Fender Jeff Beck Stratocaster Review – Hammer Of The Gods!

Fender Jeff Beck Stratocaster - Olympic white, front view

Which electric guitar player doesn’t wish they could play like Jeff Beck? If you are one of them, there’s no need to read on. Otherwise, ever wonder what would happen if you got your hands on one of his guitars? Would it inch you closer to that awe-inspiring sound? In this Fender Jeff Beck Stratocaster review, I’ll reveal the pros and cons of dropping some cash on this beauty.

Okay, let’s face it, we’re not Jeff Beck, but sit back and buckle up because this guitar is a wild ride! I own three Beck Strats, a first-generation, second-generation, and a Master-Built custom shop model. They all really do have Jeff’s sound in them, but I still can’t figure out how he does it!

You can use the table of contents below to take you to the area that interests you. Click on the little box to open it, and then click on the section of the article you want to read, or you can read from start to finish if you want the full Jeff Beck Strat experience!


What Is The Fender Jeff Beck Signature Stratocaster?

Fender Jeff Beck Stratocaster - Olympic white, rear view

The Jeff Beck Strat is one of a long line of Fender’s Artist Series guitars, which are made for the player that would like to approach the sound and playability of their favorite guitarist.

The line first began with a Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton (“Blackie”), and a Yngwie Malmsteen model that featured a scalloped neck. Their popularity led the way to updated specs and the addition of numerous new artist models.

This Strat has all the design features requested by Jeff and has been updated to a new version to accommodate the changes in his sound and playing style over the years.


Jeff Beck Stratocaster – Cheat Sheet

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️☆ 9.7 Out Of 10

This guitar was designed to give you all the sounds and functionality of Jeff’s guitar.

It comes in Surf Green and Olympic White with a rosewood fingerboard.

If you want to go directly to the guitar’s specs then click here.

PROS

✅ Sounds and plays great

✅ Contoured Neck Heel

✅ Ceramic Noiseless Pickups

✅ Stainless Steel Saddles

✅ Hardshell Case Included

CONS

❌ No Wilkinson Nut

❌ Maple Neck Not Available

Design

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️☆

9.6 Out Of 10

Overall Quality

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️☆

9.6 Out Of 10

Functionality

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️☆

9.8 Out Of 10

Price

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️☆

9.9 Out Of 10

Player Plus Nashville Telecaster Review - The Fender Logo

Fender Company Profile

Unless you just started playing the guitar today, you are undoubtedly familiar with the Fender brand. These guitars have literally helped define rock n’ roll and blues history. Their original factory was in Fullerton California.

Fender guitars are now made in many parts of the world, with the American-made and Custom Shop guitar lines still made with pride in the USA.

The Fender Broadcaster was first introduced in the autumn of 1950. It became known as a “Nocaster” after the Broadcaster label was removed from the headstock to avoid a trademark lawsuit from Gretsch over their “Broadkaster” drum set. The guitar was re-branded the Telecaster and the rest is history!

Fender has also led the way with amplifiers. Their “K&F” (Doc Kauffman and Leo Fender) series were the very first Fender amps, made by the K&F Manufacturing Corporation. These amps formed the basis of the Woodie, Tweed, Blonde, Brownface, Blackface, and Silverface series.

Fender makes an extensive line of pickups for all their guitars and bass guitars. Their Custom Shop pickups are hand-wired with hand-beveled magnetic pole pieces and period-correct wire and bobbins.


Fender Jeff Beck Stratocaster - The guitar's headstock.

Who Is The Jeff Beck Stratocaster For?

Yes, this instrument is for the guitarist who aspires to sound like Jeff Beck, but it is so much more! It’s incredibly versatile with excellent playability and a range of sounds that lends itself to any electrical genre.

I bought my first Beck Strat used from a guitarist that used it exclusively to play in his church choir, equipped with a bible inscription that he wrote inside the tremolo cavity!

The guitar can easily cover rock, fusion, blues, metal, country, and anything else you can think of.


Jeff Beck Stratocaster Specifications

Here are the specs for the “second-generation” (current) Jeff Beck Strat.

