In this blog series I will be looking at a variety of electrics, giving a brief history, the attributes of each particular type, the styles of music the guitar is particularly suited for and a few famous people who use them.Probably the most popular and most copied electric guitar The Fender Stratocaster- introduced by inventor Leo Fender on May 15, 1954 its design remains basically unchanged to this day! Buddy Holly was one of the first rock musicians to be seen with the Fender Stratocaster in the 50’s and recorded most of his music with one and good old Hank Marvin was the first British guy to get an imported Strat in 1958.
The Stratocaster is pretty light for a solid body guitar thanks to its ash or alder body and was designed to be comfortable to play due to its nice curves and balanced weight.The Stratocaster is extremely versatile however it does get used a lot for lead work and cutting chord work. You get a bright sound from the Stratocaster and seeing as it has 3 single coil pick-ups labelled bridge, middle and neck you can choose what type of sound you want. You get 5 options using the selector switch so if you flick the switch down as far as it will go it to the pickup nearest the bridge you get brightest, most trebly and twangiest sound- super for a bright lead sound, and great for arpeggios and even funk! If you flick up to Position 2 you are then using the Bridge and middle pickup-this gives you a crunchier sound which is brilliant for rock. If you flick the switch in the middle where the middle pick-ups are you get a mellower sound-it’s balanced but not as bright. Next position upwards is using the Middle and neck pickup-this is a kind of sad sound (great for blues!) and finally if you flick the switch all the way up to neck pick up you get a much louder, fuller, bassy sound, clean but not bright at all and even sadder sounding-(even better for blues!). There are also 2 tone knobs and a volume knob for you to mess about with. The middle knob is the tone control for the neck and middle pickup whilst the bottom knob controls the tone on the bridge pickup.The Stratocaster has body contours for comfort and a cutaway in the body of the guitar which helps you get to those frets high up and a tremolo arm or whammy bar which you use to bend notes or get that wobbly sound!
The Strat has featured heavily across almost all musical genres throughout the decades since its birth and long may it prosper! It is perfect for the beginner guitarist but also loved by the professionals! Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Mark Knopfler, The Edge, John Frusciante, Hank Marvin and David Gilmour are just a few of the greats who regularly play or played (RIP Jimi!) the wonderful Fender Stratocaster.