As one of the most famous electric guitars of all time, the Fender Stratocaster does it all. With 3 single coil pickups, strats can give you some smooth blues to a country twang. You can find this guitar in literally any genre. Lets take a closer look..
Used by some of the greats such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Eric Clapton, many are fully aware of the Strat’s ability to be a rocking blues machine. And the best part of this guitar is that it allows your characteristics to come through in your playing, whereas a guitar with humbucking pickups (such as a Gibson Les Paul) tend to sound similar from player to player.
The Stratocaster is equipped with one volume and two tone controls. One set controls the neck pickup, and the other set controls the middle pickup. Along with these controls comes a 5-way pickup selector. You can either play each pickup separately or team up the middle pickup with either the bridge or neck pickup. You’ll see a lot of mods online to be able to use the bridge and neck pickup together.
The majority of strats are made of alder in the body, and the neck is usually maple with either a rosewood or maple fret board. There has always been a big debate as to which fretboard wood is better. Simply put, some people prefer rosewood and others prefer maple. Maple is said to have a bit of a brighter sound. You’ll notice that in the last two years of Jimi Hendrix’s life, he primarily used 2 strats, both with maple boards.
If you want to make the best of your strat tone, then you should run it through a tube amp. Strats tend to pair up well with Marshall amps, particularly the Marshall Plexi, equipped with at least a 4×12 cab. You’ll see Hendrix rocking a row of 100w Plexis in live situations. But, we can’t forget how well strats pair with Fender Amps. Many consider blackfaced fender amps from the 60s to be some of the greatest amps of all time. I personally like a Fender Deluxe Reverb, or a Vibrolux Reverb. Once you have found your desired amp, the secret to getting amazing tone, is to crank the amp up. That means a whole lot of volume. The reason being is that it gets the tubes nice and hot and adds a lot of natural harmonics to your tone. If you are playing in an apartment or somewhere that can bother your neighbours, you may want to consider a Fender Champ coming in at 5 watts. These amps still give unbelievable tones when cranked.
All I can say is that the Fender Stratocaster is probably my favorite electric guitars, and as a blues player, it gives me that elusive tone I’ve been looking for. If you haven’t already, run to your local music store to play one. You won’t regret it! View the Fender American Standard Stratocaster on Amazon.