Can I legitimately tell people I have a Fender Strat? I bought this used for $100. It's a Starcaster by Fender (not a Fender Starcaster, which would have been awesome!)

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Look, it doesn't say "Made in China," it says "Crafted in China." Fancy!

back headstock

Rear Plate

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    It's a Fender in the same way that my $100 Squier Hello Kitty strat is a Fender of sorts. I enjoy playing it whatever the label on the headstock, but I wouldn't describe it to people as a Fender strat. Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 16:40
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    I once had the job of setting up 'modern' [read: cheap crap] Squiers for Toys R Us, in store. I did the first couple, then told them it would cost them more to have them set up properly than it would to have made the frets actually fit the neck in the first place. I still got paid the same for every one I installed on the retailer's walls [85 stores in total] but they changed the instructions to 'hang' rather than 'set up'. You could lose fingers on the fret edges if you weren't careful... talk about 'fall from grace'...
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 17:06
  • Only if you're talking to someone who knows nothing about Fender Strats. Most guitar players would call your bluff. Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 0:06
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    You can say you have a fender, but not a strat.
    – user50691
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 17:23
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    Nothing to be ashamed of here. I've known too many fake guitar players with the real deal who couldn't play guitar to save their life and many great guitar players with "junk" who could play anything and everything and never talked about what they "owned". Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 14:09

5 Answers 5


I would avoid telling anyone you own it... unless you tell them you got it for a buck, or found it in the street, out of a dumpster, behind a post-box...

Technically, Fender did license those things, but practically, they were a way to promote the name to undiscerning customers at WalMart/CostCo/BestBuy, etc for their kids at Xmas, birthdays... the kind of thing that will be parked atop the wardrobe within six weeks, never to again see the light of day.

They probably didn't retail for $100 new.

You were soundly done, my old matey.
Caveat Emptor.

I'm sorry.


  • Makes me long for the days of the good Strat copies; I bought a Japanese Lotus Strat copy in 1983 that was pretty awesome for the $150 or whatever I paid for it.
    – user39614
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 16:52
  • @DavidBowling - I got very very lucky, completely by accident. I am the proud owner, since new, of a 1985 Japanese Squier Strat. [I used to also own a genuine '64 sonic blue which I had to sell due to being 'a musician & therefore skint', so I'll console myself with the Squier ;) (I am also, coincidentally, currently photographing my friend's collection of Antoria 'gibsons' which are all truly fine guitars.) Quick example - i.sstatic.net/7JP05.jpg
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 16:56
  • That looks like a keeper; lucky for me a proper diet (low in carbs and funding) helps to keep me from getting GAS ;)
    – user39614
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 17:06
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    "I would avoid telling anyone you own it... unless you tell them you got it for a buck, or found it in the street, out of a dumpster, behind a post-box..." How can you say something like this? Having a cheap instrument is nothing one should be ashamed of! After all, there are plenty of people who can't afford a better instrument. Imagine saving your money till you can afford this guitar, to get mocked on because "its bad".
    – Olli
    Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 13:35
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    @Olli `@BeginnerBiker That's true, and a great perspective to have. Nothing to be ashamed of. That said, you won't get much bragging power out of this instrument, which is the idea behind the "don't tell people" sentiment. No need to go out of your way to mention it, I suppose.
    – user45266
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 3:06

Starcaster is like Squier, a cheap guitar marketed by Fender. Kind of like Gibson does with their Maestro line of guitars. Any guitarist worth his salt knows that the Starcaster is a cheap guitar. I would think you could get them for $50-100 on the used market. It's comparable to all the other millions of cheap guitars built in China. From what I've heard Harley Benton guitars are the best of the cheap Asian made guitars on the market.

  • You get fabulous guitars out of Indonesia. The Indonesian made Ibanez guitars retailed around 750 - 1k range and were seriously impressive value for money guitars.
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 9:42

I bought one from Guitar Center in Hollywood in 2007. It's NOT a "Strat", it for no other reason than it's not a Stratocaster. It's a Starcaster. Lol. Having said that, it is a cheap Strat knockoff that is made by Fender in one of their Asian sweatshops. It's closest relative is the Squier line of Fenders. I had a Squier Telecaster in 2014 and it was fine. It felt slightly smaller and lighter, but that was perfect, as I I don't have the world's largest hands. My Starcaster? Not sure what became of it?

But having had a Fender Stratocaster and a Fender Telecaster, in the years since, I'd be more than ok with my Squier and my Starcaster. The Squier fit me better and was more comfortable in my hands. The Starcaster felt every bit as good as the real Strat I had and I always enjoyed feeling like I was getting one over on all the guitar elitists who had to have their Stratocasters to make them feel like a real guitar player. lol

All this talk makes me wanna go online and find me a good condition Starcaster, and a good condition Gibson Maestro and order them today. Lol It's all in the head. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Rock on!!

  • I'm not sure this does answer the question…
    – Tom
    Commented Jan 19, 2021 at 10:14

You already answered your own "question."

Is a “Starcaster Strat by Fender” a Fender?

Yes, it was marketed by Fender.

Can I legitimately tell people I have a Fender Strat?

No. And the explanation why is in your question...

It's a Starcaster by Fender (not a Fender Starcaster...

And if it's a Starcaster by Fender then it is not a Fender Stratocaster.

The usual explanation is the US built Fenders are the high quality instruments. But it isn't the location per se that makes the difference, it's the specifications to which they are built.


It is a Fender because it has fender on the headstock. It even has Strat guitar on the headstock. Anyone who says it is not a strat is in snob denial. Blame Fender.

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