How can I tell if my Fender Stratocaster is real? Simple: follow these steps. By the end, you’ll know if your guitar is legit or a counterfeit.
If you’ve recently acquired a Fender Stratocaster through non-official routes (maybe it’s second hand or maybe it fell off the back of a lorry), you might be concerned and/or worried about its authenticity.
After all, it is now harder than ever to spot a fake Fender – or a Chibson for that matter. If it looks odd or doesn’t quite sound right, you could have a duck on your hands.
The only way to be sure if your Fender Stratocaster is real is to run through the checks listed out below.
If it’s legit, you should be able to positively complete each one. If it ain’t, you could be rocking a fake…
How To Tell If Your Fender Stratocaster is Real
Serial Number: The First Line of Defense
The serial number is your guitar’s unique identifier and the first checkpoint in establishing its authenticity.
You can typically find it on the headstock or the neck plate of the guitar. Each Stratocaster’s serial number is recorded in Fender’s official database, and this number can reveal a lot about the instrument, including its year of manufacture and original place of production.
- Pro Tip: Visit Fender’s official website and use their serial number lookup tool to verify the details of your guitar.
Logo and Branding: More Than Just Aesthetics
Fender’s logo is iconic, and the company ensures it is consistently represented on all genuine products. An authentic Stratocaster will have the logo correctly spelled, properly aligned, and precisely printed or engraved on the headstock.
Key Aspects to Check:
- Font consistency
- Placement and alignment
Fender Stratocasters are known for their exceptional craftsmanship. Every aspect of a genuine Strat – from the body contouring to the neck’s smooth finish – speaks of quality.
The paint job should be flawless, and the overall finish should feel premium.
Areas to Inspect:
- Paint quality
- Finish and fittings
Hardware: The Genuine Fender Touch
Genuine Fender parts, such as tuners, bridges, and pickups, have distinctive characteristics that are hard to replicate. For example, the tuners should operate smoothly, and the bridge should be sturdy and well-aligned.
What to Look For:
- Quality and style of the tuners
- The bridge’s build and alignment
- The appearance and labeling of pickups
Sound and Playability: The Ultimate Test
The Stratocaster is celebrated for its distinctive sound and exceptional playability. A genuine Fender Strat should offer a balanced tone, versatility, and a comfortable playing experience.
While sound can be subjective, certain qualities are universally associated with Stratocasters, such as their clear, bell-like tones and smooth playability.
- Tone quality
- Neck comfort
- Overall playability
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