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At the request of Ignacio over at IG Blog, I checked out his recent post on the infamous fender stratocaster guitar. It was definitely an interesting read as there is a lot of history behind this guitar, and it has in turn been used by numerous famous musicians over the years. This article did stir something up about this iconic instrument in my mind as well.
Personally, I'm not a strat player, despite the fact that many of my guitar heroes, people like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimi Hendrix, played or currently play strats. Instead, I have always been more drawn to Les Pauls, another instrument with some incredible history and an incredible legacy. Still, I can appreciate the great look, sound and feel of the perfectly beat up old strat, like the infamous "Blackie" (Clapton's strat) with all it's "character marks" (also called scratches) and personality, ready to lay down the most passionate blues and rock ever heard.
The first guitar I ever played was a strat, as I'm sure was the case for many guitarists, although it wasn't the first one I owned. With it's immense range of textures, from glassy to soaring to gritty, the strat is one of those instruments that is both instantly identifiable and completely unrecognizable depending on the situation, a great testament to its versatility. Certainly this is part of why so many great musicians have played this instrument over the years for blues, rock, funk, soul, metal, jazz and more.
The stratocaster just might be the most recognized silhouette worldwide. It's shape is instantly associated with rock and roll. Who would have thought such an un-guitar-like shape would become the most well known shape of electric guitar in history. Identified with rock and roll right since the very beginning with Buddy Holly, it remains one of the most popular instruments to this day.
Understanding the strat's popularity is not an easy thing to do as I don't think anyone would have predicted it when it was first introduced. Sure, after such great players like Jimi Hendrix picked it up and made it their guitar of choice, numerous others were soon to follow, but I think there is something more to it than that. It's radical shape, its range of sound and it's association with rock and roll since the beginning, all certainly have something to do with it, (plus is won't cost you nearly as much as a Les Paul). No matter what the reason, I think it is safe to say that the stratocaster is here to stay, to continue to churn out great music for years to come.
Ignacio makes some great points about this famous guitar in his article as well, and includes some great video as well of that performance by Buddy Holly. It is definitely a post worth reading as is Ignacio's blog in general, if you're interested in more guitar related material. You can find it at www.igblog.wordpress.com and also through the links page here at the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll.
Here is the original article: http://igblog.wordpress.com/2007/04/13/the-day-when-the-stratocaster-was-new/
I definitely think the strat will remain a rock and roll icon forever, and probably will be the most popular guitar in history. Even though I'm not a strat player primarily, I'm sure I'll own at least one eventually, just like thousands of other guitarists across all generations, keeping this rock and roll icon alive for years to come.