ItemSpecification
BodyAlder with Gloss Urethane finish
ShapeStrat with rear contoured upper bout “comfort carve”
ColorsOlympic White and Surf Green
NeckMaple 4-Bolt-On with Modern C-shape and Satin Urethane Finish
BrandingFender logo with Jeff Beck’s Signature on the headstock
Fingerboard MaterialRosewood with Bi-Flex Truss Rod
Fingerboard Specs9.5″ (241 mm) radius with 25.5″ (648 mm) scale length & dot inlays
NutLSR Roller Nut with a 1.6875″ (42.86 mm) nut width
Frets22 Medium Jumbo
HardwareChrome Finish
Bridge/Tailpiece2-Point American Series Synchronized Tremolo, Stainless Steel Saddles
TunersFender (Schaller) Deluxe Locking Tuners
Neck Plate4-Bolt Contoured Design, “Fender” Embossed
Control KnobsAged White Plastic
Switch TipAged White
Pickguard3-Ply Parchment
Pickup CoversAged White
Electronics
Pickup ConfigurationS-S-S
Neck PickupDual-Ceramic Hot Noiseless™ Strat®
Middle PickupDual-Ceramic Hot Noiseless™ Strat®
Bridge PickupDual-Ceramic Hot Noiseless™ Strat®
ControlsMaster Volume, Tone 1 (Neck Pickup), Tone 2 (Bridge/Middle Pickup)
Switching5-Way Blade Pickup Switch
MiscellaneousMade in the U.S.A.
Weight: Approximately 8 pounds
Vintage Hardshell Tweed Case included with Strap and Cable
Strings: Fender® USA 250L Nickel-Plated Steel (.009-.042 Gauges)
Cost$2,000 (street)

My Guitar Lair - Features and Benefits Section

Features And Benefits

Check Out These Great Jeff Beck Strat Features!

“Soft C” Neck Profile And Contoured Heel

The neck profile and contoured heel dramatically improve access to the highest frets and make playing the guitar a breeze.

LSR Roller Nut

The Fender LSR roller design reduces string friction at the nut when tension is increased or released with the whammy bar. This helps keep the guitar in tune when performing your favorite guitar licks and tricks.

Two-Point Tremolo Bridge With Stainless Steel Saddles

The two-point tremolo bridge is an essential part of the Jeff Beck guitar because it is designed to function well, even when set to bend strings up or down 1 to 1 ½ steps.

The stainless steel saddles are Jeff’s specification and bring out the subtle nuances of every note.

Vintage Tweed Hardshell Case Included

The guitar comes in a vintage tweed hardshell case that is included in the guitar’s price, not a gig bag! It’s always been a pet peeve of mine when a guitar of this caliber doesn’t come in a nice case.


My Guitar Lair - Pros (Thumbs Up) Section

What I Like About It

Here are some of the things I think really make the Jeff Beck guitar an exceptional choice if you’re looking for a Strat that can do it all.

Special Design Dual-Coil Ceramic Noiseless Pickups

The noiseless ceramic pickups give the guitar a great attack and dynamic range.

They sound clean but “edgy” and do not lose their note articulation with overdrive or distortion.

Combining the middle pickup with the neck and bridge pickups produces out-of-phase sounds that do not fade into the background when playing riffs and melodic passages.

Stainless Steel Saddles

Jeff favors stainless steel saddles, which give the strings clarity and consistency of tone when using the whammy bar.

The saddles, combined with the pickups and the guitar’s weight, give it incredible sustain.

Tuning Stability

The guitar’s LSR roller nut and locking tuners keep the guitar in tune, even with aggressive vibrato. Jeff’s guitar is made to accommodate a floating tremolo bridge, which is integral to bending notes and chords in both directions.


My Guitar Lair - Cons (Thumbs Down) Section

What You Might Not Like About It

You should be aware of a few things when looking at this guitar. None of them are deal-breakers, but they need to be brought to your attention.

No Wilkinson Nut

At some point, when the original guitar (version 1) was being made, Fender replaced the Wilkinson nut with its LSR roller nut. After that, Wilkinson ceased production of that particular nut configuration. More on this in the section below.

