Bookreview: The Fender Stratocaster handbook by Paul Balmer

For this article a review for the Stratocaster handbook.

Here is a link to the book:

  For Who is this book?:

For anyone interested in Fender guitars and the Stratocaster in particular. Anyone who wants to educated themselves more on the subject of Strats, including beginners and advanced guitar players.

For the naked eye the Stratocaster has not changed much since they first started to come out  in 1954 and it is here where one of the problems starts when you want to buy a Stratocaster today: What do I look for, How do I know if this is a real Strat if you are dealing with a vintage guitar. What makes one Stratocaster different from the other? What about the different models throughout Fenders history? Do they still produce some of these guitars today?

People interested in buying Strats will search the net, and yes there are a handful of great sites to browse through, but most of them have a similar issue: You have to read a lot, look at a lot of guitars to get to know what the early Strats look like, where they differ from the Strats of the 60s, 70s and early 1980s.
With this book you have it all covered between these pages as the book deals with: What to look out for when you buy a second hand Strat, it provides serial numbers at the back of the book, goes into details about Japanese, Chinese and Mexican Strats. There are casestudies where you can learn in detail what a  U.S.A Custom Shop  1954 Strat looks like.
Is it only about those Vintage models, which are usually quite expansive? No, there are also casestudies about budget models and what you can do to make these guitars play-and sound great.

There is a chapter about how to set-up your Strat, how to maintain it and what kind of adjustments you can make to get it to sound-and play better.
Last but not least there is a chapter devoted to well-known Strat players where you learn how Mark Knopfler has his guitar set-up or what makes Blackie (Eric Clapton’s main Strat for a while) so special.

True you need to be crazy about Fenders and Strats in particular to enjoy this book, but then which guitarplayer isn’t?, since the Strat is a fabulous guitar, there are quite a few copies and hot-rodded look-a-like guitars out there, but still the Strat is probably the best out of all of those.

Enjoy and hope to see you again very soon.