The legendary and iconic Fender Stratocaster has been the axe of choice by some of the best solo lead guitarists in the rock arena. Probably the main reason is the versatility of the Stratocaster. What makes the Stratocaster unique and special?
Well, first of all, it's a Fender. Fender guitars have been in the business of making electric guitars for more than seventy years. And the Stratocasters have been around nearly as long, sixty-six years.
The Stratocaster was first produced in 1954. But the Stratocaster's "perfected" form appeared in 1957. And little has changed with the design and functions of the Stratocaster since then.
First, the Stratocaster's machine head is arranged in line.
Then, the Stratocaster has three pick-ups: the bridge, the middle, and the neck. But there are only two tone knobs. They control the middle and the neck pick-ups. The third knob, nearest the bridge, is the master volume control.
The Stratocaster has a 3-phase slide selector that selects which pick-up is on. Position 1 - neck; 2 - middle; 3 - bridge. However, guitarists have toyed with an "in between" option -- in between 1 and 2, and in between 2 and 3. This creates an out of phase effect similar to a humbucker.
Lastly, the improved tremolo using a suspended bridge.
Here's our Top 10 Stratocaster Guitarists.
1. Jimi Hendrix.
With Jimi Hendrix, Rule #1 is: There are no rules. He experimented with his Stratocaster and pushed it to the limit. He brought the Stratocaster to the next level at a time when the electric guitar was still gaining its central role in the rock and roll arena.
2. Eric Clapton.
Influenced largely by Jimi Hendrix and Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton turned from using a Gibson Les Paul to a Fender Stratocaster. His first ever Stratocaster was a brown sunburst he named "Brownie".
3. Jeff Beck.
He created multiple innovative tones from his vintage white Stratocaster. Bunched together with the legendary Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, as a member of the Yardbirds. But he achieved success as a solo artist because of his versatility. He was a virtuoso on his Stratocaster.
4. Ritchie Blackmore.
He brought the Stratocaster into the heavy metal era with his smooth lead guitar licks. His 1968 Black Strat has become legendary. "A Fender sounded very clean; with a Gibson pick-up you got a certain amount of sustain, but a Fender is right to the point and very unforgiving," Ritchie Blackmore said in a 1997 interview with Vintage Guitar Magazine.
5. Rory Gallagher.
He was one of the reasons Eric Clapton returned to playing the blues. When Jimi Hendrix was asked what it felt like to be the best rock guitarist in the world, Jimi said, "Ask Rory Gallagher."
6. Stevie Ray Vaughan.
He named his 1963 Stratocaster "Number One" a.k.a his First Wife. Stevie Ray Vaughan sings and plays the blues like a black man with a lot of soul. His Stratocaster appears worn out, but not the sound.
7. David Gilmour.
Pink Floyd. His axe was a Black Stratocaster. Strongly influenced by the blues, David Gilmour used a lot of sustains in his compositions.
8. Mark Knopfler.
The tone on his lead solos sound bright, crisp, and clean. He does this by plucking his strings nearer the bridge, than the middle.
9. Yngwie Malmsteen.
His vintage white Stratocaster with super raised frets and scalloped fingerboard is revolutionary. He shreds his Stratocaster with mind-bending phrasings, taking it to a whole new era.
10. Nile Rodgers.
His iconic 1959-60 Stratocaster is customised with a chrome scratch guard. He was the ultimate musical collaborator.
Did we miss any of your Top 10 Stratocaster Guitarists?