Fender Stratocaster

Fender Stratocaster
Fender Stratocaster
Fender Stratocaster 004-2.jpg
Solid, Double Cut
Bolt-on (set-in neck on certain models).
25.5" (24.75" on some models)
Alder, Ash, Poplar (limited edition guitars available in a variety of woods including basswood, mahogany and koa (none of which is plywood) with flamed, spalted or quilted maple tops and black, cream or ivory body and neck binding)
Maple, Rosewood, Pau Ferro, Ebony (Many models usually have 21 vintage frets, white or black dots and 7.25" radius; higher-end contemporary versions had 22 jumbo frets, abalone dot inlays and 9.5" radius)
Synchronized tremolo (Some models came with a hardtail bridge or a Floyd Rose locking tremolo)
3 or 2 single-coils, with the latter having a hot humbucker in the bridge position,[1] with the exception of the Acoustasonic Strat and Stratacoustic models, the only acoustic Stratocasters.[1] Most Stratocasters generally came with a pickguard; on certain high-end versions, the pickguard is absent. There are also select models that come with active electronics and HSH, HHH, HH or H pickup configurations.

Humbucker-equipped Strats are often referred to as "Fat Strats", in reference to the fact that humbucking pickups usually tend to have more bass in the output signal than single coils, thus making the sound "fatter".

Standard Series :[1] Brown Sunburst, Black, Arctic White, Lake Placid Blue, Candy Apple Red, Midnight Wine, Copper Metallic Sunburst

American Standard Series (as of 2008):[1] Black, 3-Color Sunburst, Olympic White, Blizzard Pearl, Charcoal Frost Metallic, Candy Cola (alder), Sienna Sunburst (ash)

American Special Series (as of 2010): 3-Color Sunburst, 2-Color Sunburst, Black, Candy Apple Red, Olympic White

Black Top Series (as of 2010): Black, Candy Apple Red, Sonic Blue

American Deluxe Series (as of 2010):[1] Amber, Tungsten, Sunset Metallic, 3-Color Sunburst, Tobacco Sunburst, Midnight Wine Transparent, Aged Cherry Sunburst, Olympic White Pearl, Black, Candy Apple Red, 2-Color Sunburst

Highway One Series[1] Midnight Wine, Flat Black, White Blonde, 3-Color Sunburst, Daphne Blue, Honey Blonde

Road Worn Series: 50s - 2-Color Sunburst, Black 60s - 3-Color Sunburst, Olympic White

Other colors may be available

The Fender Stratocaster, often referred to as "Strat", is a model of electric guitar designed by Leo Fender, George Fullerton, and Freddie Tavares in 1954, and manufactured continuously by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation to the present. It is a double-cutaway guitar, with an extended top horn for balance while standing. The Stratocaster has been used by many leading guitarists and can be heard on many historic recordings. Along with the Gibson Les Paul, the Gibson SG and the Fender Telecaster, it is one of the most common and enduring models of electric guitar in the world. The design of the Stratocaster has transcended the field of music to rank among the classic industrial designs of all time; examples have been exhibited at major museums around the world.[2][3]

In its original form, the Stratocaster was offered in a 2-color sunburst finish on a solid, deeply contoured ash body, a one-piece maple neck with 21 frets, black dot inlays, and Kluson machine heads, until 1956, when Fender started making bodies made from solid alder.[4] There was also a set of available custom colors that wasn't standardized until 1960. These custom colors were mostly automobile lacquer colors made by Dupont and could be had for an extra 5% cost. The single-ply, 8-screw hole white pickguard was a unique concept that allowed mounting all electronic components—except the recessed jack plate—in one easily removed assembly. Subsequent Stratocaster designs (by both Fender and imitators) may or may not have improved on the original in usability and sound, but vintage Fender models are still often worth large amounts of money, and many prefer the timbre of older models.

The Stratocaster has been widely copied; as a result, the term "Strat," although a trademark of Fender Musical Instrument Corporation, is often used generically when referring to any guitar that has the same general features as the original, regardless of manufacturer.

It has become popular for music genres like rock, pop, and blues.


Design and popularity changes

The Stratocaster's sleek, contoured body shape (officially referred to by Fender[citation needed] as the "Comfort Contour Body") was markedly different from the flat, slab-like design of the Telecaster. Its double cutaways allowed players easier access to higher positions on the neck.[5] The body features a recessed "beer gut" curve on the upper back and a gradual chamfer at the front, where the player's right arm rests. The one-piece maple neck's wider "dogleg"-style headstock again contrasted with the very narrow Fender Telecaster's headstock shape. The strings are anchored on a through-body pivot bridge attached with springs to a 'claw' in the tremolo cavity on the back of the guitar.

