When you hear “rock and roll” coupled with “guitar” you often will picture a Fender Stratocaster (or “Strat”) in your mind. After all, Leo Fender’s invention has been used by so many of music’s greats that it’s hard to keep track of all of them!
Leo Fender first broke into the music business on his own in 1946. He was keen enough to realize what the industry needed and as an electronics technician, he knew a thing or two about electric instruments and amps. He would go down the path to Icon, inventing much-needed amplifiers and guitars, including the introduction of the Fender Stratocaster in 1954. Fender, along with George Fullerton and Freddie Tavares designed the new solid body. This guitar model is so popular that is still being manufactured today!
The original model was produced with a sunburst finish, a solid once-piece maple neck with 21 frets, dot inlays, and Kenson machine heads. Dupont automobile lacquers were used in the day to customize colours. The white pick guard hid the electronic components of the Strat. The resonance of the original is still sought after worldwide. The phenomenal quality of this guitar did not end with the original, however.
As time progressed, Fender always kept his ear to the wall, listening to what the professionals wanted in their guitar so that he could continue to meet their needs. The Stratocaster’s contoured body fits nicely against the guitarist’s own body. It will meld and curve, allowing guitarists such as George Harrison and Buddy Holly to rest their arms on the body of the Strat, and able to grip better with the maple neck’s dogleg style headstock. The strings are anchored well with the through-body pivot bridge that is attached with springs to graze the backside as well. You used to be able to actually make the bridge float by adjusting the clawed connections. In this manner, a wider variety of sounds, tones and pitches can be made as the guitar will sing.
There were three single-coil pick-ups on the Strat, breaking way for the five pick-up selector that come with all Strats now. Eric Clapton is one who likes to use a combination of two selections for some odd, yet pleasing, sounds. Two other ways to change sound are: tones are adjustable with the use of knobs and the bridge can be slanted. Humming will not be heard, however, due to stabilization technology incorporated in the Fender Stratocasters. Hot configurations can be found that spice up the music heard.
Later the Fender Stratocaster guitar would blossom into a multi-layer design, rosewood, and ebony fretboards, and would be produced with larger headstocks to work match other series from Fender. The newest Strats off the block have bent-steel saddles on the bridge with copper infused for ultimate resonance and sustain. Hand tolled fingerboard edges still impress the musicians. String friction and breakage is minimal with the new designs. Tex-Mex pick-ups are added into some new models for a great rocking’ sound. Fender Music’s vision states what is behind every Strat pretty well” “Our vision is to champion the Spirit of Rock-N-Roll® throughout the world. The spirit is individual expression, creativity, passion, energy and YOU.” With that behind the product, how can you fail?