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I recently dusted off my much beloved (but neglected) 1986 Fender Stratocaster.  You can check it out over here on Instagram.

It got me thinking that I couldn’t possibly have a guitar blog and not dedicate a post to the might Fender Stratocaster. A firm favourite of guitar legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Ronnie Wood, the Strat has firmly secured its place in rock and roll history.

It’s more than a guitar, it’s a cultural icon.

A (brief) history lesson 

Fender launched the Stratocaster Sunburst in 1954, four years after their revolutionary Telecaster (that’s for another blog post), with a vision of topping other competitors in the market, particularly Gibson’s Les Paul which came out in 1952.

In order to try and do this, it saw Fender develop a number of firsts…


Now you may not know it but the Strat was a groundbreaking instrument of its time and brought with it a fair few firsts, not only for Fender but for the guitar world itself.

  • Triple pickup configuration with switching and controls
  • A spring tensioned bridge vibrato system (years ahead of its time I may add)
  • A slanting output jack on the face of the guitar as opposed to the side
  • Single – coil alnico 3 pickups
  • The introduction of a new contoured body shape (officially known as Comfort Contour Body)for ultimate player comfort

Although originally produced in a two colour sunburst pattern there was also the opportunity to have a custom coloured guitar for the first time and also created a handful of custom guitars for artists – something which is much more prolific today with musicians having their own ranges of guitars.

Star power

As mentioned before, the Strat has been embraced by many a guitar legend since its creation. Three years after its original production a 21 year old Texan by the name of Buddy Holly appeared on the Ed Sullivan show and introduced the Strat to an audience of US teens who were soon keen to get their hands on one.

According to Rock and Roll legend, The Shadows’ Hank Marvin (one of the first guitar heroes), became the owner of the UK’s first ever Fender Stratocaster (there was a trade ban on US goods to the UK at  the time) after seeing Holly with his on the cover of the 1957 album Chirping Cricket.

Despite being on the market for 63 years the Fender Strat really hasn’t lost its flair and ability to impress. If you can get your hands on one to have a play I’d definitely recommended it!


Larger Than Life

Check out this awesome snap I managed to take at PMT Birmingham on my Instagram of their giant ornamental strat, which is hung in their main showroom – I want this so badly, haha!


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