aka Sonic Boom) of Spacemen 3, Robby Krieger of The Doors, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave) among others.

Throughout the year's Fender has acquired several music electronics brands including Guild in 1995, SWR Sound Corporation in 2000, and from 2009-12 Fender acquired a majority stake in the Japanese audio equipment manufacturer, TEAC Corporation.

As of 2013, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation operates as a subsidiary of its parent company, it makes guitars, basses, amplifiers, and ukuleles (The Original Acoustic Instrument Company).

Fender Mexican Stratocaster - yes or no?

Design

This guitar is made in Mexico, where the manufacturing quality is not so great, but it varies widely. Most Fender guitars are already built with quality materials, whether or not they come from America or Mexico.

If you see any guitar that has a price tag under $500 and says made in Mexico - do not buy it. It will most likely be bad even if it looks good. You might want to try buying used though since some people take better care of their things than others.

It is made of wood, not very high-quality wood, but still wood nonetheless. The neck is maple and has 21 medium jumbo frets. The neck is quite standard, it might even need a professional refret soon (if you're planning to use it for gigs).

The body of the guitar is always made of laminated pieces of Alder (thickness 1 5/8"), along with 2 pieces of solid Ash (thickness 1/4") on top and bottom by the pickguard. The pickguard used to be black on this model, but now looks like cream - bland! There are also "top-load" bridges which mean that there's no tremolo bar holder or string locks. This makes string replacement much more difficult than just simple tune-ups.

The pickups are standard single coils which means that you can get bright or mellow tones, but not both at once - unless you're using a pedal. Bridge pick up is brighter while the neck one is warmer.

The guitar comes with either maple or rosewood fingerboard. The two colors are also used for the plastic parts of the knobs and backplate.

Sound quality and playability

It gives you great vintage sound, especially when it's in good shape, which is rare if it was built in Mexico (you'd be lucky to find one). One thing I really like about this model though: they use very fine saddles on their strings so your fingers don't hurt when they're pressing the strings.

The sound is not so great with the stock single coils, but they are very quiet.

Its 5-way selector switch has several positions that affect the sound greatly. The first position makes it warmer, the second one gives you a "hollow" sound, the third position gives you a brighter sound. The further two positions are for more bass and treble. The second position is the most versatile and it blends 2 sounds together.

The 3rd position activated middle pickup and sounds very hollow and "nasal", it's great for funk/blues - especially with overdrive. If you're looking to play jazz or anything that requires a well-defined sound, then this is not the guitar for you. The 4th and 5th positions make the sound brighter and more defined, but again - not the best for playing jazz. If you're using an overdrive or distortion pedal then it sounds great through an amp.

Hardware

Hardware is good considering the price range. It doesn't say what type of material it's made out of, but most likely that would be chrome-plated steel.

Its saddles are also made of steel and they can break very easily if you're not careful enough when stringing them up. The tuners are non-locking Fender / Schaller Deluxe vintage style.

Controls are standard for this type of guitar - volume knob, tone knob, 5-way selector switch which controls 3 pickups at once with flexible cable wiring inside the guitar. There is also a separate Switch for selecting between two different output signals (for example when playing live).

Its six tuning pegs give you an opportunity to tune your guitar very well. They are great when it comes to tuning stability, but sometimes you might need to tune up more than usual because they can "drift" for some reason.

The 2-point tremolo bridge system is not terrible, but it definitely can't beat a Floyd Rose or Kahler system. This system allows you to bend strings a little bit, but it's not a good alternative to a Floyd Rose. It also lacks a tremolo arm which is very helpful if you're using this guitar for gigs.

Fender Mexican Stratocaster has really smooth frets. They are not as sharp as the ones on a Gibson, but they still require some hard work and concentration. Among other hardware, there is a 5-way selector switch for choosing between pickups and two separate output jacks (for live performance). The guitar also comes with standard Vintage tuners, 2 tone knobs, and one volume knob.

The tremolo bridge is not very good when compared to other Floyd Rose types. It doesn't hold the strings at all! We would strongly recommend replacing it with something like a Gotoh or Wilkinson system.

The suitable guitar combo amps

If you are looking for a good combo amp for your Fender Mexican Stratocaster, then the Vox Pathfinder 10 or Vox VT20X are great. Also, when it comes to gigging, the Peavey Vypyr Tube 60 with 2x12" is a very reliable option.

If you are looking for a more budget-friendly amp with great sound and small dimensions, then check out the Blackstar HT-1R combo guitar amplifier. Also, it has an amazing effect loop in case your effects pedals aren't already in the signal chain. The Blackstar also has a headphone jack in case you want to practice in silence or using headphones.

