27 July 2007

In Honor of the 53rd Anniversary Year of the Fender Stratocaster

(photo from: Wikipedia)

My first electric guitar was a 1974 Fender Telecaster -- second hand, tin-i-ness intact and the graphic equalizer and volume knob plate incomprehensibly reversed 180 degrees. My logic at the time was that it was the same model as the guitar Bruce Springsteen was holding on the cover of his break-out album Born to Run. Wrong. The ex-Local Hero's guitar is a Fender Esquire. The distinctions between the top-of-the-line Stratocaster, the often-preferred-anyway Telecaster and the sometimes-preferred Esquire are described the comprehensive Fender Frontline 2004 Special Edition marking the Strats 50th anniversary. As that publication is rarely available, except among hard core Stat players and fans, Wikipedia has all the information, and more, on the distinctions among the Esquire, the Telecaster and the Stat.

It should be clear to all informed readers that, with Strats made when Leo Fender owned the company, this writer would list Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman during his Muscle Shoals session-man years, and Stevie Ray Vaughn took the instrument to places no one could have conceived.


Sidenote: Most Americans are unfamiliar with the work of Ben Watt of Everything but the Girl on a
British Issue Leo-era Stratocaster -- check out, for example, their Amplified Heart album. On both the Mini-Moog and British Strat, Mr. Watt -- in his spare time as he is the musical czar and director of the London Club Scene -- creates background harmony and melody guitar for chanteuse Tracey Thorn that is smoother than Smokey Robinson's voice.


Happy Anniversary "Leo's pride and joy", you got the job done for most of the living and passed-on greats since you were invented. Dig.

In part II, who played what.


1 comment:

Paco Malo said...

(via email from Gallute:)

I don’t think any serious guitar player would disagree that the Gibson guitars were and are fabulously better constructed. But there’s always been a certain Fender sound that was never duplicated. Clapton started on Gibsons early on and switched to the Strat.

(Thanks Gallute,