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Fender Starcaster vs. Stratocaster – Explaining the Price Gap (SOLVED)

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The Fender Stratocaster is loved and desired by many players. The Stratocaster has penetrated not only the guitar world but also the music world as a whole. It has played an important musical role across diverse musical styles and genres. 

With Fender’s reputation as a top-class guitar maker, it is not surprising that it is the dream of many guitar players to own at least one guitar from Fender. But the truth remains that not everyone can afford a standard Fender Strat or Tele. 

This is where the Starcaster comes in. An affordable alternative to the more expensive Fender Strat. Being a semi-hollow body guitar, it is also an alternative to costlier semi-hollow brands like Gibson. 

Perhaps Fender wants every player to own a Fender. The good thing about the Starcaster is that it might be cheaper than a Strat, but it is not exactly inferior to a Strat. The Starcaster is still an amazingly designed electric guitar in its own right.

About the Fender Starcaster 

The Fender Starcaster is usually regarded as one of the better esoteric novelties in the records of the Fender musical instrument corporation. This is due to its distinctive offset semi-hollow body and divisive headstock. 

The original Starcaster model features two Fender wide-range humbucker pickups with a chrome cover that has a (three) 3-way toggle switch and (five) 5 silver skirted black control knobs. 

The five (5) silver-skirted black control knobs give you control over parameters like: master volume, bridge pickup tone, bridge pickup volume, neck pickup tone, and neck pickup volume. 

Also, the original Starcaster design was an arched, laminated maple top with dual f-holes, with a maple back and sides. 

The Fender Starcaster debuted in 1976 as the first electric guitar model designed by Fender in its three years. However, it was not widespread and was discontinued in 1980. 

The Starcaster nevertheless had a unique design and throated tone. They later became rare in the vintage market and the scarcity made the Starcaster popular. 

Due to the increasing demand in the market, Fender reintroduced the Starcaster into the market in 2013. 

Alongside the Starcaster was also the production of the Starcaster bass. This was the first offset semi-hollow body bass guitar in the history of Fender. 

Apart from the additional adjust-magic bridge with an anchored tailpiece, a slight change in the neck radius, and the removal of the volume control, the Modern Fender Starcaster guitar maintains some of the original features. 

The Starcasters are manufactured and sold as starter packages alongside the Squier in East Asia. Depending on the year of manufacture or model, the Starcaster body may be agathis or basswood. 

To reduce production expenses, further changes such as a lower-grade tremolo are made and manufactured in far Eastern countries like China and Indonesia. 

About the Fender Stratocaster 

The Stratocaster is a model of an electric guitar that was created by Leo Fender, Bill Carson, George Fullerton, and Freddie Tavares in 1954.

The creation process began in 1952 when Leo Fender had geared toward inventing a usable yet loud guitar with exciting tones.

Leo Fender, being a practical person simply wanted to make a better guitar. Unfortunately, he was not trying to be radical and revolutionary. 

The guitar market in the mid-1950s saw for the first time a different model of electric guitar that didn’t look like the regular acoustic guitar. 

It had a unique body shape for comfort and balance in scenarios where the player would rather stand to play with the strap. Tone selection was made easy with the new layout of three pickups, unlike the one or two pickups. 

The fender Stratocaster, ever since introduced to the world of guitar, has been emulated by other electric guitar manufacturers, popularized, and considered the industry standard.

Although three years after being introduced to the world market, the Stratocaster was not well known. It was seen as a joke and a mere tool by some professional musicians. 

This explains why it is always said that the Strats were 10 decades earlier – they came a bit too early. They had to bid time during the first year, even when rock and roll was the music of the time. 

It took a while, but the Strat ascended and evolved to be a cultural mark for originality, creativity, and artistry. 

The Strat is that guitar that can be used for all musical styles. Its playability, great sound, double cutaway design, contoured body, Alderwood, and tremolo bridge makes it just the perfect electric guitar for many playing scenarios. 

The Fender Strat is made in the USA and Mexico and is manufactured by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Leo Fender found the FMIC in southern California with headquarters in Los Angeles, California. 

Demonstration of the Fender strat on American performer series, Fender. 

Fender Starcaster vs Stratocaster Review 

The Fender Starcaster and Stratocaster are both designed by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. 

The Starcaster and the Strats have almost the same body, and the same controls but different quality and materials. Fender Starcasters are made in China and Indonesia while Stratocasters are made in the USA. 

