An affordable and decent Strat-style guitar that may be better suited as base for DIY modders or up and coming guitar techs.
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Overview & Final Score: 6.6
The Stadium NY Strat-style guitar is an overseas copy of Fender’s iconic Stratocaster design. These off-brand Strats feature Alder bodies with a gloss finish and come in a variety of finish colors. A bolt-on Maple neck is fitted with a Rosewood fretboard featuring 22 medium-jumbo frets. Dot inlays guide your hands along the 25.5″ scale length, all pretty standard for a Stratocaster guitar. Three single coil pickups, a 5-way selector switch, master volume, and two tones allow for control of your Stadium NY’s sounds. Chrome hardware, like the vintage style tremolo and die cast tuners sit atop the body, which has standard string-through-body construction. Like most affordable guitars, the only extras you get with the Stadium NY are Allen wrenches and a guitar cable.
Wow, I’m impressed with the sound, especially because I was not impressed with anything besides the finish before I plugged it in. The sound of this Stadium NY Strat actually feels better than any Squier Affinity Strat I’ve played before, much to my surprise. It’s got all those classic Strat sounds, from the in-between neck and middle position that John Mayer loves to searing Jimi Hendrix leads and even The Edge’s delay and chime. Now, it’s definitely not as responsive or rich sounding as a MIM Fender, but it certainly comes maybe 75% of the way there?
The bridge pickup impressed me the most, as it didn’t really have that much of an ice pick, super high treble tone that many of these cheap Strat copies have. It had a more rounded, full tone that sounded decent when clean but much better when layered with a Tube Screamer or Pro Co Rat2 on top. One other thing I noticed, aside from the bridge side of the controls, this guitar lacks a lot of the top end sparkle of Strats, even if most other great elements on there. Now I’m not talking about that ice pick tone I said before, this would be that warm, bright, bell-like treble just a few notches down. Overall, it feels very Strat-like for a way lot less money, I’m pleasantly surprised and think some of you will be even in just short Instagram clips.
Well now that my (relative) gushing is over, the playability of the Stadium NY Strat is not great and barely good. It’s still above average in my opinion, as it’s way ahead of that old Glarry Strat I tore apart. The fret edges are really rough, and some are even sharp. The neck isn’t uncomfortable and has a nice classic Strat-shape to it, but it’s barely finished and feels raw. Still, it isn’t too bad moving up and down the fretboard and the medium-jumbo frets are a nice touch.
The guitar came horribly out of tune, with the low E string not even fully installed on the guitar, and the tuning stability has been spotty throughout my time with it. Not awful as down stroked chords don’t really push it out of tone, but plenty of bends and even a little bit of whammy bar usage does. Again, it’s probably still above average compared to some really brutal Squier Bullet Strats, Glarry’s, or no-name Amazon Strat’s out there.
Finish & Construction: 6
This was a hard call on the Stadium NY Strat because I really love the metallic red finish, it looks so good and is going to make this a really fun guitar to mod and hot rod. On the other hand, the neck is in questionable shape with rough/sharp fret edges and a raw finish on the back. Also, the pickups were not well installed as they are really high out of the body and super loose. You can see them shake a little bit when you really move around with the guitar. The finish is superb in look and quality though, with a nice feel and no visible dings or scratches. The hardware is pretty cheap, but really well installed otherwise with everything lining up nice and tightly.
Overall, I’d say the Stadium NY Strat is a nice alternative to a Squier Affinity Strat, especially because it’s about $70 cheaper than that guitar. It’s also still far more playable and useable than any $100 or $60 guitar you’ll find on Amazon or Alibaba. It has some big flaws, like poor fret work and loose pickups, but also has a stunning finish, surprisingly strong Stat tones, and is very affordable. It’s a mixed bag for sure, but I think the Stadium NY Strat deserves a look, especially for DIY Modders who may be stuck indoors for the foreseeable future, but beginners may want to pony up for a Squier if they prefer playability over tone. I’d say you can even look forward to me doing something nuts to this guitar…
Good for: DIY Modders, Players Who Need A Backup Strat, Beginners Who Want More Tone Than Comfort
Pelican Beach Music LLC is an authorized dealer of brands like Danelectro, Aria, Stadium, Revival, and Verano guitars, more more brands being added every day! Rumor has it even some Morifone guitars may pop up on there shortly!