It looks like a Strat.
It feels like a Strat.
Heck, it may even sound like a Strat.
But these guitars aren’t like your old man’s Fender Stratocaster from back in the day.
With respect to Leo Fender’s iconic design, guitar makers have turned the Stratocaster into an axe used for a variety of genres, appropriately named the Super Strat.
There are a bunch of Super Strats on the market today — each good for different playing styles and budgets. With so many options, shopping for a Super Strat can become a tad overwhelming. Lucky for you, we’ve done the homework and broken down the top Super Strats across a variety of price ranges.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be reviewing our top 10 picks for the best Super Strat guitar. For each guitar, we’ll be looking at factors such as build quality, features, playability, sound, and price to help you decide which is guitar is best for your specific needs.
Let’s get started!
What is a Super Strat Guitar?
A Super Strat is an electric guitar designed with the body of a Fender Stratocaster, but with elements — like a headstock or pickups — that set it apart from the classic Strat’s look and feel.
More specifically, Super Strats tend to be more geared toward rock and metal because they’re typically built to look more aggressive and flashy. Some include a seventh string, which is generally desired for metal music. It’s common to see a humbucker or two replace the traditional single
The Super Strat was born from heavy rock and metal music. Players like Ritchie Blackmore, Uli Jon Roth and Dave Murray were Fender Stratocaster players, but they would modify their guitars to better suit their genres. Eddie Van Halen was, by far, the biggest pioneer of the Super Strat.
Some of the top companies for Super Strats include Jackson, Charvel, Yamaha, Ibanez and Kramer. As those companies experienced success, Fender knew it had to respond. So, the company released a number of different Strat-like models from the early 1980s throughout the 2000s, including the popular Fender Contemporary Stratocaster Japan.
Even Gibson got in the Super Strat game in the early 1980s with its Gibson Victory. Only 2,000 models were ever made, making the guitars quite the collector item today.
Super Strats remain popular today. Here are the top 10 best Super Strat Guitars:
The Best Super Strat Guitars
- Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 – Editor’s Pick
- Yamaha Pacifica PAC012DLX – Best for Beginners
- Jackson Dinky Arch Top JS22 DKA – Best Under $200
- Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEMJR – Best Under $500
- Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550 – Best Under $1,000
- Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty – Premium Pick
- Sterling by Music Man JP70 – Best 7-String
- Ibanez S670QM Electric Guitar – Best Playability
- Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR-S – Best Sustain
- ESP LTD MH-1000FM EverTune – Best for Metal
Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 – Editor’s Pick
When Super Strats hit the scene hard in the early 1980s, Charvel was one of the first to produce a high-quality model — and it continues to produce some similar models of the same quality today.
The Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 is the epitome of a Super Strat. From its compound-radius fretboard to the dual Seymour Duncan humbuckers, this Strat-like guitar is built for speed and highly-technical styles, like metal.
This is certainly not an entry level guitar, but it comes with a relatively attainable price tag.
Here’s what we really like about the Pro-Mod San Dimas:
- Versatile. This guitar is packed with tone. The five-way switcher and tone knob is more capable than most guitars with similar setups. That’s thanks in part to the excellent Seymou Duncan humbuckers.
- Excellent Tremolo. The recessed Floyd Rose doesn’t disappoint as it prioritizes intonation over flare. Still, it can really allow your solos to scream.
- Comfort. As mentioned, this guitar is designed for highly-technical playing. The neck design and fretboard material allows for speed, so get ready to shred.
While this Charvel does feature jumbo frets, there are only 22 on the neck, as opposed to 24, which many Super Strats feature today.
Still, this is a very high-quality guitar that you’ll have a hard time putting down. It comes perfectly setup out of the box, the sound will blow you away, and the tone variety is unreal. You won’t be disappointed.
Yamaha Pacifica PAC012DLX – Best Super Strat for Beginners
Yamaha is known for pianos, but the instrument maker also has a nice line of entry-level Super Strats that are quite nice. That includes the Yamaha Pacifica PAC0112DLX.
