The Fender Stratocaster Handbook - 175 Pages Hardcover

If you own a Fender Stratocaster guitar, or you know someone who does,
this Fender Stratocaster Handbook is a must have. This is an Everything Guide to the famous Strat, covering a wide variety of topics including: selecting and purchasing, maintenance, setting up your guitar, how to troubleshoot, and how to make modifications. This is an entire 175 page book dedicated to a single guitar model! This allows you to really get into detail about your Strat.

Step By Step Through The Strat Handbook - What, exactly, do you get in terms of information in this book? What specific topics are covered here? Let's take a step by step look at what topics are presented in the pages of the Stratocaster Handbook:
  1. Introduction
  2. - Up at the front of the book is a forwar and introduction. An exploded view of a typical Fender Stratocaster is shown over 2 pages with all of the 150 individual parts shown, named, and explained. There's a part on buying a Stratocaster, explaining your myriad choices: American series, Custom Shop, Relics, Squires, Vintage Reissue, and Signature Series. The author talks about buying a used Strat, how to assess the guitar's condition, and how to verify that it's an authentic Fender Stratocaster.

  3. Vintage Strat and American Series
  4. - Next you find sections dedicated to these 2 famous Stratocaster types of guitars. They spend a few pages giving you some close up pictures of the identifying features of these guitar models. All parts of the guitar are talked about: necks, body, pickguard, volume and tone controls, pickup selector switch, string guides, tremolo / vibrato, machine tuners, etc. You'll find out exactly what makes a Strat a Strat, and you'll find it out in great detail.

  5. Set Up and Tuning
  6. The next section is called Setting up and tuning. This section starts with the assumption that a properly set up inexpensive Squire guitar is much better for playing than a improperly set up expensive Custom Shop Strat. And they proceed with giving you step by step illustrated instructions on how to set up the Stratocaster. They begin with bridge adjustment, noting how the Strat lets you set the individual string height and length with the adjustments on the bridge. Numbered, step-by-step instructions with a lot of color photos are provided.

    Other set up / modification items that are covered and taught here include neck adjustment and shimming, replacement of the tuners, doing a tremolo/vibrato alignment. They finish up with a few interesting paragraphs on the subject of Tempered Tuning and the nature of guitar tuning.

  7. Repairs Maintenance and Adjustments
  8. - Next up in our tour of the Stratocaster Handbook is the section called Repairs, maintenance, and adjustments.

    A Modern Book
    This is a modern, up to date, book, with a lot of close-up, color photos of the Stratocaster guitars. As you flip through the pages of the book, you see a lot of easy to grasp bullet point lists, small boxes with chunks of tech-tip information, and some occasional block text - boxes of some related or background information about the current subject in the chapter.

    The point is that this is a fun book to read and use. When they are explaining how to do some repair or modification, the steps of the procedure are clearly marked with large numbers - procedures given in easy to follow steps.

  9. Repairs, Maintenance, and Adjustments
  10. - Next section is on repairing, adjusting, and maintaining your Strat. They do a nice job of introducing us to the necessary tools for fixing and taking care of a guitar. There's a bullet list of all the tools along with a sentence or 2 of describing the tools. There's a section on what an essential gig bag ought to contain. Maintaining a guitar by keeping the moving parts lubricated, keeping the body of the guitar clean and polished. Advice above when to do the job yourself and when you might want to call in an expert.

    This chapter also has a practical section on stageside repairs. Could get you out of a jam when you have problems at a gig. There's a section on the checks to perform every 3 months. The best way to re-string your guitar. Inspecting all the different parts of the guitar for any problems that might be cropping up. Taking care of rattle and hum / grounding / induction issues. Paint and lacquer repair. Pickup replacement, pickup height setting, volume and tone controls, nut adjustment, re-wiring the pickup selector switch, truss rod adjustment.

  11. Specific Guitar Case Studies
  12. - This section goes through several specific Stratocaster models and talks about what happens to them as they are used, and what remedies you can use to get them into great playing condition.

  13. Key Strat Players
  14. - Towards the back of the book is a cool section that talks about famous Fender Stratocaster players. Talk about the players approach to music and to guitars. How they get their sound, what kind of gear they like to use. There is a list of interview questions with the person at Fender Custom Shop who makes Jeff Beck's guitars. Other players who are discussed here include Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Buddy Holly. This section is very interesting and inspiring reading.

Then the book finishes up with an appendix and glossary section and index. Appendix info includes technical details of Strat parts like nut widths, screw sizes, pickup outputs, neck profiles, wood types, and serial numbers.

Any Fender Stratocaster owner would love this book. It's a great read, and after you've read it, it's a great reference book to have for maintenance and repair of your prized guitar.