Original Stratocasters were shipped with five springs anchoring the bridge flat against the body. Players were able to remove the backplate covering the bridge, remove two of the springs and adjust the claw screws to allow the bridge to 'float,' with the pull of the strings in one direction countering the pull of the springs in the opposite direction. Once in the floating position, players could move the tremolo arm mounted on the bridge up or down to modulate the pitch of the notes being played. Some players, such as Eric Clapton, who dislike the tuning instability of floating bridge Stratocasters, 'block' the tremolo bridge by wedging a piece of wood between the bridge block and the inside cutout of the tremolo cavity and increasing the tension on the tremolo springs. These procedures lock the bridge in a fixed position. Some Strats have a fixed bridge in place of the tremolo assembly; these are colloquially called "hard-tails."

The Stratocaster features three single coil pickups, with the output originally selected by a 3-way switch. Guitarists soon discovered that by jamming the switch in between the 1st and 2nd position, both the bridge and middle pickups could be selected, and similarly, the middle and neck pickups could be selected between the 2nd and 3rd position.[6] This trick became widespread and Fender responded with the 5-way pickup selector (a standard feature since 1977), which allowed these tonal combinations and provided better switching stability.

The "quacky" tone of the middle and bridge pickups, popularized by players such as David Gilmour, Rory Gallagher, Mark Knopfler, Bob Dylan, Scott Thurston, Eric Clapton and Robert Cray, can be obtained by using the pickup selector into positions 2 and 4. The neck and middle pickups are each wired to a tone control that incorporates a single, shared tone capacitor, whereas the bridge pickup, which is slanted towards the high strings for a more trebly sound, has no tone control for maximum brightness. On many modern Stratocasters, the first tone affects the neck pickup; the second tone affects the middle and bridge pickups; on some Artist Series models (Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy signature guitars), the first tone is a presence circuit that cuts or boosts treble and bass frequencies, affecting all the pickups; the second tone is an active midrange booster that boosts the midrange frequencies up to 25dB (12dB on certain models) to produce a fatter humbucker-like sound.

The volume level on all three pickups is controlled by a single volume knob. The placement of the knobs allows for relatively easy manipulation of the sound with the right hand while playing.

The three pickups were originally identical in their construction. With the rising popularity of using pickups in combination, Fender introduced a new feature in 1977 coinciding with the standard 5-position switch; a reverse-wound, reverse-polarity middle pickup. As the description implies, the magnetic polarity of this pickup is opposite the other two, as is the direction of the wire winding around the bobbin. This provides a hum-canceling effect (removing hum induced by poorly shielded, medium to high output AC devices) in positions 2 and 4 on the selector switch. This principle had been known for many years beforehand, being applied in the form of Gibson's humbucking pickup and Fender's own split-coil pickup used on the Precision Bass. Today, virtually all Fender instruments with more than one single-coil pickup (most notably the Stratocaster, Telecaster and Jazz Bass) are wired in such a manner as to provide a hum-canceling combination of pickups.

At one point, Fender switched to producing guitars with the bridge pickup, located farthest from the highest-amplitude portion of the vibrating strings, slightly "over-wound", thus increasing the signal output from that pickup. Even more overwound pickups ("hot-wired" designs) became popular, either for all three pickups (a "hot" configuration), or for the bridge position only (so-called "Texas Hot" due to its popularity among Southern Rock guitarists).

Buddy Holly playing his Stratocaster on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958

The Stratocaster is noted for its bright, clean and 'twangy' sounds. The neck pickup has a mellower, fuller and louder sound compared to the brighter and sharper tone of the bridge pickup. The middle pickup provides a sound somewhere between the two.

Buddy Holly was one of the pioneers of the Stratocaster and used the instrument on virtually all of his songs with the Crickets. During the recording of "Peggy Sue", rhythm guitarist Niki Sullivan was not needed for the song, and instead stood next to Holly, and flipped the selector switch of Holly's guitar from the neck pickup to the bridge pickup for the guitar solo.

From 1959 to 1967, the Stratocaster was made with a rosewood fretboard as standard, as well as color choices other than sunburst, including a variety of colorful car-like paint jobs that appealed to the nascent surfer and hot-rod culture, pioneered by such bands as the Surfaris, the Ventures and the Beach Boys. Fender would paint any guitar from the DuPont car color range for 5% over purchase price. Dick Dale is a prominent Stratocaster player who also collaborated with Leo Fender in developing the Fender Showman amplifier. In the early 1960s, the instrument was also championed by Hank Marvin—guitarist for the Shadows, a band that originally backed Cliff Richard and then produced instrumentals of its own. So distinctive was Hank Marvin's sound that many musicians, including the Beatles, initially deliberately avoided the Stratocaster[citation needed]. However, in 1965, George Harrison and John Lennon of the Beatles both acquired Stratocasters and used them for Help!, Rubber Soul and later recording sessions; the double unison guitar solo on "Nowhere Man" is played by Harrison and Lennon on their new Stratocasters.[7][8][9][10]