The Pacifica is priced for beginners and the ultimate guitar for first-time players. Let’s look at some of the specs:
- C-shaped maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard is quite comfortable and actually allows for some nice speed while playing.
- 5-position tone blade combined with a master tone and volume knob, gives you more than enough tone options for young players to find their desired sound.
- Lightweight agathis wood body allows you to practice the day away without your arms or shoulders getting tired.
It should come as no surprise that a beginner guitar with this low of a price tag isn’t perfect. The agathis wood is a cheaper material, but some owners have reported it feels solid. Also, the Pacific doesn’t come with a case.
We really like the sunburst color of this guitar.
Many owners say this guitar plays beyond its budget. Others say it’s a great guitar to modify because it is so cheap. So, if you’re a beginner, give it a try — you certainly won’t break the bank.
Jackson Dinky Arch Top JS22 DKA – Best Super Strat Under $200
For beginners on a budget who want a Super Strat, look no further than the Jackson Dinky Arch Top JS22 DKA.
Now, don’t be confused by the arch top name — this isn’t a semi-hollow jazz box. It just means the body has a slight arch in it, as opposed to the more traditional Strats, which have flatter bodies.
This is a heavy metal rocker’s guitar thanks to its pretty impressive playability, especially for a guitar at this price point. Here are some highlights of this guitar:
- Warm tone thanks to the arched basswood body.
- Ceramic humbuckers actually have a lot of output, although clarity can be an issue at those higher volumes.
- Beautiful color. The metallic blue finish is really nice and will stand out in a crowd.
From the brand’s most entry-level guitars to its custom shop pieces, Jackson has always been known for producing guitars that play fast. The Dinky’s speed comes from its 12”-16” compound radius fretboard. It fits different sized hands like a glove, allowing your fingers to travel up and down the fretboard.
Now, for a guitar in this price range, it’s not going to be perfect. The two-point tremolo tailpiece isn’t the best when it comes to tonality and the basswood body isn’t as resonant as higher quality woods, but this is a guitar clearly designed for a beginner. If you’re looking to get into playing the guitar, the Jackson JS22 Dinky is a great option — especially if you love rock and metal music.
Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEMJR – Best Super Strat Under $500
When it comes to Super Strat players, one of the most iconic is Steve Vai. In addition to his solo guitar, Vai has played with the best, including Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth and Ozzy Osbourne.
His signature model — the Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEMJR — is a favorite among owners because of its affordable price, fun design (you can’t miss the monkey grip handle!), and the great sounding pickup setup.
The pickups on this Ibanez Steve Vai signature model make it a favorite among rock players. It starts with a pair of Quantum humbuckers, with a Quantum single-coil pickup in the middle. You can use the five way switch plus a tone knob to lock in the tone you desire.
While Vai is known for his rock sounds, this guitar packs plenty of soul that can be used for other genres. The pickups deliver crisp clean tones, even when the volume is cranked up.
The Quantum pickups also do a great job for those more advanced players who incorporate harmonics into their playing.
There’s a lot to like about this JEMJR, including…
- Fast neck. The Wizard III neck is great for ultra-fast playing. You wouldn’t expect anything less with Steve Vai’s name on this guitar.
- Great tonality. The double-locking bridge helps keep everything in tune — even with those solos that you bend to the moon.
- Beautiful design. Sure, the monkey grip handle looks cool, but the plant inlays on the neck really make this guitar look incredible.
For some reason, Ibanez doesn’t include a case with this guitar. You’ll probably want to add a hardshell case to protect it, which could run you an extra $125-$200.
Read our full guide on the Best Ibanez Electric Guitars
Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550 – Best Super Strat Under $1,000
Make sure to bring your sunglasses with you when you pull the Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550 out of its case. The desert sun yellow guitar certainly stands out in a crowd thanks to its super bright color, but it’s the guitar’s tone and playability that set it apart from other Super Strats on the market.
