|Scale||25.5 in (650 mm)|
|Bridge||Usually proprietary Tremolo
|Pickup(s)||Usually 3 Single-coils|
|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 manufactured the Stratocaster continuously 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 copied electric guitar shapes. "Stratocaster" and "Strat" are trademark terms belonging to Fender.
The Fender Stratocaster was the first guitar to feature three pickups and a floating spring tension tremolo system, as well as being the first Fender with a contoured body. The Stratocaster's sleek, contoured body shape (officially referred to by Fender as the "Comfort Contour Body") 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.
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. 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.
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.
Squier models (1982–today)
In popular culture
Notable Stratocaster players
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- "1954 Limited Edition Stratocaster Owner's Manual (Catalog Copy)". FMIC. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- 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.
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- Bacon 84.
- Riley, Tim (2002). Tell me why: a Beatles commentary. Basic Books. p. 413. ISBN 978-0-306-81120-3.
- 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.
- 365 Days of Magic (2013-09-03). "365DaysOfMagic.com. Retrieved August 2013". 365daysofmagic.com. Retrieved 2013-12-14.
- Balmer, Paul (2007). The Fender Stratocaster Handbook: How to Buy, Maintain, Set Up, Troubleshoot, and Modify Your Strat. MBI. ISBN 978-0-7603-2983-2.
- Bacon, Tony. The Fender Electric Guitar Book: A Complete History of Fender Instruments. 3rd edition. Backbeat Books, 2007. ISBN 978-0-87930-897-1.
- Wheeler, Tom. The Stratocaster Chronicles: Celebrating 50 Years of the Fender Strat. Hal Leonard, 2004. ISBN 978-0-634-05678-9.
- U.S. Patent No. 2,741,146 (Tremolo device for stringed instruments; Stratocaster Tremolo system)
- U.S. Patent No. 2,960,900 (Utility patent for offset body styled guitars (Fender Jaguar/Jazzmaster))
- U.S. Patent No. D186826 (Design Patent for Fender Jazzmaster)
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