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Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster
Sterling Valentine
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Playability
68
Sound
69
Build
64
Value
67
Score
67
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Playability
72
Sound
69
Build
59
Value
72
Score
67
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Side to side spec comparison >

Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster vs Sterling Valentine

Reasons to Get
Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster over Sterling Valentine

Release Year
2023 vs 2019
From a more recent year
Type of Frets
Medium Jumbo vs Narrow Tall
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Pickups Brand
Fender vs None
Pickups from a renown brand
Pickups
H vs SH
Hum-free with more right hand freedom and sustain

Reasons to Get
Sterling Valentine over Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster

Frets Height
Taller vs Shorter
Easier to press down strings and bend them
Type of Frets
Narrow Tall vs Medium Jumbo
You won't feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings
Pickup Mods
Boost vs None
Increases the output of the pickup
Switch Positions
3 vs 0
More tone options
Tone Knobs
1 vs 0
More tone control
Pickups
SH vs H
Very bright bridge tone and a very warm neck pickup
Number of Frets
22 vs 21
Allows to reach higher notes
Value Score
72 vs 67
Better price/quality relationship

Other Key Differences
Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster vs Sterling Valentine

Bridge Pickup
Fender Seymour Duncan Invader SH8 Humbucking vs Sterling Single Coil
Different Bridge Pickup
Body Wood
Alder vs Ash
Different Body Wood
Neck Wood
Maple vs Roasted Maple
Different Neck Wood
Fretboard Wood
Rosewood vs Roasted Maple
Different Fretboard Wood
Headstock
6 vs 4-2
Different Headstock
Nut Material
Synthetic Bone vs Compensated
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster vs Sterling Valentine

Strings
6
Same playing style
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Volume Knobs
1
Same volume control
Nut Width
1.65'' (41.9mm)
Same string separation at the nut
Paint Finish
Poly
Resistant paint that ages well
Bridge
Fixed
Good sustain and needs no set-up
Scale Length
25.5'' (647.7mm)
Same string tension and fret separation
Fretboard Radius
9.5'' (241.3mm)
Same fretboard comfortability
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed
Neck Profile Type
C
Comfortable neck that works for most people
Neck Joint
Bolt-On
Allows you to detach and swap the neck

Common Strengths

  • High-Quality Nut
  • Expensive Wood

Common Weaknesses

  • Neck-Through Build
  • Weight Relief
  • Locking Tuners
  • Stays in Tune (Evertune)
  • High-Quality Frets
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • From a High-Quality-Standards Country
  • Luminescent Sidedots
  • Strap Lock
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Active/Passive Preamp

Price History Comparison

Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster Prices

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SET PRICE ALERT

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Which One is Better for Beginners?

Both meet 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players. If you're looking for your first guitar to learn how to play, you can't go wrong with either of them.

New Player Friendliness

Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

New Player Friendliness

Sterling Valentine
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

Nevertheless, when it comes to choosing an instrument, you should pick the one more compatible with your personal style. Still, below we'll try you to give you our results as objectively as it's possible to help you decide.

Sound Quality Comparison

The wood used in an electric guitar or bass is not as important to determine the final tone. However, some people prefer specific wood types, so we'll take a look at those first. Then, we'll take a look at the electronics to determine the versatility and sound quality of each instrument.

Woods Used in the Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster

Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood
Alder wood pattern used for guitar building
Alder

Maple is one of the most popular necks for good reasons. It is a strong wood that is relatively cheap to make and looks beautiful. The highest quality maple is the hardest that comes from North America. Find out more about Maple.

Rosewood is an almost purple-looking wood that is used mainly for fretboards since it's heavy, rare, and expensive. It's sometimes used on acoustic guitar bodies to create stronger warm tones. Find out more about Rosewood.

Alder is the most popular wood that Fender uses in most of their guitars nowadays. Even though they say it's because of its balanced tone with an emphasis in the upper midrange, it probably is because it isn't too expensive, and it's also pretty lightweight—more than Mahogany. Find out more about Alder.