This guitar first appeared in 1987 and was quickly accepted by the rock and metal community — mostly due its easy playability for fast soloing. It has seen a number of updates over the years that continue to make it a great guitar for more serious players.
- Contoured basswood body offers enough resonance and a really impressive mid-range tone.
- Edge locking tremolo keeps everything in tune, even on the biggest of solos.
- Black hardware matched against the super-bright paint colors is especially eye-catching.
Ibanez is known for its “Super Wizard” neck. The 1-piece neck, made of maple, is designed for super-fast runs, arpeggios and hammer-ons, which is why metal players have loved this guitar for the past 30+ years.
As expected on a Super Strat, Ibanez goes with a humbucker-single-coil-humbucker setup, which allows for great versatility when it comes to tone. While this is definitely known as a rock guitar, many owners have said they’re impressed with its clean tone, allowing you to use it for a number of genres.
This likely isn’t a guitar for beginners because of its higher price, but if you’re looking to upgrade your axe to a quality piece, you can’t go wrong with the Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550.
Check out my guide on the Best Electric Guitars Under $1,000
Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty – Best Premium Super Strat
From the basswood body and mahogany neck to its killer DiMarzio humbuckers, the Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty is the king of Super Strats and has the features (and price tag!) to prove it.
As our most expensive Super Strat on this list, Ernie Ball certainly doesn’t disappoint with this John Petrucci signature model. Being that it’s designed for the grandfather of progressive metal music, Petrucci’s model is obviously geared toward metal players. It plays fast. It looks killer. And it packs some crazy powerful pickups.
Here are some of its key specs:
- Custom tremolo. Petrucci is known for his wailing solos, which require a great tremolo that focuses first on tonality. The JP/MM piezo floating tremolo bridge easily delivers on that promise. When combined with its Schaller locking tuners, you can rest assured your strings will stay in tune for several songs in your set.
- Active preamp system. The secret to the powerful sound this guitar offers is in its electronics. Petrucci included an active preamp system to offer a push-push control for a 20 decibel gain boost over a passive coil tap. So, when you need to creep to 11, give the button a tap. This booster makes it the ultimate solo machine.
One reason for the higher price on this guitar is because of how limited it truly is. Ernie Ball only produced 89 of these guitars! Each one is hand signed by John Petrucci, which adds to its value. And the paint job looks pretty incredible. A case is included with this guitar.
Sterling by Music Man JP70 – Best 7-String Super Strat
Unless it’s a Custom Shop piece, you’re not going to find a seven-string Fender Stratocaster, which is another reason why Super Strats are so popular.
And the Sterling by Music Man JP70 is one of the best seven-string Super Strats on the market today.
Like the Ernie Ball guitar above, this seven string model is also designed by metal legend John Petrucci. It’s packed with high-octane pickups and a ton of tone versatility.
Here’s what we really like about the Music Man JP70:
- Lightweight. The neck is slightly wider to accommodate seven strings, but this guitar as a whole is super lightweight, which makes it a treat to play.
- Price. For a seven string guitar, this is a great deal. It’s priced slightly above what’s considered entry level, but it’s certainly attainable for players who want to dabble with a seventh string.
- Neck. It’s nice and slippery, but has enough grip for fast playing.
We also like how the matte finish on the body doesn’t stick to your arms, which is relatively common.
The tremolo system, unfortunately, isn’t the best, and can throw your guitar out of tune pretty quickly. If you’re not a big whammy bar player, you should be fine. Some owners have replaced the tuners on the guitar to enhance its tonality.
Still, this is a very solid guitar. If you’re interested in learning to play a seven string guitar, you can’t go wrong with this Super Strat.
Check out my full guide on the Best 7-String Electric Guitars
Ibanez S670QM Electric Guitar – Best Playability Super Strat
The Ibanez S670QM is shred-tastic. As one of the most playable Super Strats on our list, it’s incredibly fast, making it a great option for rock players.
