Fender Stratocaster

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Fender Stratocaster
Fender strat.jpg
Manufacturer Fender
Period 1954–present
Body type Solid
Neck joint Bolt-on
Scale 25.5 in (648 mm)
Body Alder
Neck Maple
Fretboard Maple
Pao Ferro
Bridge Usually proprietary Tremolo
Pickup(s) Usually 3 Single-coils or 2 Single-coils with Hot Bridge Humbucker on certain models
Colors available
Various 2- or 3-color sunbursts
Various shades of white, blue, red, green, etc.

The Fender Stratocaster is a model of electric guitar designed in 1954 by Leo Fender, Bill Carson, George Fullerton, and Freddie Tavares. The Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has continuously manufactured the Stratocaster from 1954 to the present. It is a double-cutaway guitar, with an extended top "horn" shape for balance. Along with the Gibson Les Paul, it is one of the most often emulated electric guitar shapes.[1][2] "Stratocaster" and "Strat" are trademark terms belonging to Fender.

The Stratocaster is a versatile guitar, usable for most styles of music and has been used in many genres, including country, rock, pop, soul, rhythm and blues, blues, jazz, punk, and heavy metal.

Design developments[edit]

The Fender Stratocaster was the first guitar to feature three pickups and a spring tension tremolo system, as well as being the first Fender with a contoured body.[3] The Stratocaster's sleek, contoured body shape (officially referred to by Fender as the "Comfort Contour Body"[4][5]) differed from the flat, slab-like design of the Telecaster. The Stratocaster's double cutaways allowed players easier access to higher positions on the neck.[6]

Buddy Holly's Stratocaster

Starting in 1954, the Stratocaster was offered with a solid, deeply contoured ash body, a 21-fret one-piece maple neck with black dot inlays, and Kluson tuning heads. The color was originally a two color sunburst pattern, although custom color guitars were produced (most famously Eldon Shamblin's gold Stratocaster, dated 6/1954). In 1956, Fender began using alder for sunburst and most custom color Stratocaster bodies; ash was still used on translucent blonde instruments.[7] In 1960, the available custom colors were standardized, many of which were automobile lacquer colors from DuPont available at an additional 5% cost. A unique single-ply, 8-screw hole white pickguard held all electronic components except the recessed jack plate—facilitating easy assembly.

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.[8] In 1977 Fender introduced a 5-way selector making such pickup combinations more stable.[9]

Squier models (1982–today)[edit]

Main article: Squier

The Squier Stratocaster is manufactured and sold by Squier, a marque of Fender.[10]

In popular culture[edit]

A larger-than-life replica of the Fender Stratocaster appears outside the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.[11]

Notable Stratocaster players[edit]

In 1965, George Harrison and John Lennon 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.[12][13][14][15]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ D'arcy, David (November 12, 2000). "ART/ARCHITECTURE; Strummed by One Hand, Sculptured by Another". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  2. ^ Ed Mitchell (Total Guitar) (2011-12-28). "IN PRAISE OF: The Fender Stratocaster | IN PRAISE OF: The Fender Stratocaster". MusicRadar. Retrieved 2013-12-14. 
  3. ^ Fricke, David. "American Icons: The Stratocaster". proquest.com. Rolling Stone. 
  4. ^ "1954 Limited Edition Stratocaster Owner's Manual (Catalog Copy)". FMIC. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Duchossoir, A. R. (1994). Hal Leonard: The Fender Stratocaster. Hal Leonard; Special 40th Anniversary Edition (1994). pp. 8, 9, 51. ISBN 0-7935-4735-0. 
  6. ^ Balmer 20.
  7. ^ Balmer 21.
  8. ^ Balmer 23.
  9. ^ "Fender Stratocaster History: The evolution of an icon". Carlos Eduardo Seo. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  10. ^ Balmer, Paul (2007). The Fender Stratocaster Handbook: How to Buy, Maintain, Set Up, Troubleshoot, and Modify Your Strat. MBI. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-7603-2983-2. 
  11. ^ 365 Days of Magic (2013-09-03). "365DaysOfMagic.com. Retrieved August 2013". 365daysofmagic.com. Retrieved 2013-12-14. 
  12. ^ Balmer 154.
  13. ^ Babiuk, Andy (2002). Beatles gear. Hal Leonard. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-87930-731-8. 
  14. ^ Bacon 84.
  15. ^ Riley, Tim (2002). Tell me why: a Beatles commentary. Basic Books. p. 413. ISBN 978-0-306-81120-3. 


External links[edit]