Eric Clapton plays his signature model at the Tsunami Relief concert, January 22, 2005

The one-piece maple neck was discontinued in 1958. From 1958 until summer 1964 the fingerboard was a piece of rosewood milled flat on the underside and glued to the maple. This has become known as a "slab fingerboard". The slab fingerboard was approx 4.8 mm at its thickest point in the centre of the neck under strings 3 and 4. From mid 1964 until 1979 the rosewood and maple were pre radiused and the fingerboard became known as curved, round laminate or "veneer", having an even thickness across the neck unlike the previous slab type. This design change was made because Fender encountered problems with some of the necks twisting with the slab design and this new method of construction reduced this problem significantly. Maple fingerboards were available as a special order only. The following year the pickguard design changed to a 3-ply (4-ply on some colors) "multi-layer" with 11 screw holes. After purchasing Fender in 1965, CBS began to offer both a maple neck with a separate glued-on laminated maple fretboard in 1967 (known as a "maple cap" neck) and the rosewood fretboard over maple neck remaining the other neck option. Two years later, the CBS-owned Fender companies re-introduced the 1-piece maple neck after a 10-year absence. The primary reason for the switch to rosewood in 1959 was that Gibson guitars had rosewood fingerboards and customers wanted this and that the maple fingerboards discolored very quickly because the old nitro cellulose lacquer was not very durable and wore through on the fretboard very fast. Since the introduction of the Fender Stratocaster Ultra series in 1989, ebony was officially selected as a fretboard material on some models (although several Elite Series Stratocasters manufactured in 1983/84 such as the Gold and Walnut were available with a stained ebony fretboard). In December 1965 the Stratocaster was given a broader headstock with altered decals to match the size of the Jazzmaster and Fender Jaguar

CBS buys Fender and player modifications

A wine red 1979 Stratocaster Left-Handed.

Many artists discovered that the 3-way pickup selector could be lodged in between settings (often using objects such as matchsticks or toothpicks to wedge it in position) for further tonal variety, resulting in a unique sound when two pickups are combined. Jimi Hendrix would also move the switch across the settings while sustaining a note, creating a characteristic 'wobbly' sound, similar to that created by the wah-wah pedal. Since 1977, the Stratocaster has been fitted with a 5-way switch to make such switching more stable. This switch is the same electrically as the original 3-way, but with extra detents for the in-between settings. Other subtle changes were also made to the guitars over the years, but the basic shape and features of the Strat have remained unchanged. In the 1970s and 1980s, some guitarists began modifying their Stratocasters with humbucking pickups, especially in the bridge position, to create what became known as a Fat Strat. This was intended to provide a thicker tone preferred in the heavier styles of hard rock and heavy metal. The popularity of this modification grew and eventually, Fender began manufacturing models with a bridge humbucker option (HSS), denoted and separated from the original triple single coil by the title of "Fat Strat", as a reference to the humbucker's distinct sound, as well as models with dual humbuckers (HH), better known as "Double Fat Strats". Fender also started making Stratocaster pickguards specially designed for guitar bodies routed for HSH (humbucker-single-humbucker) and HHH (humbucker-humbucker-humbucker) pickup configurations.

Since 1998, many high-end US-made Fender Stratocasters such as the American Deluxe, American, Hot Rodded American, American Special and American Standard series came with an HSH pickup rout instead of a "swimming pool" (or "bath tub") cavity to increase the total amount of wood that actually can resonate, producing a more complex tone. The HSH rout allows players to modify their pickups to the most often seen after-market configurations without re-routing or cutting into their guitar's body, while maintaining more wood than a "swimming pool" rout.

Players perceived a loss of the initial high quality of Fender guitars after the company was taken over by CBS in 1965. As a result, the late-'60s Stratocasters with the large "CBS" headstock and (from the mid 70s) the 3-bolt necked models (instead of the conventional 4 bolts) with the "Bullet" truss-rod and the MicroTilt adjustment system fell out of fashion. However, many blues-influenced artists of the late '60s soon adopted the Stratocaster as their main instrument, reviving the guitar's popularity. Also, so-called 'pre-CBS' Stratocasters are, accordingly, quite sought-after and expensive due to the perceived difference in quality even compared with contemporary post-CBS models. In recent times, some Stratocasters manufactured from 1954 to 1958 have sold for more than US$175,000.

After a peak in the 1970s, driven by the use of several high profile players, another lull occurred in the early 1980s. During that time, CBS-Fender cut costs by deleting features from the standard Stratocaster line, despite a blues revival that featured Strat players such as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray and Buddy Guy in their choice of the Stratocaster as a primary blues-rock guitar.[citation needed] Yngwie Malmsteen is known for playing a Stratocaster in the Neo-Classical genre.

