The Top Five Most Famous Fender Stratocaster Guitars and Guitarist From 1970s
The Infamous and Ubiquitous Fender Stratocaster
The Stratocaster By Fender
Oh you've all seen it more times than you can remember. The body shape of these guitars is distinctive, and was surely eye candy from the start. The Fender Stratocaster is just tremendously cool looking, and that is all there is to it. Probably some mad scientist was hired to design the shape and feel of the thing to make it the most appealing electric guitar ever conceived of. First built in 1954 and continuously built in more variations than probably any guitar in history to this very day, and surely beyond - this guitar is surely the prized possession for many a person the world over.
Though the Fender Stratocaster or Strat is a beautiful curvy instrument that was destined for massive success on looks alone, it surely wouldn't have become the most well known electric guitar in the world (along with the Gibson Les Paul) without some serious help. As for myself, I'm forever musically lost in the classic rock of the 1970s, and in those years there were many a fine six string electric gunslinger who walked on stage with a Fender Stratocaster, and made music that is still better than a lot of what we get fed today.
Now Hendrix just barely made it into the decade of the 1970s, and we all know that pretty often the Jimi Hendrix Experience was fatal for his right handed Fender Stratocasters that he'd play upside down due to him being left handed.
Always a showman that was a fringe element to the core, had he lived then he'd not have been remembered so well, I don't think. It's said that Jeff Beck, one of the greatest living guitarist on the planet, didn't play guitar at all for six straight months after hearing Hendrix for the first time. Jeff was already quite a flashy six string killer himself, but the gritty and absolutely authentic blues represented in the late 60's by Hendrix was too real for Jeff, and he'd surely realized that ONLY Jimi Hendrix could represent the blues so authentically, and bring it to the masses. Hendrix succeeded! He also brought the poetry and poetic style lyrics of Bob Dylan into his Jimi Hendrix Experience, played one of the most legendary shows of the 60's at Woodstock, and died soon after returning to a more traditional route to the blues with The Band Of Gypsies.
From wah wah pedals, complex phrasing, lots of legato, studio stereophonic phasing, and a true blues heritage and delivery that nobody but nobody could deliver to a mostly white audience of hippies, Jimi Hendrix had it all, and delivered it to his fans from the stage, then ended his shows and the lives of his Fender Stratocaster guitars as he ended his life - burning out, instead of fading away.
Eric Clapton and "Blackie," His Famous Stratocaster Made From Parts Of Several Different 1950s Fender Strats.
Eric Clapton and "Blackie"
Eric Clapton started his career with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers and then moved on to Cream while playing Gibson Les Paul and SG guitars, but during the 1970s following in the footsteps of people like Jimi Hendrix, he started playing the Fender Stratocaster almost exclusively. Personally, I've seen Eric Clapton perform twice, and maybe I've seen "blackie," his famous Fender Stratocaster. Blackie is officially retired from the music business, that guitar has been used pretty much up, and we've all got to enjoy it at some point or another if we've got the gift of hearing.
Both of the Eric Clapton concerts that I attended were at Reunion Arena in downtown Dallas, Texas. Reunion arena was imploded just like the world trade center tower number seven on 911. It's gone, but the two shows aren't forgotten, and neither will they be so long as I am living and sentient. The first show I saw was on Eric's Journeyman album tour, and the second was on his Unplugged tour. Obviously the first tour and show that I saw featured a lot more heavy blues rock, and a ton more Fender Stratocaster. I saw him playing his Martin signature series 000 28EC the second go round, but Eric Clapton doesn't do shows any more unless he's doing an exclusively acoustic show, or a show in which he does both acoustic and electric, and once Eric Clapton went Fender Stratocaster - he's never went back!
Eric Clapton has stayed with us, and I think that he'll be with us all for a long while still. He's thought through battles with heroin, booze, cocaine, and the tragic death of a child, and yet he's still here, still valid, still making new and unique music, and still playing the fire out of his Fender Stratocaster Guitars!
Jeff Beck With His 1954 Fender Stratocaster
Jeff Beck - An Absolute "god" of Guitar, and The Fender Stratocaster
Jeff Beck got his first big job in music because Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame didn't want it, as he'd had other things to do, so Jeff Beck became a big name in The Yardbirds. Jeff Beck, however, is one of the single greatest guitarist of the past one hundred years. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, those persons can't hold a candle to Jeff Beck's shining star and expect anyone to see it - not when it comes to skill level and musical composition and inventiveness. Jeff Beck has always had those things in spades, and enough to give away and still have more than he could ever use. Jeff Beck is seriously just one of the biggest studs in electric guitar history.
I'm seriously hoping that the reader here realizes that my personal opinion is that the music and guitar playing of one Jeff Beck - is vastly superior to that of either Jimi Hendrix or the great Eric Clapton!!!
