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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Fender Stratocaster American Standard



Sep 17th, 2016 11:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

I recently purchased a 2011 Model of an american standard. I recently found out that it has a poly finish. I always thought that all american made Fenders were nitro.
In terms of build quality, what makes an american standard better than a mexican standard?

I've owned them all, even custom shop models, but never a standard. I was just surprised it's not a nitro finish.


San Clemente, CA

Happy Sunsets, tahitijack
Sep 17th, 2016 12:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

Why does this bother you so much?



Sep 17th, 2016 12:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

I never said it bothers me. Why do you respond in such a way? It's just a question.

I just always thought poly was used on "cheaper" models.

My point is what do you get from an american standard that differs from the mexican standard? It's not even nitro.... just like a mexi standard. So with the exception of the pickups what makes it a "better built" instrument?
I always thought nitro was higher end. So I'm surprised that Fender does not use it on there standard american models since they are a higher end guitar compared to a $500 mexi strat.

(This message was last edited by Frus500 at 02:44 PM, Sep 17th, 2016)

Contributing Member

Seattle, Wa

Not quite my tempo
Sep 17th, 2016 12:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

Just to try to clarify, Fender started using poly finishes in the mid 60's and have pretty much used them since.

We didn't see Fenders with nitro finishes again until the early 80's when the AVR line started.

When the Fender Custom Shop started in the late 80's more nitro finished guitars began to appear and they were pretty much designated nitro finish.

Today, you do see some production guitars with nitro but again, they are advertised as having such.

The difference between American and MIM Standards? You'll most likely find a better build (fret job and fret quality), better woods and better electronics with the American standard. That's about it.

You can find books on all of this stuff or just go to Fender's website and check the specs for each guitar.

(This message was last edited by urby at 02:49 PM, Sep 17th, 2016)

Contributing Member

Santee CA

Poser extraordinaire
Sep 17th, 2016 12:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

To my knowledge American Standard (& Series) have always been poly.

I've owned several nitro finished Fenders including a couple of Custom Shops. The 2 best and most solid sounding are my 2 poly finished Strats.

The American Standards, generally speaking, come with better quality accessories including tuners, pots, trem. I very much prefer the Amer Standard 2 point trem to pretty much any MIM trem. There's also something special about the neck of the Amer Standards, at least to me.

That said the higher end MIMs including the JV Strat and the Baja Teles are very nice quality axes, right up there with the American Standards.



Sep 17th, 2016 12:57 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks. You guys answered my question. Wow you mean to tell me that, for example, a 1969 Stratocaster is poly finished!

I once owned a classic 60's strat and I thought it was a very good, high quality guitar.

(This message was last edited by Frus500 at 03:00 PM, Sep 17th, 2016)

Contributing Member

Seattle, Wa

Not quite my tempo
Sep 17th, 2016 01:00 PM   Edit   Profile  

I once owned a 1970 Strat and yes, it had a polyurithane finish.

Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

Sep 17th, 2016 01:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

An "American Standard" model designation denotes 1987 or later.

Contributing Member

Seattle, Wa

Not quite my tempo
Sep 17th, 2016 01:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

"I once owned a classic 60's strat and I thought it was a very good, high quality guitar."

I'm sure that it was. Likewise on my MIM 60's Classic Tele. I'd gig that guitar stock any day.

Contributing Member

Oceanside, CA

Sep 17th, 2016 02:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have a '93 American Standard that is my main guitar. What kind of finish it has never was a concern. It has held up great what ever it is.

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Sep 17th, 2016 05:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've had both nitro and poly finished guitars. My #1 is a poly finished guitar. It is far-and-away the best sounding Strat I've ever played. And, yes...Fenders have been poly for a very long time; except of course for those axes that were designed to mimic the truly old, vintage stuff. And like mentioned above, that fact was advertised as part of the mojo for these special issue guitars. But ultimately, it makes no difference for the tonal thing. Just take a look at PRS guitars. So many folks think they're the best guitars around (maybe yes...maybe no). They are poly finished guitars, too.