1982/3 Dan Smith Fender Stratocaster

In 1981 Fender-CBS hired William Schultz, John McLaren, and Dan Smith away from the U.S. division of Yamaha. Schultz became the president of Fender-CBS, McLaren the managing director while Smith was appointed the director of marketing for Fender electric guitars. In a drive to rejuvenate the quality control and Fender's market position, Dan Smith oversaw an upgrading of the basic production model Stratocaster and by late 1981 the new production model was unveiled as the 1982 Stratocaster. It featured a pre-CBS smaller headstock (compared to the 1980 "Strat"), a four bolt neck plate, an overwound X-1 pickup (introduced on the 1980 "Strat" model) in the bridge position and a body end truss-rod adjustment without the Bullet nut. These are known today as "Dan Smith" Stratocasters and prized by collectors for the attempted, albeit brief, return to pre-CBS stylings.

The following year the Standard model received a short-lived redesign seeking to reduce production costs and price on American Stratocasters. This revised version lacked a second tone control, a newly designed Freeflyte vibrato system, and a bare-bones output jack. A reshaped ‘Comfort Contour’ body with deeper forearm and waist contours similar to an early 1960s model was introduced. What it did retain was the 70s-style headstock decal. The 1982/83 version of the Standard Stratocaster has little in common with the Dan Smith guitar, apart from the period in which they were sold, but is sometimes informally (and controversially) presented as a "Dan Smith-era" or "Redesign" guitar. After the Standard Stratocaster was discontinued in 1984, Fender Japan produced a 22-fret version with a flat 9.5" radius and medium-jumbo fretwire until 1986.[11]

Squier models (1982–today)

After Fender's decision in 1982 to switch Squier's production from strings to guitars, the Stratocaster was one of the first models put under the Squier production line in Japan. It was the most commercially successful guitar Fender had produced. Originally in 1982, the headstock had a "Fender" name written in large script, followed by "Squier series" in smaller script. In 1983, this was later changed to the current '70s large headstock featuring "Squier" in larger script, followed by "by Fender" in smaller script. Since then, there have been several variations of headstock size and Squier logos, typically based on what series the guitar is.

In 2002, for the 20th anniversary of the Squier line of Stratocaster guitars, that year's model was offered in a limited-edition green finish, as well as a "Freedom of Expression Since 1982" engraved neck bolt cover.

In 2008 Squier released its Classic Vibe series. A series of electric guitars and basses mirroring classic Fender designs of the 50's and 60's. Each roughly reflecting the hardware, woods, color variations, finishes, body contours, and tonal characteristics of their respective era; although Squier state that the series was not created to be completely era correct, but rather impart the 'vibe' of a classic Fender design. Believed to be Squier's attempt at bringing back the vintage-quality feel, look, and sound of their first series of guitars in 1982.

Fender 1985–1998

When the Fender company was bought from CBS by Bill Schultz in 1985, manufacturing resumed its former high quality and Fender was able to regain market share and brand reputation. This sparked a rise in mainstream popularity for vintage (and vintage-style) instruments. Dan Smith, with the help of John Page, proceeded to work on a reissue of the most popular guitars of Leo Fender's era. They decided to manufacture two Vintage reissue Stratocaster models, a maple-fretboard 1957 and a rosewood-fretboard 1962 along with the maple-fretboard 1952 Telecaster, the maple-fretboard 1957 and rosewood-fretboard 1962 Precision Basses, as well as the rosewood-fretboard "stacked knob" 1962 Jazz Bass. This project was very important and critical to the company's survival. These first few years (1982–1984) of reissues, known as American Vintage Reissues, are now high-priced collector's items and considered as some of the finest to ever leave Fender's Fullerton plant, which closed its doors in late 1984.

In 1985, Fender's US production of the Vintage reissues resumed into a new factory at Corona, located about 20 miles away from Fullerton. Some early reissues from 1986 were crafted with left over parts from the Fullerton factory. These three guitars form an important part of the American Vintage Series line since July 10, 1998.

Current models

A 2004 maple fretboard Mexican Standard Stratocaster next to a Vox amplifier.

As of 2007, Fender offers a wide line of Stratocasters alongside vintage reissues, as well as maintaining a "Custom Shop" service that builds guitars to order. Those who wish period-accurate replicas can request Stratocasters with original cloth-coated wiring, pickup and electronics designs, wood routing patterns, and even artificial aging and oxidizing of components using the Custom Shop "relic" process.

