Fender Starcaster Review – 2020 Overview

Craig
| Last Updated: February 24, 2021

You don’t have to be a guitar aficionado to know the name Fender. It is a well-known, quality guitar that has been around for decades.

The Starcaster electric guitar is one of their many lines that offers a guitarist great sound at a reasonable price. While many are aware of the acoustic guitars made by Fender, their electric line of guitars is outstanding as well.

This Fender electric guitar is perfect for adventurous guitarists who are starting out, or any musician who needs a good back-up guitar.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Comes with the Offset semi-hollow body design
  • Also has the vintage gloss neck finish
  • All hardware are nickel plated fro better display
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Squier by Fender Classic Vibe Starcaster - Maple Fingerboard - Walut

PROS

  • Value
  • Sound
  • Design
  • Good for Beginners

CONS

  • Frets
  • Tuning

Starcaster Acoustic Specs 

The Starcaster is made in Mexico and is a great beginner guitar. Here are some of its specs:

  • Body Size and Type: Electric but Starcasters are also acoustic as well.
  • Number and Type of Strings: 6 strings of Nickel Steel
  • Tonewood: Full-size Basswood body
  • Orientation (left or right hand): Right Handed
  • Neck Size: Maple neck
  • Action: Fast
  • Scale Length: Scale length is 25.5”
  • Color: Walnut
  • Weight: 22.6 lbs
  • Pickup Type: Pickup has Fender Wide Range Humbucking
  • Bridge: Standard fulcrum tremolo bridge.
  • Tuner: Die-cast chrome tuners·  

Pros of a Fender Starcaster Guitar

There are always pros to purchasing a Fender guitar, as there are with this one. Each line of their guitars has different aspects that should be looked at. This is especially important when you are just learning to play. Purchasing a guitar that is going to make playing enjoyable is important.

Good Value

This guitar offers good value. The sound is clear and unlike other models of Fender, you usually can find a bundle of accessories to go with it at no extra cost.  You will get a good guitar with a Squier SP-10 amp, cord, strap, DVD, extra strings, tuner, gig bag, and picks. While the price may seem a bit high, you won’t find a guitar of similar quality anywhere near the price range.

Good for Beginners

The price and the starter pack are great for beginners. This guitar is straightforward and will give you good action and sound without a lot of fuss. It's not the same sound as a $1000 guitar, but you will be pleasantly surprised at how good it is. You are going to get a good guitar that will make learning easy and playing enjoyable. Learning on a good guitar means your ear becomes accustomed to a quality musical tone. This makes learning to play the basics simple.

Rich Sound

There is an assumption that starter guitars are going to have a shallow sound and lack richness. In this case that is a false assumption. This Starcaster guitar has a rich vibrant tone that is unexpected for a guitar in this price range. While it is labeled a beginner guitar, the sound has enough quality for those more advanced as well. Any guitar that carries rich tones makes playing enjoyable and can help teach beginners quality sound from a thinner one.

Quality Design

The design of this guitar is far from inexpensive-looking. It has a classic color and is highlighted with a rosewood fingerboard with nice dot inlays. This guitar has a classic style that will work for anyone that picks it up. Not over the top but classic enough to show off and look good doing playing it.

Cons of the Fender Starcaster Guitar

As with any guitar, there are going to be things that you may prefer over others. The Starcaster is no different. While it has lots of positive aspects, there are a couple of negative as well.

Rough Frets

Fender seems to have this issue with a few of its lower cost guitars. The frets can be bothersome and rough. This is not an issue with all of them but if you get one where the frets aren’t smooth then it can cause discomfort when playing. Make sure to check the guitar you are buying and play it as well if you can. Make sure your fingers are comfortable and the frets are smooth.

Frequent Tuning

Any guitar should be tuned each time you pick it up. Humidity, string age, and length of time playing it can all contribute to a sour sound. However, the Starcaster may need a little extra tuning mid-session.  Some of the guitars don’t hold the tune long enough. This can be fixed though if you are going to become a serious player. Different strings and being mindful it may be an issue shouldn’t make tuning tough to overcome.

What Are the Components of the Starcaster? 

Body

The Basswood body is a regular size thin semi-hollow offset body with a center block of alder.  

Neck

The neck is maple and “C” shape. It has a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard and dot inlay for positions. The scale length is 25.5”. It has an Adjusto-Matic bridge with an anchored tailpiece as well.

Other Components

This Starcaster has a full-voiced dual Fender Wide Range humbucking pickup with three-way toggle switching. It has a three-ply black pickguard and 4 skirted amp-style control knobs. Available in gorgeous Natural, Black, and Aged Cherry Burst gloss finishes.

What Types of Music is the Starcaster Best For?

The Starcaster can play any type of music meant for an electric guitar. The sound is rich, so it holds up on more complex pieces as well. It's good for rock, punk, jazz, and any other genres that will work with a six-string. It’s a good guitar for the musical basics, as well as strumming and back up the play.