It is cheaper to produce lower-cost models of guitars in China and Indonesia because the materials are available and easy to get. 

Rather than an alder body, the Starcaster uses a maple for the body and neck. The neck is unfinished and the metals are made from cheap components. This makes the Fender Starcaster a very affordable alternative to Stratocaster, which is very expensive.

The Starcaster costs around $70 – $100 meanwhile a Strat starts from $500 upward. The Fender Starcaster is also aimed at beginner guitar players, while the Strats are recommended for intermediate and professional guitar performers. 

The Fender Starcaster is a semi-hollow body with f-holes, two humbuckers pickup, and no pickguard. 

The Stratocaster is a solid body guitar with three single coil pickups (available also are a combination of humbuckers), a large pickguard, and three pots. 

The Starcaster has cheap pickups, poor-quality alloy, lower caps, and slightly different size pots. Nevertheless, they produce bright sounds. 

The thick and distorted sound from the Starcater makes it versatile for a variety of music genres, including Rock, jazz, and blues. 

Leo Nocentelli who is  a rock and jazz player from the funk band “Meters” is popularly known for playing the Fender Starcaster. 

The Strat can be used for every genre of music. Many popular guitarists are seen playing the Strats including blues and rock players. 

Popular rock celebrity guitarist Jimi Hendrix, considered by many to be the greatest guitar player of all time, is seen rocking the Strat upside down rather than using the customary left-handed guitar.

Difference between solid and hollow body guitars

The Starcasters will fall under the hollow body and the Strats under solid body guitars. There is an established statement in the guitar world about the solid body and hollow body guitar. 

If you want to play rock, get a solid-body guitar and if you want to play jazz and blues, get a hollow-body guitar. 

Nonetheless, the style of music should not be a determinant factor when choosing which instrument to get for yourself (just my opinion). 

Here are the major differences between the solid body and hollow body electric guitar:

  • The solid-body guitars deliver more satisfactory sustain than hollow-body guitars. The hollow-body guitars are slightly similar to acoustic guitars. 
  • You can hear the notes better from the hollow body when unplugged due to its resonating chamber, which is just like that of the acoustic guitar. 
  • That means the hollow body will serve a great deal more than the solid body if you are in an apartment building where you may need to practice without amplification. 
  • Also, the hollow body merely vibrates or interacts with pickups like the solid-body electric guitar. 
  • The solid body is heavier compared to the hollow body, which weighs considerably less. Although some guitarists prefer heavier guitars, this might not be the case with guitar players who have neck and shoulder problems. 
  • The solid body guitar produces a pleasant treble tone sound more than the hollow body. But the hollow body produces warm and rich tones. What this means is that hollow body resonance highlights the low mid and bass frequency while the resonance of the solid body highlights higher/brighter frequencies. 
  • Finally, the hollow-body guitar is more sensitive to feedback when played loud compared to the solid body which is less prone to feedback. 

Fender Starcaster Pros and Cons 


  • The Fender Starcaster is budget-friendly and good for starters. This makes the Starcaster a better option for low-budget buyers. 
  • They are good for beginner guitarists.
  • Considering its price, it sounds pretty decent.
  • Body finishing is beautiful and looks expensive for a guitar around its price. 
  • Oftentimes, it comes with a tuner. 
  • The amp comes with a distortion option. 
  • Fells solid to the touch.


  • Because of the price factor, they are not exactly the best quality electric guitars.  
  • Most of the Starcasters may require additional setup from a luthier before they can play well. 
  • Requires periodic maintenance. 
  • Rough frets on the end (require filing). 
  • Might have intonation and tuning stability issues
  • The whammy bar or tremolo bar can only be bent downward. 
  • Not best for professional guitar players, except just for indoor practice.

Fender Stratocaster pros and cons 


  • The Strat plays well whether it is solo, riffs, leadline, or chords. It is ergonomically designed and it is so easy for a player to start a groove by picking up a Strat. 
  • It has a very distinct and pleasing sound that makes it stand out from every other electric guitar. 
  • The Strat is beautifully designed and made to look good and it does look good with catchy colors. 
  • While other brands are known for specific genres, the Strat is very versatile and can do all genres, be it heavy metal, rock and roll, country, or jazz. 
  • It is lighter, making it easier to carry. Best for touring musicians. 
  • Easy for beginners to pmake music with a Strat due to better upper fret access, and a more comfortable neck.
  • The Strat is the professional best guitar. The sound and tone pack are excellent for performance.