American Deluxe Series

The American Deluxe Series Stratocasters came with a variety of high-end options such as a Fender DH-1 humbucker in the bridge position and an American 2-point locking vibrato bridge (Fender/Floyd Rose assembly) with LSR Roller Nut, locking tuners on certain models and Samarium Cobalt Noiseless pickups with S-1 switching. Guitars produced before 2004 featured Vintage Noiseless pickups and 4-bolt neck fixing. The contoured neck heel feature on these Stratocasters was added in 2002. The American Deluxe Stratocaster HSS (also known as American Deluxe Fat Strat) is the same guitar except for the addition of a Fender DH-1 humbucker in the bridge position and two Hot SCN pickups for a proper balance with the humbucking pickup. The American Deluxe Strat HSS LT had the same specifications as the Stratocaster HSS, with an additional feature; the strings lock into the bridge, LSR roller nut and locking machine heads. Introduced in 1998 and upgraded in 2004, the American Deluxe Strat HSS LT has been discontinued as of 2007. As of March 23, 2010, Fender updated the American Deluxe series with N3 noiseless pickups for improved Stratocaster tones. The S-1 switch has been reconfigured for wider tonal options and the necks now feature a vintage tint and compound radius fretboards for increased comfort while chording and soloing. The HSS models also sport Fender's "Passing Lane" switch, which routes the signal from any pickup position to the bridge position with the tone circuit bypassed.

American Standard Series

American Series Stratocasters came with alder or ash bodies, rolled fingerboard edges, three custom "modern" staggered single-coils and the DeltaTone system (which includes a high output bridge pickup and a reverse-wound single-coil in the middle position). Hardtail versions were discontinued in 2007. New for 2003 was the American Strat HSS, which features a Diamondback humbucker (bridge), two Tex-Mex single-coils (neck/middle) and S-1 switching. An HH model with dual Sidewinder/Black Cobra humbuckers was offered until 2007.

As of 2008, the American Standard Stratocasters (which are updates to the American Series line) come with hand-rolled fingerboard edges, alnico V pickups, staggered tuners, improved bridge with bent steel saddles and copper-infused high-mass block for increased resonance and sustain, tinted neck, high-gloss maple or rosewood fretboard, satin neck back for smooth playability, thin-finish undercoat that lets the body breathe and improves resonance, and Fender exclusive SKB molded case. Fender offered a 2009 Limited Edition American Standard Stratocaster featuring a matching headstock, a rosewood fretboard with 22 jumbo frets and a melamine nut (available in Surf Green, Fiesta Red and Daphne Blue).

Highway One Series

Highway 1 Stratocaster

The Highway-1 series, originally introduced in 2002 and re-designed in 2006, are made in the U.S. and incorporate a hybrid of hardware; the tuners and string trees are similar in design and quality to those on American Series instruments, while the bridge hardware is largely similar to the Standard Series. The body finish is a thin satin-finish nitrocellulose as opposed to the thick polyurethane coating used on both Standard and American series models. This coating provides a very vintage look, as nitrocellulose was the standard lacquer finish for vintage Strats. Highway 1 Strats use hotter Alnico III pickup polepieces similar to those on American Series guitars, giving a very bright sound compared to cheaper "ceramic" polepiece elements, and also feature a tone circuit called the Greasebucket, first seen on the Custom Pro series guitars; functionally similar to a traditional tone control, it provides a more natural roll-off of high frequencies, without the bass frequencies becoming more present as can occur with traditional tone circuits. The first two years of Highway 1 instruments resembled "pre-CBS"-era instruments with the traditional headstock design, small frets and vintage color choices. Beginning in 2006, the line was redesigned to resemble 70's-era instruments with a large headstock, bigger frets, CBS-era color schemes and other visual cues. Fender discontinued the series in 2011.

American Special Series

The American Special series, new for 2010, sports many of the features found on the Highway-1 and American Standard Series guitars. Features include a solid alder body finished in a gloss urethane, 9.5"-radius maple necks with 22 jumbo frets, CBS large headstock with black Fender decals and three Texas Special pickups with 5-way switching and Fender's Greasebucket tone circuit. The HSS models feature a rosewood fingerboard, a 3-ply black pickguard and an Atomic humbucker pickup in the bridge position.

The American Special Series included Stratocasters with features that span the bridge between traditional and modern technology, either in specifications, design or both. Fender American Special series models were made in Corona, California (USA). The Floyd Rose Classic Stratocasters (made from 1992 to 2003) featured an original Floyd Rose locking tremolo bridge. They came in HSS (Fender DH-1 humbucker and 2 DeltaTone single-coils) and HH (dual Fender DH-1 humbuckers) configurations. Models manufactured before 1998 had DiMarzio PAF Pro humbucking pickups. The range also included the Honduran mahogany-bodied Strat-O-Sonic guitars with the choice of Black Dove P-90 soap-bars and Atomic II humbuckers, which lasted until 2007.