Not Available With A Maple Fingerboard

The guitar only comes with a rosewood fingerboard, which was apparently Jeff’s choice. The rosewood does help to give the guitar a particular sound. If you’re a maple neck player, you might make an exception once you give this guitar a try.


Other Things To Consider - An image depicting the best choice out of a series of options

Other Things To Consider

Here is some additional information you might find helpful when comparing this guitar against others and evaluating it on its own merits.

If you have any additional information, please leave it in the comment section.

How Is The Newer Version Different From The Older One?

The Jeff Beck Strat was first introduced in 1991, available in Surf Green, Olympic White, and Midnight Purple. The neck had Sperzel locking tuners, a Wilkinson nut, and Lace Sensor Gold pickups. The pickup configuration was a single-coil in the neck and middle position with a tapped humbucker in the neck position (S-S-H).

In 2001, the guitar was updated to a new version. The neck was thinned down to a c-shape design, and a contoured heel was added. The tuners and nut were replaced with Fender (Schaller) Deluxe Locking Tuners and an LSR Roller nut. Also, the pickups were upgraded to Fender’s (3 single-coil) ceramic magnet design (S-S-S).

What Sets This Guitar Apart From Its Competitors?

Many guitar companies have an “artist series” product line, like Gibson, Ibanez, and PRS, to name a few. Fender has done a fantastic job working with each artist to capture the essence of that player’s performance needs and bringing that design and technology to the average guitar player.

The Jeff Beck guitar can produce some truly unique sounds, which blows away the “Strat copy” competition. Give one a try, and you’ll hear what I’m talking about. Jeff’s sound is definitely in there! There is no other guitar on the market that delivers the same tone.

Comparable Products

If you really want to go the distance, you might want to take a look at the Jeff Beck Custom Shop Strat, which ups the ante with higher quality tonewoods and more attention to fit and finish detail. More on this in the next section.

Key Decision Making Factors

If you want a guitar that can take you from solid background rhythm playing to “rip your throat out” lead sounds with “ice pick” dynamics and harmonics, this guitar is definitely worth a look.

At $2,000, you get your money’s worth and then some.

And, let’s not forget the “cool factor” of having the same guitar that Fender custom builds for Jeff, with his signature on the headstock!

User Reviews

The user reviews on the most popular guitar websites are generally good to excellent. There have been a few complaints that the guitar is on the heavy side, weighing in at about 8 pounds, but that’s about average for a Strat. It’s what Jeff wanted and adds to the overall sound and sustain of the instrument.

As a user myself, owning versions 1, 2, and the Custom Shop model, I love all three models. They each have their unique sound and playing nuances. I wouldn’t trade or sell any of them for anything else out there!


Fender Jeff Beck Stratocaster - The Fender Custom Shop Logo

What Is The Jeff Beck Custom Shop Guitar?

A Custom Shop version of the guitar was introduced in 2004, available in Olympic White and Surf Green body finish.

The main differences between the standard production model and the Custom Shop model are as follows.

  • Tonewoods used for the maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, and alder body are of higher quality. Fender calls it “select maple and alder” (Master-Built tonewoods are awesome)
  • Fender (Schaller) Deluxe Locking Tuners (on the Standard model) are replaced with Sperzel locking tuners
  • More attention is given to detail on the fit and finish (Master-Built is better than Team-built models)

Beware of an issue in this review

How Important Is The Wilkinson Nut?

It’s no secret that Jeff still prefers the Wilkinson nut on all his Strats and uses the model that is slanted down on the bass side under the E, A, and D strings.

All the Custom Shop Jeff Beck Strats are built with the Fender LSR roller nut, not the Wilkinson nut.

Fender Jeff Beck Stratocaster - A photo of a Wilkinson nut
Wilkinson Nut

However, all Jeff’s personal guitars, Master-Built by Todd Krause, and some “One-off” Jeff Beck Strats have included the Wilkinson nut, which is in short supply these days.

I was lucky enough to get a Todd Krause Master-Built Olympic White Jeff Beck Strat with the Wilkinson nut, and I can tell you that it definitely plays and sounds different than my version 1 and 2 Jeff Beck Strats! Not necessarily “better,” just different.

