Why Are Fender Stratocasters So Expensive?

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Written By Sarah Barlow

Chief Music Officer

Fender Stratocasters are one of the most phenomenal electric guitars ever created. It comes in a wide range of models and series to ensure that they suit all players of any skill level. Fender always ensures that you only get the greatest quality, regardless of the guitar’s cost. 

However, you will need to increase your budget if you want to play higher-model guitars. For instance, versions like the American Original ’60s and Signature models will run you about $1500. Although it may not be a reasonable price for you, these guitars are made from the best materials and feature the most precise details and innovative technology.

Factors That Made Fender Stratocasters Expensive:

Brand And Reputation

Due to the quality and detail-oriented approach of their products, Fender is undoubtedly one of the most reliable and well-known manufacturers of electric guitars. The company’s connections to various outstanding and renowned musicians have indeed played a role in its journey to fame. It is evident from artists’ consistent use of Fender guitars throughout recordings and performances that Fender is dedicated to providing its users with top-notch quality so you always get your money’s worth.

Aspiring musicians would usually want to play the same instruments their favorite artists use in their songs. Regardless if you’re familiar with the features and specifications of an instrument, seeing a well-known artist endorse a particular brand instills in your mind confidence and reliability. Fender guitars have earned a reputation as the best of the best over the years, thanks to the endorsement and use by world-class musicians.

Vintage Series And Versions

The most expensive Stratocasters available today are mostly vintage and classic models. They sometimes cost six times more than an entry-leveled Stratocaster. For instance, a Fender Player Stratocaster HSS only costs $879.99 (SRP) while a Fender Custom 60s Stratocaster is now worth at least $6,000. 

A Stratocaster must be at least 30 years old or older to qualify as vintage or classic. The rarity of these guitars and their pristine condition is what increases their value. 

A true vintage and classic guitar is still the stock version. However, repaired or refurbished Stratocasters may also be considered a true vintage guitar only if the replacement parts are genuine and match the guitar’s year model. The only downside is that repaired versions don’t cost as much as stock vintage ones. Vintage and Classic Stratocasters that are stock, have unblemished finish and have all original parts increase their overall value. Collectors would spend thousands of dollars for true vintage and classic Stratocaster models due to their rarity.

Materials Used For Manufacturing

Stratocasters are valued due to the performance and features they provide, and this very reason makes it important for manufacturers to ensure that every feature functions smoothly. However, many factors can contribute to the deterioration of your Stratocasters. In order to retain its value, it is essential to replace damaged and malfunctioning components with only genuine Fender parts that match your Stratocaster model. For modern models, looking for replacement parts is easy especially due to their high production. On the contrary, vintage and classic model parts may be difficult to find due to their rarity and expensive cost.

Do Stratocasters Increase In Value?

Fender Stratocasters do, in fact, increase in value, but this mainly applies to vintage models. Since Fender has been creating so many new models and has recently been reissuing vintage models, not all Stratocaster models increase in value. If your Stratocaster is a rare, vintage (older than 30 years), fully functional, perfectly preserved instrument that hasn’t been reissued by Fender, its value will skyrocket. This is especially true if collectors are interested and are in demand for the particular model you own.  

A Stratocaster, like any other instrument, increases in value if it was built especially for a charity or notable cause, or if a prominent artist played it during their career.

You shouldn’t be concerned, though, if the Stratocaster you own isn’t unique and was reissued because they will still retain their monetary value. This is primarily because of the business’s success, which makes genuine components very accessible to its users, and the process of restoring and renewing your Stratocaster becomes easier. This is one of the key elements that contribute to Fender’s reputation as one of the most reliable and well-known manufacturers of electric guitars.

Here is a list of some of the most expensive Stratocasters sold years after their release:

ModelRelease DateDate Sold Price sold
“Reach Out To Asia” Fender Stratocaster2004/20052015$2,700,000
Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 Fender Stratocaster19681998$2,000,000
Bob Dylan’s “Newport Folk Festival” 1964 Fender Stratocaster19642013$965,000
Eric Clapton’s “Blackie”19852004$959,000