What Ages and Skill Levels is the Fender Starcaster Suitable For?

The Fender Starcaster is designed as a beginner's guitar. But, it can be a good backup for those who are more accomplished, too. All skill levels can be competent in playing it. It's not really heavy, but it has some weight to it, so if the player is small in stature, it is wise to make sure the strap is on to avoid unintentional drops. It would be best to try it out to see if it can be played comfortably as it is certainly worth the money if it works well for you.

What Makes the Starcaster Stand Out from the Competition?

The Starcaster stands out from the competition simply because it is a good guitar that is a great price. It's rare to find a guitar in this price range that will offer the quality this one does. The fact that it comes with a whole beginner package is a bonus as well.

Competitors guitars in the same price range will have a thinner sound with reduced richness. Others tend to be constructed with less precision and lower quality material. The fact that the Starcaster often comes with accessories including a teaching DVD is great. Most guitars, including other Fenders, don’t usually offer the extras.

Comparison Overview 

Fender Starcaster vs Stratocaster  

While most Fenders are good quality some are just that much better. The Starcaster is designed as a beginner's guitar and the Stratocaster is above that. The Stratocaster has better materials and overall build quality. They use solid tonewood that makes the sound even richer. The neck is finished smoothly on a Stratocaster and the metal components such as tuning pegs and keys are high-quality metal. That being said, the Starcaster can be upgraded if desired. It is designed to use all Stratocaster parts so while it will never match the full Stratocaster quality, it can be improved upon to bring the two models closer together.

Fender Starcaster vs Squier

Both the Starcaster and Squier are deemed to be beginner guitars. They both have good sound and are reasonably priced. However, the Starcaster is somewhat cheaper when it comes to components. The Squire is a step up and is considered to be a student-grade guitar. The parts are of higher quality and can last longer when played consistently. Tuning isn’t an issue with the Squier as it is sometimes with the Starcaster. The thing with both of these guitars is that their components can often be upgraded to higher quality Fender parts. As you progress as a musician, you can decide which parts are going to give you the sound you want.

How to Change Strings on a Fender Starcaster

When you are starting out, learning how to change strings is a must. Swapping out strings isn’t just about quality but about sound. No one wants to have to go to the music store every time a string breaks. Below are the steps to changing strings on a Starcaster. Be sure to refer to the video below for a full overview of what is being described.

1. Get wire clippers, string winder, and Fender strings

2. Loosen the tension of the strings with the string winder. This is a safety thing, so the strings don’t jump back when they are clipped.

3. Clip the strings with the clippers.

4. Unwind them from the pegs and discard.

5. Flip guitar to remove the backplate and get access to the bridge

6. Pull strings out and flip guitar back over

7. Clean fretboard if needed.

8. Feed strings through the back.

9. Attach strings to machine heads.

10.  Make sure just to measure up to heads for string length. You don’t want too much on the peg.

11.  Feed the thread through the machine head hole. Then use string winder.

12.  Trim the strings.

13.  Tune it up to pitch and get playing.

Conclusion 

The Fender Starcaster guitar is a good instrument to learn on or use as your back-up instrument. While it is not the same quality as an expensive guitar, it is surprisingly good in both make and sound. It comes with some good accessories to get you on the road to play some tunes.

People Also Ask

There are always going to be some extra questions that come up as you do your research on which guitar is right for you. It is best to ask everything you are curious about so when you make your purchase you feel confident in your choice.

Is the Fender Starcaster Hard to Play?

No. When you are first learning to play guitar, it will seem awkward. Your hands have to get used to the fretboard and positions.  The guitar itself is easy to play once you have done some practicing.

How to Care for a Starcaster Guitar

A light dusting never hurts a guitar and keeping in a case when traveling is important. The fretboard can be cleaned when the strings are off, and you have easy access to it. Wash your hands before playing to reduce oil build-up.

How Much is a Fender Starcaster Worth?

The newer models are much cheaper than the 1970 originals. The ones from the ’70s may be worth over $1000, whereas the new ones are resold at around $150 US.

Who Plays a Fender Starcaster?

The newer models are more targeted at beginners but the ones from the 1970s are played by guitarists such as Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead. Sammy James Jr of Mooney Suzuki plays one as well.

How Much is a Fender Starcaster? 

The new ones range anywhere from $100-$400USD depending on the dealer. They are also available in resale markets for less.

What is a Starcaster Guitar?

A Starcaster guitar is one of Fender’s beginner guitars. Some older models are of higher quality, but the current make offers a good sound for a reasonable price.

Craig

Hi there, my name is Craig. I took over Gear Savvy in mid-2019 and have had a blast writing content about music ever since. My role here is to steer the ship and ensure readers have the best information available for learning a thing or two. When I’m not working on content, I’m a husband and a dad. I enjoy spending time with my family, playing guitar, or messing around in my woodshop.