Woods Used in the Sterling Valentine

Roasted Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Roasted Maple
Ash wood pattern used for guitar building
Ash

Roasted Maple is just maple without a finish. It's technically cheaper than regular maple, but it doesn't have any extra disadvantages because of this. The color is darker, and it's lighter weight and very stable even when there's a lot of humidity.

Ash is a type of wood that Fender used almost exclusively in the 50s, and it's still used by many brands. It's a dense wood with a light color that works well for a transparent, natural finish because of its beautiful patterns. In terms of sound, it's known for emphasizing the mid and high frequencies, but with strong low end. Find out more about Ash.

Winner: Tie.

Pickup Configuration

The Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster has an H configuration while the Sterling Valentine has SH pickups.

A single H pickup gives you the advantage of having a little longer sustain (all other things being equal) because there will be less magnetic fields from other pickups affecting the strings' vibration. However, they also give you the least versatility because you won't have other pickups at different distances from the bridge to create different tones. A single humbucking pickup is used for noiseless high output, which is used mainly for Hard Rock genres.

On the other hand, SH is a more versatile version of the classic telecaster (SS) configuration. The bridge pickup usually produces a bright and twangy tone, while the neck Humbucker gives you the warmer tone you'll need for more Jazzy/Bluish solos and chords.

Pickups Quality

The Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster has pickups from a more specialized brand than the Sterling Valentine. Its pickups should simply give you a better, fuller sound, although it all depends on what type of music you're going to play. We recommend these pickups for Hard Rock and similar genres.

Both use Passive pickups. This is what's used for most music genres. They have a regular output and will serve you for both high-gain and clean tones. The alternative (Active pickups) offer a higher output that is mostly used for heavy music.

Winner: Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster.

Versatility Comparison

Some instruments offer you more ways to explore your creativity than others. Below you'll find how both compare when it comes to versatility.

Switch Options

The Sterling Valentine gives you 3 switch options while the Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster gives you 0. This means that the Sterling Valentine gives you more options to find the right pickup combination for the type of sound you want to achieve

Only the Sterling Valentine comes with some kind of pickup modification: Boost.

A Boost will give your pickups more output, similar to an active pickup. It's great if you like to use a lot of output for heavy genres, but also like to use a cleaner tone often.

The Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster doesn't come with pickup switching options.

Sterling Valentine pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Sterling Valentine's switch options

When evaluating versatility, we also take into consideration bridge and neck joint type, number of frets, switch options, amount of pickups and more.

Winner: Sterling Valentine.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster
Pickups 90
Sustain 75
Versatility 42
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 69
Sterling Valentine
Pickups 60
Sustain 80
Versatility 64
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 69

Build Quality Comparison

When it comes to build quality, we like to take into account everything used to build the instrument. This includes materials, hardware and the quality control expected depending on the country where it was built. Let's see how the Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster compares to the Sterling Valentine.

Country of Origin

The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. The Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster is built in Mexico while the Sterling Valentine is made in Indonesia.

Mexico has been for a long time where Fender has built their semi-premium series. If you don't want to overpay for a wellp-built instrument, a guitar built in this country by a good brand always offers good value for the money.

Indonesia is becoming the most popular country for guitar building because they can make good instruments for a low price. Some people think that they're 'the new China' when it comes to build quality. But the truth is that Indonesian guitars are more consistent, although Chinese quality has improved a lot in the last few years.

Winner: Tie

Nut Material

If you want your guitar to stay in tune and sound good, you need a well cut nut. Nut quality can be inconsistent even when comparing two copies of the same model. The best way to make sure you're nut will be well done is by getting a nut made by an expert company like TUSQ or Micarta.

The Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster has a Synthetic Bone nut. Bone is the best natural material for guitar nuts. However, its tonal properties can be inconsistent. That's the problem that synthetic bone fixes. This is much better than using a plastic nut because the nut is more slippery—which helps with tuning stability—, and it gives your open strings rich harmonics.

On the other hand, the Sterling Valentine comes with a Compensated nut. Each hole where the string sits at the nut is cut at a different distance from the bridge, which compensates for the different amount of tension that each string is subject to. This fixes most intonation issues across the fretboard, so it gives great tuning stability.

