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?
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.
✅ Sounds and plays great
✅ Contoured Neck Heel
✅ Ceramic Noiseless Pickups
✅ Stainless Steel Saddles
✅ Hardshell Case Included
❌ No Wilkinson Nut
❌ Maple Neck Not Available
9.6 Out Of 10
9.6 Out Of 10
9.8 Out Of 10
9.9 Out Of 10
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.
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.
|Alder with Gloss Urethane finish
|Strat with rear contoured upper bout “comfort carve”
|Olympic White and Surf Green
|Maple 4-Bolt-On with Modern C-shape and Satin Urethane Finish
|Fender logo with Jeff Beck’s Signature on the headstock
|Rosewood with Bi-Flex Truss Rod
|9.5″ (241 mm) radius with 25.5″ (648 mm) scale length & dot inlays
|LSR Roller Nut with a 1.6875″ (42.86 mm) nut width
|22 Medium Jumbo
|2-Point American Series Synchronized Tremolo, Stainless Steel Saddles
|Fender (Schaller) Deluxe Locking Tuners
|4-Bolt Contoured Design, “Fender” Embossed
|Aged White Plastic
|Dual-Ceramic Hot Noiseless™ Strat®
|Dual-Ceramic Hot Noiseless™ Strat®
|Dual-Ceramic Hot Noiseless™ Strat®
|Master Volume, Tone 1 (Neck Pickup), Tone 2 (Bridge/Middle Pickup)
|5-Way Blade Pickup Switch
|Made 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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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!
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. ?
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?