Vintage Hot Rod Series

The Vintage Hot-Rod Series feature authentic '50s and early '60s designs paired with some hot-rod modifications, including flatter fretboards and larger frets to increase the playability of necks and modern pickups.

Road Worn Series

The Road Worn series includes a '60s Stratocaster (with rosewood fretboard) and a '50s Stratocaster (with maple fretboard), Tex-Mex pickups, a C-shape neck, Alder body, nitrocellulose lacquer, and 6105 frets. These guitars are deliberately aged to produce the "road worn" look of a vintage Stratocaster. In 2011 the Roadworn Player series was introduced, and it includes two Stratocaster models sporting 3 Texas Special single-coils or 2 Texas Special single-coils (neck/middle) and a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates humbucking pickup (bridge).

Blacktop Series

In September 2010 Fender introduced the Mexican-made Black Top Stratocaster HH. This twin-humbucker model sports a pair of hot vintage alnico humbucking pickups with chrome covers, a 9.5"-radius maple neck with either rosewood or maple fingerboard and 22 medium-jumbo frets. Other features include a solid alder body with a gloss polyester finish, black skirted amp control knobs and chrome hardware. This guitar is also available with a Floyd Rose Special locking tremolo since 2011.

Pawn Shop Series

In March 2011 Fender released the Fender Pawn Shop Series guitars, which were manufactured with components and the appearance of instruments that might be found in a typical pawn shop in the 60's or 70's. Three models were released, two of which were Stratocaster based. The Fender '51 features a Strat body and a "C"-shaped Telecaster neck, with a single-coil Texas Special neck pickup, Fender Enforcer humbucking bridge pickup, maple fretboard, a 1970's-style hard-tail bridge, and a white pick guard. The Fender '72 has a semi-hollow Strat body with an f-hole, a Telecaster style neck, two humbucking pickups, and dual-knob chrome control plate with master volume and pickup blend.

Recently Discontinued

VG Stratocaster

The VG Stratocaster (designed by Fender and Japanese synthesizer giant Roland) is an American Series virtual modeling guitar with a Roland VG pickup and two extra knobs for Tuning and Mode control. The tuning knob allows the player to switch between standard, Drop D, D Modal, open G, baritone, and twelve-string tunings. The Mode control knob allows the player to choose between Stratocaster, Telecaster, humbucking pickup, and acoustic guitar sounds.[12] The VG Stratocaster was introduced in 2007 where it won "Best In Show" at the NAMM show; Fender discontinued this model as of April 1, 2009.[citation needed]

Signature models

Fender also supply a variety of signature models, each with specifications similar to those used by a well-known performer. Custom Artist guitars are the Custom Shop versions of the Artist Series line, which significantly differ from the standard production models in terms of quality and construction, making these instruments much more expensive. As well as the other Custom Shop instruments, the Custom Artist guitars are available either as Team Built or Master Built items, some being exact replications of the specific artist's original instrument, better known as "Tribute" series (featuring various degrees of "relicing", such as Closet Classic, New Old Stock, Relic and Super Relic treatments, depending the model). Artists with models available in the signature range include:

