If he was going to spend a fortune, then why not buy a vintage Fender Strat? *The replicas are just that, replicas. *The newer Fender products are poor, so don't let that soil your image of strats that were made pre 1980. *A friend of mine has a 79 Strat that is the best playing guitar I have EVER played. *Another friend has a 74 and another a 69, and they are all killer axes. *The replicas don't reproduce the strat tone the way an old Fender does. *I personally have a 57 reissue strat, which while being better than most american made strats, still isn't as high of quality of Fenders made in the 70's and earlier. *My advice would be to buy a 1970's Strat, or a pre-cbs one if you have that much money. *Which ones are better between these goes into great detail, but any would be a great choice.