Saturday, April 25, 2015

What's a Stratocaster?

The Strat is probably the most iconic electric guitar. If you see a rock band, there is likely to be a Strat or a Strat clone. They sell from $50 or sixty dollars up to tens of thousands for a custom made or classic model.

Basically the Fender Stratocaster features three pickups and a floating spring tension tremelo system. It was the first guitar in this configuration. It was the first Fender with a contoured body. The  "Comfort Contour Body" is less slab like than the tele.

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.

Strats come in a variety of finishes and colors. I bought mine because I fell in love with the color, agave blue. It has a great neck and I've replaced the pickguard from plain white to a pearlized white like my thinline tele. Mine has a maple neck and maple fingerboard. I love these fender maple fingerboards. They are hard and smooth to the touch.

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. Mine has a more modern 5 position switch.

I love the sound and the feel but I've made three "mods" I added a spring to the floating tremolo so that it is not a floating tremolo anymore. Its what is often called a "hardtail" I don't use wammy's and this stabilized the tuning an feel. I added a new pickguard as mentioned above and finally, I replaced the stamped metal bridge pieces with solid chrome. This was to improve sustain but I noticed little difference.