Winner: Tie.

Fret Material

Most fret wire is made of nickel silver. This material eventually wears down after a lot of use and most instruments end up needing a complete fret replacement. However, some expensive models come with stainless steel frets. This is what you should aim for if you can afford it.

Unfortunately, none of them come with stainless steel frets.

Winner: Tie.

Bridge

The perfect bridge for you will depend on your playstyle because they all have advantages and disadvantages. However, some bridges are more expensive—like Floyd Roses and Evertunes—and thus add more value to a guitar.

Both come with a similar bridge: Fixed. It's a simple bridge that is very beginner-friendly since it doesn't require any set-up. You can swap strings easily. It might also give more sustain since it doesn't have complex moving parts that make the strings lose vibration. However, it doesn't have the same versatility as a tremolo bridge.

Since we need to be objective, the most expensive type of bridge will be the winner of this section. In the end, this doesn't matter if you're not going to use the bridge for its original purpose, so choose the bridge that fits your playing style better.

Winner: Tie.

Tuners

Both come with regular tuners. The Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster's are Fender Vintage-Style while the Sterling Valentine's are Open Gear

Winner: Tie.

Neck Joint

Contrary to popular belief, the difference in sustain and tone that some neck joints give to a guitar is simply unperceivable—if they're all well built. However, some of them do have advantages over the others.

Both have a Bolt-On neck joint. This neck is joined to the body by 4 bolts that you can simply unscrew. This allows you to replace the neck or take it off for travel. It's the most common and cheapest way to build a guitar.

Winner: Tie.

Here is the list of features that were considered when choosing the winner in the Features subcategory:

Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster
  • Expensive Wood
  • Synthetic Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Mexico
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock
Strengths & Weaknesses
Sterling Valentine
  • Expensive Wood
  • Compensated Nut
  • Boost Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Final Build Quality Scores

Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster
Quality of materials 66
Features 50
Quality Control 75
Build Quality 64
Sterling Valentine
Quality of materials 51
Features 55
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 59

Playability Comparison

Let's now compare their playability. Bear in mind that the instrument will feel different depending on your hand size and play style. That's why you should always test before buying. But if you can't or want a second opinion on it, we can still take a look at each of the important measurements of the instrument for you. This way, we can predict how easy a guitar might be to play, or how different it will feel compared to the other.

Remember that, even though the difference might seem small, every inch counts when it comes to feeling of the instrument in your hands. Any variation can completely change how comfortable a guitar feels in your hands.

Nut Width

Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster Nut Width
Both Guitars Have The Same Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, both have a nut width of 41.9mm (1.65'').

This is considered a narrow width for a 6-string guitar. This means that this guitar will have a narrower string separation at the nut, which will affect your fretting hand.

If you are a player with big hands, you might find it difficult to play chords without muting strings. However, this is good for players who have smaller hands, as it will allow them to reach each string more easily at the nut.

Scale Length

Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster and Sterling Valentine's Scale Length
Both have the same scale length

The scale length is one of the things that influences playability the most. This is the distance between the nut and the bridge and will affect everything from low action allowance, difficulty to perform bends, fret separation, and even tone.

In this case, both have a scale length of 25.5".

This is the scale used in most Stratocasters. It's slightly longer than the typical 24.75'' size found in Les Pauls, and it's one of the main reasons why Stratocasters have such a bright sound in general. A longer scale also means that the strings will have higher tension. This will help you get lower action without suffering fret buzz, which will also be helpful when playing in lower tunings without having to increase your string gauge.

However, this also means that there will be more separation between frets, which can make it more difficult to play. Also, bending the strings will require more strengths due to the increased tension, but remember that a tremolo guitar will offset this difficulty.

Lastly, remember that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge. You can use a thicker gauge for more tension and a lighter one for less tension.

