by Bill McRea
The very first guitar I ever played was a Candy Apple Red Fender Stratocaster. It was love at first touch. I wanted that guitar SO bad. I grew up listening to Eric Clapton, David Gilmore and Jimmy Hendrix, and during my college years I was a huge fan of Stevie Ray Vaughn. The Fender Stratocaster was the guitar of choice for these incredible guitar players and many more.
Fender Stratocaster Soundcheck
My tasted in guitars evolved as I learned, and I discovered that every guitar had their own personality in my hands. Some were sassy and bright, others were bad and loud, and still others just wanted to sing the blues. One of the coolest parts about owning a music store was being able to play thousands of different guitars of all makes and styles.
But my roots have always been with the Fender Strat. The secret to the amazing tone for the Strat lies in the traditional single could pickups, two piece body and the types of tone woods used to make the guitar. Fender offers the same pickups played by Jimmy Hendrix, or Eric Clapton. Fenders custom shop ’69 pickups will do the trick, or if you’re into Stevie Ray Vaughn you need Fenders Tex-Mex specials.
Probably the best way to play the same guitar as your guitar heroes is to purchase their signature model. Fender has signature models available for Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Robert Cray, Robin Trower, Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Buddy Guy, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eric Johnson and more.
Rather a “c” or “v” neck dressed up in maple or rosewood, nothing feels like a Stratocaster and nothing plays or sounds the same. In everyone’s life a little rain must fall, and in every guitarist life a Stratocaster must be played.
Strat’s are best known for their warm unique tone, but not all Strat’s are created equally. The tonal range will depend on the tone woods used in the neck and body as well as the type and configuration of pickups. When selecting a Strat to purchase take your time and research the various online forums to learn everything about the model you want to purchase. You may even want to visit your local retailer and play a few, just to get a better feel for the playability of the model you desire. Sometimes you may find that what you think you want and what you really like are quite different. Once you are convinced of what you HAVE TO HAVE, you should check out the various online retailers. In most cases you will find better prices on line then at your local store.
Buying your Strat will be one of the best days of your life. So enjoy every moment and remember that you are not purchasing just a guitar, you are purchasing something from your dreams.