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The Fender Standard Stratocaster has become one of the most popular and iconic guitar models in history, due as much to its sleek, player-friendly design as to its incredible variety of tones. When it was first introduced in 1954, the Strat was quite a departure from other electric guitars available at the time - most notably Gibson’s Les Paul model, introduced only two years previously, and Fender’s own Telecaster, which arguably started the solid-body electric guitar revolution just a year or so before that. The Strat’s smooth contours provided a comfortable fit against the player’s body, and the futuristic double-cutaway design not only looked exceptionally cool, but provided excellent balance and access to the upper frets. Fender’s 5-spring Synchronized Tremolo, or vibrato/whammy bar system, provided an ingenious counterpart to the Bigsby vibrato units then available. And of course, the three bright, sparkling Fender single-coil pickups provided a nearly endless variety of tones, with enough clarity and punch to stand out in the mix and still caress the ears. Early Stratocaster players such as Buddy Holly and Hank Marvin of the UK instrumental group The Shadows helped popularize the guitar, and by the late 60’s, psychedelic rock players like Jimi Hendrix left no doubt as to the sonic possibilities the Strat could achieve.
Today, the Fender Standard Stratocaster continues to be a favorite with players around the world, whether in the familiar three single-coil pickup configuration, or loaded with a humbucking dual-coil pickup at the bridge position, for a fatter, beefier tone that is less susceptible to stray electrical interference. The typical Standard Strat features a body carved from select alder or ash tonewoods, and a modern, C-shaped neck with either a gloss maple or rosewood fretboard loaded with 21 medium-jumbo frets. Other features include chrome hardware, and either the vintage-style Synchronized tremolo whammy system with improved high-mass bridge block, or a Floyd Rose unit with locking nut, for superior tuning stability when executing dive-bombing whammy bar pyrotechnics. Available colors include the ever-popular Arctic White and glossy Black, as well as Fender classics like Candy Apple Red, Lake Placid Blue, Midnight Wine, and, of course, Brown Sunburst.
The Fender Standard Stratocaster has certainly earned its place in history. Players as diverse as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler, and blues legend Buddy Guy have all made their mark playing Strats. Grab one today and make yours!
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