Neck Profile

Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster Neck Profile
Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster's neck profile
Sterling Valentine Neck Profile
Sterling Valentine's neck profile

No single neck shape is better than others. However, most people tend to prefer a thinner necks because it doesn't get in their way when playing fast and most hand sizes can adapt to it pretty well. However, some people still prefer thicker necks for a better grip, especially if they have big hands.

Both the Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster and the Sterling Valentine have a C-shaped neck. This is what you'll find in most modern guitars. Most people feel like the thickness of a C neck is simply the less intrusive one for playing fast, while at the same time allowing you to grab the neck easily for resting if you want to.

Fretboard Radius

Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster Fingerboard Radius
Both Guitars Have The Same Fretboard Radius

Most guitar fretboards are not flat; they usually have a curve or arc across their width. A curved fretboard will make it easier to perform chords without muting strings, while a flatter one will make it easier to play single notes, which is good for bending and soloing in general. The best fretboards have a compound radius that varies across the fingerboard, but they're not common since they take a lot more work to build.

Both the Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster and the Sterling Valentine have the same fretboard radius of 9.5". This is the most common radius for Stratocaster guitars. It's considered curved when compared to most other models. This allows you to play chords very easily without muting strings accidentally and gives you more space between strings for fingerpicking. However, this curve also gives the guitar less allowance for lower action. If you bend too hard at the high frets, some of your notes might get muted because the curve will make the string fret out.

Hand Size Comfortability

Everyone has a different hand size, and that's why it's recommended to try a guitar before buying, even if others tell you that it's comfortable to play. However, we can know whether a guitar favors small or large hands just by knowing its exact measurements.

After taking into account the scale length, nut width, neck profile and fretboard radius, we can conclude that both in this comparison favor small hands .

Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster:
Big Hands
Small Hands
Sterling Valentine:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster Frets Size
Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster's Frets Size
Sterling Valentine Frets Size
Sterling Valentine's Frets Size

The Sterling Valentine has Narrow Tall frets, which should be taller than the Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster's Medium Jumbo frets.

Some people prefer taller frets because they result in more sustain since the strings get pressed cleanly without interference from the fretboard. However, if they're too tall—like Jumbo frets—, you might change the pitch of the strings accidentally if you press too hard because you won't be touching the fretboard with your fingers. This is also why some guitarists with a heavy grip prefer smaller frets. They like to feel the fingerboard to avoid pressing down too hard and getting out of pitch.

Final Playability Scores

Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster
Bending & Vibrato Ease 65
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 60
Playability 68
Sterling Valentine
Bending & Vibrato Ease 75
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 70
Playability 72

Specs Side-by-Side

Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster vs Sterling Valentine
General Fender Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster Sterling Valentine
Brand: Fender Sterling
Year: 2023 2019
Configuration: H SH
Strings: 6 6
Made in: Mexico Indonesia
Series: Limited Edition Tom DeLonge Stratocaster Artist
Colors: White, Sunburst
Left-Handed Version: No No
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: Alder Swamp Ash
Bridge: 6-Saddle String-Through-Body Hardtail With Block Saddles Hardtail with Vintage Bent Saddle
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On Bolt-On
Tuners: Fender Vintage-Style Open Gear
Fretboard: Slab Rosewood Roasted Maple
Neck Material: Maple Roasted Maple
Decoration: White Dot Black Dot Markers
Scale Size: 25.5" 25.5"
Shape: Modern C James Valentine
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.82'' (20.8mm) - 12th Fret: 0.87'' (22.1mm) 1st Fret: - 12th Fret:
Frets: 21 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver 22 Narrow Tall Nickel Silver
Fretboard Radius: 9.5" 9.5"
Nut: Synthetic Bone Compensated
Nut Width: 41.9mm (1.65'') 41.9mm (1.65'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Fender Seymour Duncan Invader SH8 Humbucking (Humbucker / Passive) Sterling Single Coil (Single Coil / Passive)
Middle Pickup:
Neck Pickup: Sterling Humbucker (Humbucker / Passive)
Switch: 0 Way 3 Way
Knobs: Bell Dome
Pickup Mods: None Boost
Volume Controls: 1 1
Tone Controls: 0 1