All Ibanez Super Strats (and there are a few on this list!) feature incredible necks, but the S670QM might just top them all. The Wizard III neck is Ibanez’s fastest to date. The three piece maple neck is even slimmer than its predecessor and comes with a fretboard that allows for lightning-fast runs — so start practicing those arpeggios!
Ibanez packed a trip of Quantum pickups — two humbuckers plus a single-coil in the middle — that come with some pretty incredible tone. The humbuckers can produce a really fat sound, that’s versatile enough for rock or blues. The single-coil offers an impressive midrange output with plenty of clarity.
When you have a paint color called “Dragon Eye Burst,” it better look pretty sweet. Thankfully, this Ibanez delivers on its good looks. The pictures don’t do it justice. This one is a stunner.
This guitar is a step ahead of an entry level model and is the perfect upgrade for a player with a couple years of experience under their belt and who are going to stick with the guitar. It’s going to be a very nice upgrade above entry level models, especially from a tone standpoint. But it’s simply going to feel way more professional.
Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR-S – Super Strat with Best Sustain
Schecter is known for making incredible metal guitars and the Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR-s doesn’t disappoint.
We believe it’s the Super Strat with the best possible sustain, which is critically important in rock and metal music — especially for those face melting solos.
This sinister-looking guitar packs a punch. Here’s what we like best about it:
- Quilted maple top. Choose from black cherry or glass black. Both look absolutely stunning.
- Pickups. The sustain on this guitar unplugged is quite impressive, but the Sustainiac neck humbucker literally lets you hold a note for days. And that’s not an exaggeration! The electromagnetic feedback lets you carry your tone as long as you desire.
- Floyd Rose tailpiece. With this much sustain, you’ll want your solos to scream. Don’t worry about anything else going out of tune with the Floyd Rose 1000 Series bridge and tailpiece.
Many owners of this guitar appreciate how great it comes setup out of the box. Unfortunately, that’s the only case it comes in, so you’ll need to pick up a gig bag with this axe.
With a name like Hellraiser, this is obviously a guitar for metal players. It’s a great Super Strat that won’t disappoint in the practice room or on stage.
ESP LTD MH-1000FM EverTune – Best Super Strat for Metal
As you can probably tell, Super Strats are primarily geared toward metal and rock players. When it comes to Super Strats for metal, our top pick is the ESP LTD MH-1000FM EverTune.
What makes this such a great guitar for metal players? Let us explain:
- Warm tone. Made of mahogany, this axe delivers that lovely warm tone desired by not only rockers, but also blues and pop players.
- Fast neck. The three piece maple neck and ebony fretboard is really comfortable, allowing for lightning fast licks.
- Deep double cutaway. You won’t have any trouble reaching the 24th fret on this guitar.
Tonality is a big focus of this guitar. The intonation is extremely accurate and constant bending of your strings won’t have a big impact on the tuning of those strings.
Now, this is a more premium guitar designed for advanced players with bigger budgets. Not everyone will be able to afford this guitar today, but it’s certainly attainable if you save.
And if you’re in that camp and really want a high quality guitar for playing metal, you should set a goal to buy it.
The see through black color looks great, but we wish there were a few other color options.
Check out my full guide on the Best Electric Guitars for Metal
How to Choose The Best Super Strat Guitar – Buyer’s Guide
There are a number of elements you can take into account when shopping for a Super Strat. Use this mini buyer’s guide to make the best-informed purchase.
Materials & Build Quality
Obviously, you want a guitar that feels like a quality instrument and can hold up against daily practices and occasional performances if you play in a band.
Here are some quality materials to look for in your guitar:
- Mahogany. You can’t go wrong with a mahogany body. It’s a super-tough wood that not only feels high quality, but also sounds great. Mahogany wood gives your guitar a nice warm sound, but also can give that deep, bassy feel that metal players desire.
