The most commonly asked question any guitarist will come across is, “What is your favorite guitar to play?” Yes, it is absolutely a matter of preference in sound, tone, feel and look. But over the years, what has made the Fender Stratocaster so widely popular? If you ever take notice, many famous musicians have a huge collection of this Fender. Let’s explore why this guitar is so often imitated by other manufacturing companies and loved by so many guitarists.
What’s perhaps most amazing of all is that the Stratocaster design is now around 60 years old, and real fans of the guitar still find its original incarnation of the greatest appeal. Despite all of the issues listed above, the classic Stratocaster is widely acknowledged as the world’s best guitar.
The Strat’s progressive rise to global dominance, however, began well before the 1980s, and it couldn’t really be attributed to any one guitarist. The kind of buzz Jimmy Hendrix generated around the instrument could not really out-survive the musical trend he drove. That’s evident if you look back at pre-Hendrix Strat heroes like Dick Dale, Hank Marvin and Buddy Holly.
If the ‘80s was a decade of novelty, the ‘90s saw the electric guitar returning to its roots. You might have expected the early ‘90s blues revival to re-establish some long-absent and esoteric guitar designs into the limelight. But it really didn’t to any great extent. Many of the main players in that revival were using Strats. Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Jimmie Vaughan, Otis Rush… And they weren’t just using Strats, they were using Fender Strats, either actual vintage instruments, or based closely on the original design. Interestingly, the Strat’s in-between, ‘out-of-phase’ sound featured very, very heavily indeed in that revival. It wasn’t only perfect for funk, disco and ‘80s pop – it was perfect for earthy, roots-flavor blues too.
For a lot of guitarists, the early ‘90s and the relentless vintage Strat hype that came with it evoked an epiphany. There was a common factor to every influential guitarist who’d played a Fender Strat over the years… They all sounded unique. Even though they were using the same guitar, they sounded totally different from any other Strat hero. Stevie Ray Vaughan sounded nothing like Nile Rodgers. Mark Knopfler sounded nothing like Ritchie Blackmore.
It says a lot when a guitar can travel through the decades and still be one of the most sought after makes and models. The Fender Stratocaster is one of those guitars that will continue to stay on the cutting edge and in the hands of guitarists world wide.
[Reprinted From: http://fender.com/]