If Jeff Beck is so great as I say that he is, then why is it more people don't know about him? That's simple! Jeff doesn't sing like Jimi or Eric, but he did discover and bring Rod Stewart to the world. I'm not actually sure that was a good thing, but in any case, most of Jeff Beck's music is instrumental jazz fusion, funk, and other forms of hybrid rock and blues - Jeff is one of the most versatile guitarist ever to walk the Earth. Jeff is a musician's musician. He's not so much interested in being famous as he is in making music for music's sake, but for the record, here's some somewhat famous people that he's also recorded with: Mick Jagger, Kate Bush, Roger Waters,Donovan, Stevie Wonder, Les Paul, Zucchero, Cyndi Lauper, Brian May and ZZ Top
The Creative Genius Of Jeff Beck's Jazz Fusion - With A Fender Stratocaster
Heavy Metal Pioneer Ritchie Blackmore and His Fender Stratocaster
Ritchie Blackmore - One Of The Original Heavy Metal Guitarists
Ritchie Blackmore blazed through the seventies as the guitarist for Deep Purple where he helped to create heavy metal music. He did all of it then with a Fender Stratocaster guitar, and then he went on to form Rainbow with the late Ronnie James Dio, and you can't get any more heavy metal than that! The next two paragraphs of text are not mine, and I italicized them because of that, the following two are copy and pasted directly from Wikipedia concerning Blackmore's use of the Fender Stratocaster.
From 1970 to 1997, Blackmore almost exclusively played a Fender Stratocaster. He is also one of the first rock guitarists to have used a "scalloped" fretboard where the wood is filed and carved out into a shallow "U" shape between the frets. He often plays the riff without a pick, using two fingers to pluck the strings in fourths, but he's also using his thumb to pluck the bass notes of riff.
In the 1970s, Blackmore used a number of different Stratocasters; his main guitar (until the Long Live Rock 'n' Roll album) was a sunburst with a rosewood fingerboard that was scalloped. Blackmore added a strap lock to the headstock of this guitar as a conversation piece to annoy and confuse people.
These days Ritchie Blackmore is busy playing English Folk music with his Blackmore's Night and his pretty blond Lady singer, and we're happy to see him still making great music, and we'll all look for a possible Deep Purple and Fender Stratocaster reunion!
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow With Ronnie James Dio, "Man On The Silver Mountain."
Frank Zappa And A Fender Stratocaster!
Frank Zappa was not just a musician, he was also really a composer, and a philosopher that worked with music as if it were a canvas and he a painter portraying life through his medium of choice, and included in all of that was so much more than mere music. He captured comedy, beauty, angst and anger. Frank Zappa was one of the finest minds the USA ever produced, and in time I do believe that more and more people will feel the way that I do about Frank.
Entirely self taught Frank Zappa the composer was so prolific that few could ever hope to own or become familiar with even the half of what all he'd composed, produced, and recorded. The man's mind was so full of ideas and melodies that he's truly without comparison. To see Frank Zappa debate is to see greatness, a REAL John Galt, a man that did exactly what he wanted to do, and did so without thought of income, but he did make quite a lot of money - simply because his amazing mind and his enthusiasm were going to wind up with that regardless. Frank Zappa was indomitable, incomparable, incomprehensible until he spoke, and then he'd state his case about things in a way that few, if any alive, would be able to debate against.
The following paragraph from Wikipedia:
His later albums shared this eclectic and experimental approach, irrespective of whether the fundamental format was one of rock, jazz or classical. His lyrics—often humorously—reflected his iconoclastic view of established social and political processes, structures and movements. He was a strident critic of mainstream education and organized religion, and a forthright and passionate advocate for freedom of speech, self-education, political participation and the abolition of censorship.
Frank Zappa With His Most Famous and Much Loved "Peaches En Regalia."
Buddy Guy and His Fender Stratocaster!
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Perhaps The Best Stratocaster Guitarist Of All!
My apologies go out to anyone and everyone who's favourite guitarist that used a Fender Stratocaster to make timeless music during the decade of the 1970s and didn't get mentioned. Facts are, there are too many great Stratocaster players to mention, and due to my own personal experience with webpages, a huge top ten hub would not be very successful for me. People just aren't into reading five thousand word articles on the web!
Special apologies go out here in regards to Texas' own Stevie Ray Vaughn, perhaps the greatest Stratocaster player to have ever lived, SRV mostly was a 1980s musician that died far too young. He deserves his own web page on my subdomain, and probably several mentions and such in future articles.
Buddy Guy is another big name that came to mind, but because he is a straight forward Blues musician, he didn't make this list that is more dedicated to Rock or genres associated with or stemming out of a very large general Rock and Roll genre. Top Five Bluesmen Of the !970's to present, or something like that, would certainly include Buddy Guy.
David Gilmore is another big name and wonderful guitarist that comes to mind. David is the man who brought Fender guitars into psychedelic music with Pink Floyd, if you don't like Pink Floyd, then I just don't know what to do with you!
What would a discussion of 1970s guitarist be without the mention of James Patrick Page? It would be NOTHING, I tell you, James Patrick Page is most often known as Jimmy Page, of course, and only a deaf person could talk 1970s classic rock without mentioning Led Zeppelin, and even that would be a stretch for the unlucky blessed fellow.
Mark Knopfler is another intellectual man to master the guitar - it's a prerequisite, you know, brains go with musicianship like fish go with chips in England.
It would be damned foolish on my part to not take the moment to thank perhaps the biggest star of this show, Leo Fender, for creating the Fender Stratocaster To begin with. Thank You Leo Fender!
I hope you all have enjoyed this half as much as I have, and please don't be afraid to mention ever the more folks who didn't get included, and please feel free to share any links or videos or rants in the comments.
David Gilmore of Pink Floyd - And His Fender Stratocaster
Dire Strait's Mark Knopfler and His Fender Stratocaster
Leo Fender, and His Stratocaster, and Other Guitars.
© 2012 Wesman Todd Shaw