I love the sound of the Wilkinson nut, but the problem is that they were made in different “sizes” to accommodate various string gauge sets. So, if you put a string gauge that is too big (thick) on a smaller size Wilkinson nut, the strings will bind up in the nut slots and go out of tune, even with the “slanted-down” version pictured above.

This is apparently why Fender decided to change to the LSR Roller Nut on their Strat Plus and Jeff Beck guitars in the 1990s.

I have 10-46 gauge strings on my guitar, and the Wilkinson nut works fine.

So, having the Wilkinson nut is not a must. The LSR Jeff Beck guitar plays and sounds fantastic, but if you want the “real thing,” get your hands on a Wilkinson-equipped model like Jeff still plays.


My Guitar Lair - A scale trying to balance a guitar player on one side and a stack of coins on the other side.

Is The Jeff Beck Strat Legit?

As a proud owner of three (yes, I know it’s a little piggish) Jeff Beck Strats, I can honestly say that what you can play on this guitar is only limited by your imagination and skill level.

It’s not going to stay in tune the way a double locking tremolo system will, but if you’re looking to flaunt that Beck-style flash, this could be your guitar.

If you’re interested in grabbing one for yourself, click the button below to check availability, user reviews, and current pricing.


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions I get asked about the Jeff Beck Strat and other equipment.

If your question does not appear here, please put it in the comments, and I will get right back to you with an answer.

What Pickups Does Jeff Beck Use?

Jeff’s Strats come from the Fender Custom Shop equipped with the noiseless ceramic pickups in his Artist Series guitars.

He has also used a variety of third-party custom wound pickups, like John Suhr single-coils.

What Amps Does Jeff Beck Use?

Jeff has used many amps over the years, but he currently prefers Marshall JCM2000, Fender Pro Junior, and Magnatone (custom-made “Becktone”) amps.

How Do You Get The Tone Of Jeff Beck?

My advice would be to start with a Jeff Beck Signature Strat and a Marshall amp. Listen carefully to everything Jeff has ever recorded and practice as much as possible.

Nobody has ever truly copied Jeff’s style and tone. The most important part of Jeff’s sound comes from his mind and hands. Every musician has unique nuances in their playing style.

What Kind Of Nut Does Jeff Beck Use?

Jeff is still using the Wilkinson nut (slanted down on the E, A, and D string side) from the 80s and 90s that were found on the early (version 1) Jeff Beck Strats and Strat Plus guitars.

He does not use the Fender LSR roller nut. He prefers the performance, tone, and harmonics of the Wilkinson nut.

What Gauge Strings Does Jeff Beck Use?

Jeff usually begins a tour with a 10-46 gauge string set and then changes to 11-48 as his fingers toughen up. He has used Ernie Ball and custom-made SonoTone string sets.

Does Jeff Beck Play In Standard Tuning?

Yes, Jeff uses standard tuning, even for slide guitar, which he integrates with his fingerpicking to form a unique playing style. Sometimes he tunes the guitar down a half-step to get particular harmonics for songs in E Flat.


Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this Fender Jeff Beck Stratocaster review. This guitar has been around since 1991, initially available with three lace Sensor pickups (S-S-H) and a Wilkinson nut (version 1).

It was designed to give you all the sounds and functionality of Jeff’s guitar.

An updated Jeff Beck Strat (version 2) was introduced in 2001. The tuners and nut were replaced with Fender (Schaller) Deluxe Locking Tuners and an LSR Roller nut. Also, the pickups were upgraded to Fender’s (3 single-coil) ceramic magnet design.

Keywords-Included

Fender released a Custom Shop Strat in 2004, based on version 2. The team-built and Master-Built guitars have varying degrees of workmanship and attention to fine detail.

If you’re looking for a guitar that will get you close to Jeff’s sound, plug this axe into your favorite Marshall and wail away to your heart’s content. But remember, nobody plays like Jeff. ?


A rock band of figures made from nuts and bolts.

Tell Me What You Think

Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed this Jeff Beck Strat review, have any questions about this product, or want to leave your review. I will be happy to help you.