  • The Strat is quite expensive and not budget-friendly like the Starcaster
  • The vibrato could be a bit upsetting for some folks. Some players just do away with it. Fender Strat vibrato or trem is not that very useful. 
  • Some guitarists, in search of custom touches might not fond the colors exactly appealing or professional.

Fender Starcaster in Summary 

The Fender Starcaster is a semi-hollow body guitar designed by Fender in 1976 and discontinued in 1982. It was made in an attempt to compete with the dominating semi-hollow body Gibson ES-335 in the guitar world market. 

Fender had to stop making the Starcasters in 1982 due to its slow progress in the guitar world. It wasn’t widely accepted. The original Starcaster guitars were usually the same shape as Fender Stratocaster – Maple neck, body, and fretboard. 

The Starcaster was reintroduced in 2013 by Fender in continuation of the 2001 modern player series. Unlike the old 1976 Starcaster, the new guitar has a tune-o-matic bridge with a stop tailpiece and bound ff-holes. 

The new Starcaster maintains some of the old features except the removal of master volume control, string tree for four strings, bullet truss rod adjuster, and three bolts neck attachment. 

The Starcaster is very cheap and affordable. Recommended for entry-level guitar players. 

The rich and warm tone from the Fender Starcaster is a steal price. The beautiful body also makes it expensive for the price it is being sold. Which is about $100-$200.

Fender Stratocaster in Summary

The Fender Stratocaster is indisputably the best-designed model by Leo Fender and company since 1954. 

The three pick-ups, double cutaway design, contoured body, and the vibrato also referred to as a tremolo bridge (which helps to bend the note of the strings) account for its playability, sound, comfort, and balance. 

The Strat is also very popular for its versatility and style. It is that guitar that is just suitable for all genres of music. It doesnt matter if it is country, jazz, reggae, rock, blues, or pop, the Strat will work just fine. 

They are also suited for players of all levels, be it beginners or professional. It’s easy for beginners to make music with the Strat due to its better upper fret access, and its super-comfortable neck design. 

Remember that Fender Strat is made in the USA and Mexico. This makes the Strat so expensive due to the production cost and materials used. You will hardly see a Strat below $700.

Buying Guide/Frequently Asked Questions 

Which of these two models is best for the touring musician?

Picking the right model of guitar for your music gig and tour is one of the decisions every musician must make. 

If you are a professional, that cares about your tone and sound on stage. The price of any instrument is not as important as the feel and your performance. 

The Strat is the best model guitar for you. It is designed with tons of features that will make your performance outstanding. 

Nonetheless, if you need a less expensive guitar, you won’t worry if it’s gonna pack. The Starcaster is best for you. 

The Starcaster is cheap and has a warm tone for stage performance. Also, it weighs considerably less. You can play and jump with it on stage because of its lightweight. 

I wouldn’t recommend the Starcaster to any touring musician. Except it is going to serve as a backup guitar.

Which is the most versatile between these two? 

The Fender Stratocaster is one of the popular and iconic guitars that can play everything. However, it is more expensive.

Which guitar arm is satisfactory 

The Starcaster arm is very satisfactory for an entry-level guitarist. The Starcaster arm features the required bass, treble, and volume control. It is perfect for practice and Home use.


By now you have decided between the Fender Starcaster and the Stratocaster, which will be best for you. If you are a beginner seeking a practicing guitar. Consider the lightweight Starcaster for your practice. 

Remember that hollow-body guitar produces loud and warm tones when unplugged. The Starcaster may not be a high-performance guitar but it does sound decent for its price. 

The Starcaster is cheaper than the Strat. However, if you are looking for a guitar that will create beautiful and sparkling sounds. The price of the Strat is nothing. 

Nonetheless, if you can not afford a Strat, remember that the model of the guitar does not determine the outcome of the performance. The guitar player does. The style of music should not also be a determinant factor.

But if you are contemplating the music genre. Then get the Strat. Whether you end up getting the Starcaster or Stratocaster, or maybe you have made a purchase already, worry less. 

A pretty good musician like Neo Nocontelli is famous for playing the Fender Starcaster. Jimi Hendrix a popular rock star and legendary guitarist is said to have helped make the fender Stratocaster popular. 

With consistent practice and passion, you will get to your longing level. Don’t spend much time making findings. Good luck.