As far as smaller amps go, this one didn't disappoint us at all! It features 3 channels (clean/crunch/lead), solid digital effects which work pretty well, and simple controls so there's nothing too overwhelming. It has a ¼" input for your guitar, an auxiliary input in case you want to plug in another audio source, and a 1/8" headphone jack.

It sounds great at low volumes which also makes it ideal for late-night practicing without waking up the neighbors. It's very light too! Such a small combo amp weighs only 11 lbs.

Many may find this combo amp useful due to its extra features like a built-in tuner, headphone jack or effects loop - not essential but definitely useful when needed. Also, Blackstar provides you with free programs via their Tone Central page so there are more options to experiment with your sound effects.

Fender Mexican Stratocaster Pros and Cons

Advantages:

  • looks great
  • it has a vintage type tremolo system

Disadvantages:

  • the pickups are not good enough for high gain songs
  • the strings tend to break often

What Fender is better for this price tag?

If you want to play rock, metal, or any other genre that uses distortion/overdrive, then the Fender Mexican Stratocaster is your best choice. You can't go wrong with this guitar!

If you're an intermediate-level student looking for a good deal - buy it! It's also one of the best guitars for beginners. The sound quality is not that great, but it's better than playing on an acoustic without an amp.

When compared to Epiphone or Squier models, Mexican Fenders are definitely better. They are also much more affordable! For example - the Squier Strat would cost you at least $200 more than this model.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a guitar with good tonal variety and playability - buy an Epiphone or Gibson instead. You'll get a 5-way selector switch along with two-tone knobs + one volume knob which is standard for guitars under $300.

The pickups are usually better as well. Those guitars have passive electronics that can't be replaced by anything else without taking them apart completely, so there's no point in buying something cheaper when it comes to the quality of the sound itself.

Which Fender is better: American or Mexican?

In a nutshell, the highest quality Fenders are made in the USA - they have better pickups and features. If you've got enough money for an American model then go for it! They'll never disappoint you.

On the other hand, if you're on a budget but still want to get a decent guitar with good sound and playability, choose Mexican Stratocaster. In fact - it's one of the best-selling guitars out there. Just because something is more expensive doesn't always mean that it's better so take your time comparing other models before buying what suits you most.

The American version looks better to beginners, but if you're looking for a professional guitar - the Mexican is perfect since it's not expensive.

Even though they are made in different countries, there are no major differences between American and Mexican Stratocasters when it comes to playability. Once again - the main purpose of this guide is to help you find something specific that fits your needs! So don't be afraid to ask questions or leave comments below if you have any doubts regarding this model or other suggestions to add. That would help everyone out.

Is it good for beginners?

Absolutely! We would even say that the Mexican Stratocaster is one of the best guitars for beginners.

It's easy to play, ideal for strumming and it comes at an affordable price tag - what more could you ask for? You can experiment with many different effects since there are 3 tone knobs + 1 volume knob. Also, the tremolo system is very stable but still allows your guitar to produce some great-sounding effects if you're into these things.

Is it good for professional players?

The sound quality is not perfect and it can't be compared to a guitar made in the USA, for example. The pickups are not the best out there - they need some improvement. The hardware seems to be rather cheap when you compare it with other models in this price range. Finally, the tremolo system is probably one of the cheapest types since your guitar will always go out of tune after using tremolo bars.

In case you're looking for good-quality guitars, then pay attention to other models from Fender or Epiphone that have much better features + much more beautiful designs! This model has been known to have some quality control issues back in the days so we'd to get something else.

Fender Mexican Stratocaster conclusion and final verdict

The Fender Mexican Stratocaster is definitely worth its money! It has great sound quality and it's really cheap when it comes to beginner guitars - affordable and good value for your money!

People like it because of its attractive price tag and decent sound. It's good for anyone who likes rock, blues, or any other genre that doesn't require a lot of effects in order to sound great. The Fender Mexican Stratocaster is perfect for learning and playing around with different sounds and effects without having to spend too much cash in the process.

Its body made from Alder provides you with a comfortable grip so you can play it all night long if needed, while its 3 single-coil pickups can be replaced by anything else you might have at home. Also, the tremolo bar is very useful when creating unique effects which make your sound even more attractive.

If you're looking for an inexpensive electric guitar with decent features, go for Fender Mexican Stratocaster. It's great for any beginner-intermediate-level player out there! So, rock on!