Poly, nitro, whatever. It's how they sound and play that is the bottom line. Sometimes that'll be a nitro guitar and sometimes it'll be a poly guitar. Guitars are variable creations and are rarely the sum of their parts, etc.

Edited for spelling

(This message was last edited by stratcowboy at 11:28 PM, Sep 17th, 2016)

Contributing Member


Home of the Goodyear blimp
Sep 18th, 2016 05:33 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have had poly strats and nitro. I prefer nitro, but it has nothing to do with anything other than how they feel. Most of my poly strats were awesome guitars. To me the only differences between MIM and MIA Standards is the hardware is a little better in the MIA .

Modal Magic

MBJ, Highway Hound.

You Can't Bend It Aussie!
Sep 18th, 2016 12:37 PM   Edit   Profile  

From my experience, and American Standards are my all time favourite Strat, there is little difference in gross quality between them and Mexican Standards, especially those built from 2006 on; it's the miniature that splits 'em. The pots and switches are the same, MexStds are factory fitted with ceramic pups, AmStds have varied over time with regards to pups over the years but they have always being ALNICO with a slightly modern tone until fitted with the most recent, more vintage, Fat '50s. Attention to detail is generally better with AmStds overall but this can be argued on an individual basis from guitar to guitar. AmStds generally feel like they have a thinner finish compared to MexStds. The differences between sustain and resonance is generally very little between AmStds and MexStds but is definitely more consistent with AmStds.

There is obvious differences such as two-post bridge (AmStd) versus trad six-screw bridge (MexStd), staggered tuners (AmStd) versus nil stagger (MexStd), no load tone pot (AmStd), rolled finger board (AmStd but it certainly feels like rolled fingerboards on newer MexStds) and tilt-neck adjust (AmStds).

It’s alleged that MexStds are generally built with more pieces of wood than AmStds but my response is who cares. I’ve never verified it ‘cause I’ve never stripped either a MexStd or AmStd body. It’s the performance of the individual guitar that matters anyway regardless how many pieces of wood are used in the body.

I've had many MexStds and AmStds. AmStds are more consistent with quality overall and have additional features as described above. I've had some MexStds that are hard to separate from AmStd Strats when it comes to sustain, feel and resonance but generally it pays to play as many as you can before purchase. All five AmStds I have were played in the shop and gave me that wow factor straight away which isn’t consistently the case with MexStds.

Is it worth it to pay extra money for an AmStd? I believe so but if you’re willing to search there are many gem MexStds out there, especially models from 2006 on.

Edit- for clarification: I’m only talking MexStds Vs. AmStds. There are many MIM models but so often during my FDP readings a lot of folk seem to forget that and place all MIM models as the same guitar.

(This message was last edited by Modal Magic at 02:42 PM, Sep 18th, 2016)

Contributing Member

Oceanside, CA

Sep 18th, 2016 02:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

I find the biggest difference in in the neck. The American Standard is a hair wider, at least it's that way with my '93 American Standard. I've owned several MIM strats, the last one was a '12 model. I actually prefer the Chinese Squier necks over the MIM necks, but that's just me. My '93 will be buried with me.

Contributing Member

Northeast IL

Not very bright but does lack ambition
Sep 18th, 2016 10:00 PM   Edit   Profile  

champster, that's the reason I held out for an AmStd for years - that slightly wider nut width.

Contributing Member

United States

By Grabthar's Hammer, what a savings.
Sep 19th, 2016 08:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

The poly on the American Standard is polyurethane and, at least recently, has been applied as a very thin finish.

The poly on a MIM Standard is polyester and is applied as a single, thick coat.

old time fender player

United States

Sep 22nd, 2016 11:14 AM   Edit   Profile  

american guitars do not use polyester as a topcoat only an undercoat. polyurethane is used as a topcoat and is not as hard and brittle as polyester. the vintage series uses nitro.

FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Fender Stratocaster American Standard

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