  • Jeff Beck: select alder body with a thinner C-shaped maple neck, contoured neck heel, rosewood fretboard with 22 medium-jumbo frets, three dual-coil Ceramic Vintage Noiseless pickups with 5-way switching, LSR Roller Nut, Schaller locking tuners and an American 2-point synchronized tremolo with stainless steel saddles. Available in Olympic White and Surf Green finishes (Artist Series, Custom Artist), as well as a "Custom Thinskin Nitro" version with a "Thinskin" nitrocellulose lacquer finish.
  • Ritchie Blackmore: a variety of versions, each with a 22-fret neck, CBS large headstock with '70s-style decals and two Gold Fender Lace Sensors; some variants have the neck set into the body rather than bolted on and a Roland GK2A synth pickup. Reintroduced in 2009 with a 21-fret maple neck, graduated scalloped rosewood fingerboard, Bullet truss rod nut with 3-bolt neck plate and Micro-Tilt neck adjustment, flush-mounted Jim Dunlop locking strap buttons and two Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound Flat single-coil pickups (the middle pickup is omitted, but the pickup hole for the middle pickup is still present).[13]
  • Eric Clapton: select alder body with a special soft V-shaped maple neck/fretboard, 22 vintage-style frets, three Vintage Noiseless pickups, 25dB active mid-boost circuit and a "blocked" original vintage synchronized tremolo. Available in olympic white, pewter, candy green, torino red (Artist Series), Antigua burst, gold leaf, EC grey, daphne blue, graffiti canvas, mercedes blue, black and midnight blue (Custom Artist), as well in olympic white, torino red and pewter with a "Thinskin" nitrocellulose lacquer finish (Custom Thinskin Nitro).
  • Billy Corgan: Available in Olympic White or Black satin nitro finishes with a hardtail, string through body bridge. Other unique features include a large '70s-style headstock, alder body, and three DiMarzio humbucking pickups (BC-1, Chopper and BC-2 models), two of which are signature Billy Corgan models wound specifically for this instrument.
  • Dick Dale: white pickguard with a rosewood fretboard. The whammy bar is optional.
  • Tom Delonge: Single humbucking Strat with pearloid pickguard, a Seymour Duncan Invader humbucking pickup, single volume, hardtail bridge and a maple neck with a 21-fret rosewood fingerboard and a CBS large headstock.
  • David Gilmour: Two models of Gilmour's famous "black Strat" are available from the Fender Custom Shop: One is an American '69 Strat body with an '83 remake C-shaped '57 RI maple neck (labeled as New old stock) with electronic and cosmetic modifications. The other is a"relic" style guitar that replicates the "black Strat" down to every scratch and dent. The relic version has two completely different coats of paint, just like the original.[14]
  • Buddy Guy: ash body with a V-shaped maple neck featuring a 22-fret fretboard, three Lace Sensor "Gold" single-coil pickups and a 25dB active midrange boost circuit (USA, discontinued as of 2010), alder body with a V-shaped maple neck featuring a 21-fret fretboard and three standard alnico single-coil pickups (Mexico). Available in a variety of finishes, including black with white polka dots (Mexican Artist Standard), 2-color sunburst and honey blonde transparent (USA Artist).
  • Jimi Hendrix: Left-handed vintage white body with a reverse headstock oval profile maple-cap neck. The controls and electrics are vintage-modern to ensure stability. The guitar is strung upside down with the strap button on the lower horn, the backwards 68 thick black CBS headstock decal also ensures that you will appear as Jimi in front of a mirror, projecting the image back into your eyes the "right" way round. As well as this upside-down lefty Strat for right-handed players, Fender also made four exact copies of the Vintage white Stratocaster he used in many performances, the most famous being Woodstock (1969). They dismantled the original to make as close a copy as possible, every little detail perfect. Although only one of these guitars is owned by a public person, the other three are owned by Fender, The Danneman Family and The Hendrix Estate. Fender also made a VoodooCaster, which has a right-handed body with a reverse headstock and reverse staggered-pole bridge pickup for the same effect without knocking your arm on upside down controls.
  • Eric Johnson: highly contoured two-piece select alder body finished in a "Thinskin Nitro" lacquer, one-piece quarter-sawn maple neck with a V-shaped profile, 12" fingerboard radius and 21 polished frets, Fender/Gotoh staggered vintage-style machine heads eliminating the need for a string tree and three special-design custom-wound single-coil pickups with countersunk mounting screws. Other features include a parchment '57-style pickguard, five-spring vintage tremolo, silver-painted block and '57-style string recess with no paint between the base plate and the block. Colors include White Blonde, 2-Color Sunburst, Black and Candy Apple Red. Also available as a rosewood neck version with a bound round-laminated 12"-radius rosewood fretboard, a three-ply parchment pickguard, staggered vintage-style tuners, a custom tremolo block and four brand-new finish options (including Dakota Red), three of which (Lucerne Aqua Firemist, Tropical Turquoise and Medium Palomino Metallic) are exclusive to this model.
  • Mark Knopfler: 57-style ash body with 62-style C-shaped maple neck, rosewood fretboard and 21 medium-jumbo frets, gold "transitional" headstock decals and three Fender "Texas Special" single-coil pickups with 5-way switching. Introduced in 2002.[15]
  • Yngwie Malmsteen: select alder body with a C-shaped maple neck, scalloped rosewood or maple fingerboard, 21 super-sized Jim Dunlop 6000 frets, large headstock with Bullet truss-rod and brass nut, Seymour Duncan YJM Fury single-coil pickups with 3-way switching, 3-ply W/B/W pickguard, aged plastic parts and American Vintage hardware.
  • John Mayer: features a select alder body, a thick C-shape maple neck with African rosewood fingerboard and 21 Jim Dunlop 6105 narrow-jumbo frets, American Vintage hardware and a trio of "Big Dipper" single-coils with a special "Scooped" midrange voicing and 5-way pickup switching. Available in a variety of finishes, including black with 3-ply mint green pickguard and gold hardware, 3-tone sunburst and olympic white with brown shell pickguard and as a limited-edition version with a cypress mica finish, white vintage amp knobs and a 3-ply parchment pickguard. In 2010, Fender also released a limited 500 run of John's personal BLACK1 strat.
  • Dave Murray: select alder body with a nitrocellulose lacquer finish, flat soft V-shaped maple neck with satin back, 21 medium-jumbo frets, American Vintage hardware and a humbucker/single-coil/humbucker configuration - DiMarzio Super Distortion DP100 (bridge), American Vintage '57/'62 (middle), DiMarzio PAF DP103 (neck) - with 3-way switching. Other features include chrome pickup bezels, synthetic bone nut and aged white plastic parts with black switch tip. Available in Black only and as a Japanese "Tribute" version with an original Floyd Rose locking vibrato system, dual DiMarzio Super Distortion DP100 humbucking pickups (Neck/Bridge) with a Fender Texas Special single-coil pickup (Middle), 3-way switching and an oval neck profile.
  • Bonnie Raitt: features an alder body, a narrow C-shape maple neck with a late 1960's large headstock, rosewood fretboard, 9.5" radius and 22 medium jumbo frets. Other refinements included a 3-ply white shell pickguard, three Texas Special single-coils with 5-way switching and American Vintage hardware. Available in 3-colour sunburst and desert sunset. Discontinued in 2000.
  • Jim Root: Featuring mahogany body, maple Modern C shaped neck, ebony fretboard in Flat Black finish, maple in Flat White, 22 Jumbo frets, EMG pickups, EMG 81 in bridge position, EMG 60 in neck position, strings-through-body hardtail bridge, locking tuners, 3-way switch, single volume knob and large headstock.[16]
  • Richie Sambora: features an alder body, a 22-fret neck with maple fingerboard, mother of pearl "star" fingerboard inlays, Floyd Rose "Original" locking tremolo, 25dB active mid-boost circuit with active/passive switch, two Fender Texas Special single-coil pickups (neck/middle) and a DiMarzio PAF Pro humbucker in the bridge position. Updated in 1999 with American Vintage hardware, dual-coil Ceramic Noiseless pickups and a 12dB active mid-boost preamp with "no-load" tone circuit and bypass switch. Also available as a "standard" version with a poplar body, rosewood fingerboard with 21 medium-jumbo frets, DiMarzio PAF Pro humbucker with two standard alnico single-coils and a Floyd Rose II locking tremolo. Discontinued in 2002.
  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd: based on Shepherd's own '61 Stratocaster, it features an alder body, maple neck and rosewood fretboard as well as custom-voiced Kenny Wayne Shepherd pickups. Comes in 3-tone sunburst, white with a cross graphic, or black with a racing stripe graphic.
  • Eddie Van Halen: Van Halen's "Frankenstrat" has been issued as a special issue.
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan: a reproduction of "Number One", Vaughan's favorite guitar. First offered in 1992, has a black pickguard with Vaughan's initials, three Fender Texas Special pickups, and a pau ferro fretboard.[17]

