Starcaster by Fender
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|"Starcaster by Fender" Stratocaster|
|Period||2001 — 2014|
|Body||basswood or agathis|
|Fretboard||Rosewood or Maple|
|Bridge||Tremolo or hardtail|
|Pickup(s)||3 single-coil, 2 single-coil + bridge humbucker or single bridge humbucker.|
|3-Tone Sunburst, Black, Purple, Torino Red, Candy Apple Red, Black Cherry burst over flame top maple, Metallic Black, Metallic Blue, Silver Burst, flat grey.|
Starcaster by Fender is a range of instruments and accessories aimed at students/beginners, marketed by the prominent guitar company Fender from the early 2000s until at least 2011. As of April 2018 no products were being marketed under this brand.
The electric guitars in this range were manufactured in the Far East and typically sold as part of a starter package with a Squier SP-10 practice amplifier (e.g. "Starcaster Strat Pack"). In 2006–2007 the Fender website identified them as being sold through Best Buy, Target, Sam's Club, and Costco outlets. Different finishes were available exclusively from each outlet, for example, 3-tone sunburst with rosewood fretboard from Best Buy, black with maple fingerboard from Target, metallic black with rosewood fingerboard and pearloid scratchplate (Model No. 0283001165) from Sam's Club. Although the range was withdrawn from the Fender website in 2007, it continued to be developed and was sold through a variety of outlets, such as BJ's Wholesale Club, Amazon.com, and Buy.com. Most of these guitars were Stratocasters but some early versions (sometimes called S1) had an arrow-shaped headstock similar to the Fender Swinger.
The typical Starcaster Strat Pack solid-body electric was fitted with 3 single coil pickups, a five-way selector switch, and a floating tremolo bridge. The neck on models up to 2011 features the large CBS headstock and may have 21 or 22 frets depending on the model. Some models have the headstock painted to match the guitar body. Later Starcaster models feature the smaller Fender headstock. The body may be basswood or agathis depending on model and year of manufacture. Other minor changes such as a lower grade tremolo were also made to bring down the cost, as well as the Starcaster being manufactured in Far Eastern countries such as China or Indonesia. The pickup cavity is routed to allow an H-S-H pickup configuration, which allows for flexibility in pickup arrangement. Although most models feature the classic Stratocaster configuration of 3 single-coil pickups, at least one uses the S-S-H pickup configuration with a humbucker in the bridge position. It is not considered a Strat copy because the Stratocaster design is owned by Fender.
Bass guitars under the Starcaster name are infrequently found; one is model no. 284800108 Fender Starcaster J-Bass guitar, based on the Fender Jazz Bass (Amazon.com, 12-Nov-2009). The Precision Bass model is much less frequently found.
The following steel-string acoustic/electric guitars have been seen under the Starcaster by Fender name:
- A single cutaway acoustic/electric guitar with solid spruce top, built-in pickup, and pre-amp. A picture of the packaging of this guitar accompanied the description of the Dreadnought version on Amazon.com, 13-Mar-2008.
- A dreadnought acoustic guitar with laminated spruce top, available also as an acoustic/electric with built-in pickup and pre-amp, and a third version adding built-in tuner, with the following details: Frets: 20; Scale length: 25.3"; Width at Nut: 1.69"; Width at heel: 2.24"; Body depth: 3.94" – 4.92" (Target.com, 13-Mar-2008)
- A 3/4 scale "Starcaster Colt" acoustic guitar (Target.com, 13-Mar-2008)
Fender also marketed a drum set under the Starcaster by Fender name. Its shells are made of hardwood. The set features a floor tom, two rack toms, a kick drum, snare, hi-hat and crash cymbals, stands, pedals, a drum chair, tuning key, and drumsticks. In the UK these were sold by Tesco and Argos.
An electronic "table-top" drum kit TT-1 model no. 0887004001 was introduced to the range in 2009, featuring 7 touch-response pads, two pedals and MIDI input and output. (Amazon.com, 12-Nov-2009)
Amplifiers and Effect pedals
In late 2007 Fender introduced a low-priced amplifier and range of effect pedals under the Starcaster by Fender name. These included a blue "Distortion/Eq" pedal, a green-yellow Chorus pedal, an orange Flanger pedal and the "Starcaster 15G" 15W amplifier.