  • Have you heard of Jeff Beck before reading this article (if not, please check out his music!)?
  • Do you own a Jeff Beck Strat? Which version? How do you like it?
  • How important do you think the Wilkinson nut is to getting Jeff’s sound?
  • After reading this article, would you buy a Jeff Beck Strat?

About Frank

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10 thoughts on “Fender Jeff Beck Stratocaster Review – Hammer Of The Gods!”

  1. Hello Frank,

    I love your webpage on all things guitar.  I have always loved the guitar.  I had two brothers that played the electric guitar. And my other brother introduced me to listening to Pink Floyd when I was 8.   I will share your page with them.  I listened to a lot of music with guitar, especially like House of Rising Sun by the Animals. 

    You have so many resources about the guitar.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would be awesome to go through. 

    Thank you for sharing so much valuable info.

    Kind regards

    Erica

    Reply
    • Hi, Erica

      ThankYou for your comments!

      Pink Floyd has always been one of my favorite bands, and David Gilmour is such a fabulous guitar player, so melodic! There’s currently some talk out there about him doing a couple of “Pink Floyd reunion” shows! We’ll see.

      How about you? have you thought about giving the guitar a try? It doesn’t take very long to start playing songs, and it’s more fun than you can possibly imagine!

      Frank

      Reply
  2. Hello Frank,

    I love music rock, blues, jazz, and the technical production side of it in general, so to come across your blog is great! I will totally share your blog with some of my friends from the musical world, as they can support you. Keep up the good work!

    Rosie

    Reply
    • Hi, Rosie

      I appreciate your comments!

      Jeff Beck is one of the best guitar players in Rock, Blues, & Fusion. If you’re not familiar with his work, please take a listen. He is a multi-Grammy-winning recording artist.

      You may know some of the musicians he worked with throughout his career, including Ronny Wood of the Rolling Stones and singer Rod Stewart.

      Frank

      Reply
  3. I got the Jeff Beck Artist model made in 2014 after I suffered a heart attack.
    I had never played guitar prior to but had always wanted to learn.
    The heart attack actually made me realize that time is short, do what you’ve always wanted to do or in my case learn guitar.
    I practiced and practiced and bonded with this Fender.
    Since I’m older, I grew up listening to Jeff Beck when he joined the Yardbirds and have followed him since. He is a master guitar player that can play just about any genre out there.
    I’m currently listening to the album Jeff Beck & The Big Town Playboys, a group he put together that plays Rock-a-Billy type music ala Gene Vincent and his guitar work is unbelievable in this album.
    Kind of like a version of Brian Setzer who went to finishing school!
    TBH, I did not expect to learn and play like Jeff, and did not get this Fender Guitar because of Jeff. I got it because of the color (believe it or not) who cannot love Surf Green and because of this particular guitars specifications. You see, I also love 60’s Surf music and intended to give the whammy bar a work out.
    It’s a shame that so many take off the tremolo bars and shove them into the depths of a parts drawer preferring to hardtail their Strats.
    But what can I say. To each their own right?
    Anyway, to whomever cares to know, I highly recommend the Fender Jeff Beck Stratocaster.
    In Surf Green of course.

    Reply
    • Hi, Ron

      I super appreciate your comments!

      Wow, you bought yourself a great guitar to learn on!

      Jeff Beck is a total master of the guitar! I love the CD “Crazy Legs.” Did you know that if you buy the Blu-Ray Jeff Beck – Live At Ronnie Scott’s, there is a bonus video where Jeff does an entire set with the Big Town Playboys (not on the DVD, just the Blu-Ray)?

      I love surf green, and I also have a Jeff Beck Strat in that color. Yes, everyone should give the whammy bar a try. Like Jeff, you can use it subtly or divebomb it to make your metal tunes come alive.

      Keep on playing, and please revisit my website soon!
      Frank ?

      Reply
      • Wow Frank this website imho is going to launch like a rocket to MARS! The pictures and your info are pretty spot on. I look forward to more info about all things music even though there are some magnificent players out there under 6 years of age. I don’t know about you but for me that is mind boggling especially watching them shred electric axes! Male and female, sometimes I feel like i need to leave one string on my guitar and just sweep the floor for them as they are so darn good.