In popular culture

Fender has licensed the appearance of the Squier Stratocaster to Electronic Arts for a replica guitar controller for EA and Harmonix's Rock Band rhythm video game. A real Squier Stratocaster, retrofitted with controller electronics, is available as a "Pro Guitar" controller for Rock Band 3.

Notable Stratocaster players

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Stratocaster, Fender.com. Retrieved August 2011
  2. ^ D'arcy, David (November 12, 2000). "ART/ARCHITECTURE; Strummed by One Hand, Sculptured by Another". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9405E2DD1139F931A25752C1A9669C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  3. ^ The Fender Stratocaster: History and Overview Sam Ash Resource Center
  4. ^ Balmer 21.
  5. ^ Balmer 20.
  6. ^ Balmer 23.
  7. ^ Balmer 154.
  8. ^ Babiuk, Andy (2002). Beatles gear. Hal Leonard. p. 157. ISBN 9780879307318. http://books.google.com/books?id=zQ-5ZpoMn1AC&pg=PA157. 
  9. ^ Bacon 84.
  10. ^ Riley, Tim (2002). Tell me why: a Beatles commentary. Basic Books. p. 413. ISBN 9780306811203. http://books.google.com/books?id=lHvx9QnnorYC&pg=PA413. 
  11. ^ Duchossoir, A. R., The Fender Stratocaster, January 2008, Hal Leonard Corporation, ISBN 9780793547357
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "Fender Products: Ritchie Blackmore Stratocaster". Fender.com. 2010-01-22. http://www.fender.com/products//search.php?partno=0139010305. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  14. ^ "The David Gilmour Signature Series Stratocaster : By The Fender Custom Shop". Fender.com. http://www.fender.com/features/gilmour/. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  15. ^ "Fender Products: Mark Knopfler Stratocaster". Fender.com. 2010-01-22. http://www.fender.com/products/search.php?partno=0117800815. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  16. ^ "Fender Products: Jim Root Stratocaster". Fender.com. 2010-01-22. http://www.fender.com/products/search.php?partno=0114545706. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  17. ^ "Fender Products: Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster". Fender.com. http://www.fender.com/products/search.php?partno=0109200800. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 


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