Fender, being one of the oldest names in the electric guitar market, started at a time when aftermarket and third party parts and components weren’t exactly widely available. When Leo first started mass producing the Broadcaster, he needed to make every component himself. This philosophy has prevailed with the Fender brand, and to this day everything up to and including the strings is made by Fender.
In this KillerGuitarRigs guide, we’ll be learning about the strings that Fender equip their guitars with, from budget Squier models through to premium US made examples. if you’re interested in branching out, you can also check out our favorite strings for strats of all kinds.
Fender’s more affordable cousin has a wide range of different guitars using different strings. Let’s walk through the options.
The Bullet Stratocaster is the entry level model in the Stratocaster family. It’s often bundled in starter kits and is aimed squarely at first time players or beginners looking for something a little better than the typical department store guitar. One of the most surprising features of these guitars is that they ship with a set of Fender USA 250L Nickel Plated Steel strings. The standard gauge is .009 to .042, which is the ideal setup for new players.
The Affinity Strat is the next step up from the Bullet. Also aimed at the new player, the Affinity does offer a slightly superior fit and finish as well as some component upgrades over the Bullet series. These guitars ship with Fender’s Super 250’s Nickel Plated Steel strings in .009-.042.
Classic Vibe Stratocaster
Classic Vibe Stratocasters are Squier’s flagship model. These guitars are comparable to MIM models and are aimed at intermediate to advanced players as well as working musicians. They are built to match the specifications of different ages of classic Fender Strats from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Each of these models are equipped from the factory with Fender 250L Nickel Plated Steel Strings, in a light .009 to .042 gauge.
The Bullet Telecaster is the starting point in the world of Teles. Like the Bullet Strats, they’re targeted towards new and novice players. They are fitted with 9 gauge (.009-.042) Fender Nickel Plated Steel Strings, which are perfect for the Telecaster “twang”.
Affinity Telecasters are a great choice for both the improving guitarist, and the new guitarist looking for a guitar to grow into. For comfort and playability, they ship from the factory with a set of Nickel Plated Steel Fender strings in .009 to .042 gauge.
Classic Vibe Telecaster
If you’re looking for a full size Telecaster without the full Fender price, the Classic Vibe series is the go-to line. These guitars are designed to authentic specifications from some of Fender’s most popular Telecaster models from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, including the legendary Thinline models.
The Classic Vibe series models ship on Fender Super 250L Nickel Plated Steel strings, which provide a great blend of tone, comfort, and durability. Like the rest of the Squier range, the strings are .009 gauge and at the 1st string, and .042 at the 6th.
Fender Made in Mexico (MIM)
Whether you absolutely must have Fender written on your headstock, or you’re looking for a road warrior guitar, MIM Stratocasters are a great option.
Components on these models are compatible with US models, making them ideal platforms for modification. From the Factory, Mexican made Stratocasters are fitted with Fender USA spec 250L Nickel Plated steel strings in 9 gauge (.009-.042).
Mexican made Telecasters are available in a wide array of options, from the base Player Series models through to special edition Artist models. Standard Mexican Telecasters ship with .009 to .042 gauge Fender USA spec 250L Nickel Plated steel strings.
Some of the models built to artist’s specifications offer different strings, for example, the Jason Isbell Custom, and Jimmy Page Telecaster models are equipped with a set of Fender USA 250R Nickel Plated Steel strings in .010-.046 gauge.
Fender Made in USA
The American made Fender Stratocaster is arguably the most iconic guitar in music history – the standard by which all other guitars are judged. USA made models are as varied as the players who purchase them, meaning hardware and consumables like strings change between the various series.
The entry level USA model, the American Performer is designed for working musicians looking for something special, but not so much so that they’ll be afraid to gig it. For maximum flexibility, they are equipped with Fender’s USA made 250L Nickel Plated Steel strings in .009 to .042 gauge. Models more focused on heavy styles like metal, the Jim Root Strat, for example, ship with Fender USA 250R Nickel Plated strings in .010 to .046.
Telecasters are often typecast as country guitars, but in reality, they’ve appeared in almost every genre of guitar driven music, making them one of the most dynamic and well-loved guitars around.
USA made Telecasters, like other Corona CA models, start with the American Performer series. These guitars are designed for guitarists of all styles and ability levels, and ship with light gauge Fender USA 250L .009 to .042 strings. If you’re looking for an Artist Edition, for example, the Jimmy Page Mirror Telecaster, you’ll find that it comes equipped to the artists specifications, which in this case is Fender USA 250R .010-.046 gauge.
Final Thoughts on Which Strings Come on Fender Guitars
Fender’s lineup is one of the biggest of any guitar manufacturer.
While the number of unique models they make isn’t huge, the number of variants on those models is bigger than almost any other brand, and yet, you may have noticed that Fender USA 250L Nickel Plated Steel strings are extremely commonplace in their lineup.
As mentioned a few times during this guide, this gauge and material combo provides a bright, punchy tone, together with excellent comfort and playability.
It’s clear that Fender’s aim with this selection is to make guitars that appeal to the biggest possible demographic, while recognizing that strings are generally a personal choice, and of course, players can, and do change to different string gauges, coatings and alloys based upon their preferences all the time.
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