About Stratocaster Guitars
Officially, Stratocaster guitars are produced by two brands. Squier Stratocaster guitars are the most affordable Stratocaster option. They are made outside the United States. Fender Stratocaster guitars are made in either Mexico or the United States. This product collection features official Stratocaster variations from Squier and Fender. However, you'll also find Stratocaster-inspired instruments from other manufacturers. This list includes the John Mayer signature guitar, the PRS Silver Sky. Strat players also love the G&L Legacy electric guitars, designed by one of the creators of the original Strat, Leo Fender. Whichever Stratocaster guitar you choose, you're sure to find plenty to love.
The Stratocaster double-cutaway electric guitar was designed in 1954 by Leo Fender, Bill Carson, Freddie Tavares and George Fullerton. It is one of the most frequently emulated guitar shapes, and has been continuous production since it was interoduced. For guitarists in the 1950s, the Strat was a sleek and sexy, futuristic-looking guitar, with offset horns for better balance and enhanced playability. The offset horns, with a longer top horn, shifted the Strat's weight toward the neck and provided easier access to higher neck positions. Overall, the Stratocaster Comfort Contour Body was shaped to better conform with the player’s anatomy. Its newly-designed Strat vibrato system was a lightweight alternative to the more massive Bigsby rigs that were becoming more popular in the mid 1950s. A highly versatile guitar, the Stratocaster is a popular choice for guitarists playing almost every style of music. You'll hear unmistakable Stratocaster tone in rock, R&B, blues, jazz, punk, pop, country, reggae, folk, soul, and many more.
The Stratocaster was the first electric guitar featuring three single-coil pickups and a spring tension vibrato system. While there have been many variations on the Stratocaster over the years, the same basic design, with contoured body, bolt-on 25.5-in. scale length neck, three pickups and vibrato system, has continuously remained at the heart of the Strat legacy. The Strat's three pickup design featured a bridge pickup, middle pickup and neck pickup, and a middle pickup wired in reverse, giving its magnets the opposite polarity. The Stratocaster originally featured a 3-way pickup selector switch. Guitarists eventually discovered that they could engage the middle pickup with either the bridge or neck pickup by jamming the switch in between positions.
When two Stratocaster pickups are selected at the same time, they are wired in parallel. This creates a slight drop in output as slightly more current passes to the ground wire. Since the Strat's middle pickup has reverse polarity, it creates a spaced humbucking pickup pair. This significantly reduces 50/60 cycle hum, the electric buzz you hear through the amp with the guitar strings at rest. Many years later, in 1977, the 5-way selector switch was introduced and became the standard for new Stratocaster guitars. The 5-way switch made the previously in-between pickup combinations more stable. The Strat-quack tone of the middle and bridge pickups being used simultaneously was popularized by guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Mark Knopfler, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton.
Musician's Friend has the best selection of Stratocaster guitars. You'll also find a wealth of Stratocaster starter packs with everything you need to start playing guitar. Whether you're looking for Squier's low prices or Fender's quality, you'll find it here at the guaranteed lowest price.