- Basswood. Similar to mahogany, basswood bodies offer similar build quality and tone, but often at a more affordable price.
More affordable Super Strats are going to be made using cheaper wood, like agathis. It’s a little lighter weight, but may not pack as good of a tone.
In terms of other hardware, look for name brand tremolos, like Floyd Rose, and locking tuners. That higher quality hardware helps with intonation and simply feels more solid on your guitar.
There technically isn’t a right or wrong pickup setup for Super Strats, but there are certainly some trends for guitar makers today.
Remember, a traditional Fender Stratocaster features three single-coil pickups for that clean, plucky sound. Super Strats take things up a notch.
Most Super Strats on the market today combine one single-coil pickup in the middle with two humbuckers — one on the bridge and the other on the nut. This setup offers versatility and power as humbuckers tend to have more output than single coils.
Switches can allow you to activate different combinations of those pickups.
Playability is important no matter what style guitar you want to purchase. You want something that plays comfortably and, depending on which genre you prefer, quickly.
Many Super Strats are designed for metal and rock players who crave speed, which makes playability really important. Thankfully, the Strat’s double cutaway design allows for easy access to all frets on the fingerboard.
In terms of playability, look for things like slim necks, which allow you to easily wrap your hand into different chord shapes and walk up and down the fingerboard.
Weight also plays a factor in playability. Mahogany guitars, for instance, sound great, but they tend to be on the heavier side. A heavy guitar after a while can become cumbersome to play.
Number of Frets
A traditional Fender Stratocaster features 21 frets, so it should come as no surprise that Super Strats take this to the next level.
Many Super Strats will feature 24 frets, allowing players to hit higher notes for their screaming solos. Again, Super Strats are designed for rockers who need those higher notes.
More frets can mean intonation issues, especially on the more affordable Super Strats. But higher quality guitars can handle the slightly longer neck.
You don’t necessarily need a Super Strat with 24 frets, but guitar makers — many who have been influenced by popular players — have determined it’s a popular option.
Read Also: How Many Frets are on a Guitar?
Price is always a big topic of debate for guitar players.
First, a $1,000 guitar doesn’t sound good if you don’t know how to play it. Likewise, a great player can make a $200 guitar sound great. So, how much should you spend on a Super Strat?
We always recommend spending what you can afford. If you’re new to learning guitar, keep your first purchase on the lower end in case you lose interest. If you’ve been playing for several years and want to upgrade, don’t be afraid to spend several hundred dollars, or even eclipse that $1,000 price tag.
More expensive Super Strats obviously sound great if you know what you’re doing on it, but scaling back in price can allow you to purchase other guitar-related items, like amps or pedals, that can take your music to new levels.
Read Also: How Much Does an Electric Guitar Cost?
Recap of the Best Super Strat Guitars
|Super Strat Guitar||Award|
|Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1||Editor’s Pick|
|Yamaha Pacifica PAC012DLX||Best for Beginners|
|Jackson Dinky Arch Top JS22 DKA||Best Under $200|
|Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEMJR||Best Under $500|
|Ibanez Genesis Collection RG550||Best Under $1,000|
|Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty||Premium Pick|
|Sterling by Music Man JP70||Best 7-String|
|Ibanez S670QM Electric Guitar||Best Playability|
|Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR-S||Best Sustain|
|ESP LTD MH-1000FM EverTune||Best for Metal|
While we’ve identified some of the top Super Strats on the market today, purchasing one comes down to personal preference. Thankfully, shops like Sweetwater allow you to try out guitars risk free to see if it’s a good fit or not. We recommend going that route if you’re stuck between one or two guitars you really like.
If you love rock music — and especially metal — and want a comfortable guitar that looks cool and sounds even better, you can’t go wrong with a Super Strat. If you’re someone who wants more of a traditional Stratocaster design, be sure to check out our full guide on the Best Stratocaster Style Copy Guitars.