        Meanwhile back at the ranch, I will check out your suggestions on pups. and oh I almost forgot but way back in 81, I purchased a set of 1959 Les Paul Humbuckers (p.a.f.) from a celeb friend of mine who was going to ruin them! He would have just given them to me but i bought them and they are still intact. There’s two pups that survived not getting dipped in wax and someday I’ll find an LP that does not weigh 500 pounds that needs pups and has a great neck. Btw, I paid 1000.00 USD for those pups and call me crazy but i know they will sing again. I think i am going with SDuncan custom wind’s for my JB strat, but i love the sound of the neck position so that one stays. Don’t want to mortgage the house but there seems to be a lot of pickup specialist in this old world that many swear by in a good way.

        Once again a cool place to hangout here ….a really great job only to get better.
        Cheers.
        Kind regard’s,
        Mick

        Reply
        • Hi, Mick

          I really appreciate the compliments on my website! There are some amazing guitar players of all ages. Sometimes I just can’t believe how young some of those kids are on the YouTube videos!

          Wow, ’59 LP PAF Humbuckers in original condition! They’re definitely worth some money today. They would sound great in a Gibson ’59 VOS LP Reissue.

          All the S Duncan Custom Shop pickups that I’ve heard sound fantastic. You. can leave Seymour a message on his website and he or one of his staff members will get back to you with specific recommendations.

          Always a pleasure chatting with you, Mick! Definitely let me know how you make out with the updates on your JB guitar, and let’s keep in touch!
          Frank 🎸

          Reply
  4. Hey Frank,
    nice article on the J.B. aka G.A.B. guitar. I worked with the Fender Custom Shop to differentiate on what would best suite my needs. I actually ordered my neck from the C.S. with a special nut
    that differentiated (Ivory) on the Fender compared to Fender’s L.S.R. because I ain’t no Jeff Beck! Also I have Fender branded Schaller set of locking keys the difference being “butter bean” vintage style keys as opposed to the base model size which are bigger, but I also have a new set of Sperzel lockers/satin finish just in case I wanted to go a little crazy. Gavin push-back guard wiring and just a beautiful wiring job fit for good rugged and dependable lifeline on or off the road.
    I love no hum pickups, but am sometimes willing to put up with it to get the classic Fender Strat sound. Any suggestion’s? Three SS configuration or?
    I also don’t use Floyd Rose no E.V.H. here either.

    My real complaint is so much urethane, damn heavy!
    Great job on the rundown.

    Reply
    • Hi, Mick

      I really appreciate all your comments, and I’m thrilled you enjoyed the article!

      You’ve built one great guitar! I would leave it just the way you described it. The Fender-branded Schallers and Sperzels are both excellent tuners. These guitars do tend to be on the heavier side, which is one of the things that adds to their characteristic sound. I agree that ivory nuts are a great choice.

      If you want to try a really good set of PUPS, which are side-by-side humbuckers designed to fit in a single-coil space, drop in a set of Seymour Duncan Vintage Rails (but I wouldn’t use them in your JB guitar). They have great vintage Strat noiseless sound but aren’t loud like a typical humbucker.

      I have five Jeff Beck Signature Model guitars. Two of them have the Wilkinson (split) nut: a Todd Kurose Masterbuilt Olympic white, and a first-generation in midnight purple with the lace sensors and the coil-tapped bridge humbucker. I built one with a JB body and neck with two ceramic single-coils in the neck and middle plus a Seymour Duncan Little JB in the bridge. The other two are modified: a first-gen with S-S-H lace sensors and a second-gen guitar with S-S-S Lace Sensor Hot Gold PUPS.

      I do like the split Wilkinson nut better than the LSR, although you have to get the right size Wilkinson nut for the string gauge you are using. I string mine with 0.010s, but you could also use 0.009s or 0.011s. This is supposedly why Fender developed their LSR nut, which is also an excellent choice.

      Please come back and revisit my site! It only has about 100 articles, but I am working hard to build it with high-quality reviews, etc.
      Frank

      Reply

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