Classic tone is timeless. That is simply a fact. You will have to look far and wide to find a genre of music where a Fender Strat doesn’t fit in. Believe it or not, this even includes metal. Mike McCready is one of those guys who pushed this old platform to its limits. His Fender Stratocaster is anything but standard, however it all started with a simple, basic Strat. Today we are going to check this guitar out a bit closer and talk about what it has to offer in terms of both sound and playability.
The story of a Strat goes long way back. At the time, Leo Fender has already punched a hole in the fabric of guitar world with his first commercially viable solid body guitar. However, Telecaster was only the beginning. The next project would go down in history as one of the best electric guitars ever created. So good that it has been in use, without much changes being made to the original layout, up to this day. Not only that, but it changed the way we see electric guitar. Stratocaster single handedly introduced the dual cutaway design which almost every electric guitar today uses. Stratocaster is essentially a testament of one man’s skill, vision and ability to predict what the future brings. Let’s check out what makes this thing tick.
Back when electric guitars were still semi hollow or fully hollow, Fender started pushing for a solid body. Not only did this completely change the dynamics of the instrument, but it also altered the user experience. By that, we mean the sensation of holding the guitar. The simple fact that you are now holding a solid block of wood means that you can make your guitar lighter, but most importantly thinner. Strat is one of the first guitars to put comfort at a higher level of focus.
The body is made of ash, but not just any ash. Fender sources their stuff from a very specific region in United States, which guarantees quality and consistency. The model we are looking at here is belongs to the line of instruments made in Mexico. Even so, the level of detail in the curvature of the body is pristine. When it comes to finishes, a sunbrust layout is easily the most iconic for a Stratocaster. We have that iconic white pick guard paired with equally white control knobs. Overall, the guitar looks simple but extremely attractive, given that most of that appeal comes from its reputation.
Moving on to the neck, you are looking at a solid piece of maple. Fender generally uses two types of wood for the fretboard, one being maple and the other being standard rosewood. Both of these have their benefits, but if you’re looking for that soft touch and smooth playing, maple is the way to go. When it comes to hardware, Fender installs the very same stuff on both their Mexican line and U.S. line. .In other words, the hardware is rock solid. Tuners hold the key far better than any other standard tuners you will find these days, while the classic tremolo bridge just works.
Pickups chose for this particular version are vintage in nature. They are still single coils spread out in that classic Strat layout, but it doesn’t take long to notice their retro flavor. In order to control the pickups, you have two tone knobs and a single volume knob. To a beginner, this setup might look a bit too simple, but that’s the stuff we have been using for decades without an issue. Commenting on build quality is unnecessary. This stands despite some guitar players making a big deal out of U.S. vs Mexico made guitars. Both of these are on point whether you’re after that good tone or build quality.
So what makes Fender Strat so special? Sure, it was innovative for its time, but innovation is not what has kept it in the elite range for all these years. The tone this guitar offers is flexible, versatile but ultimately full of range. There is something about passive single coils in SSS configuration, that just works no matter what kind of music you play. With that said, blues or rock is where this puppy feels at home. Even so, guitar players such as McCready have molded that classic Strat sound into something far more aggressive.
One of the absolute best things about Strats is their clean sound. This guitar just flows when the signal is completely devoid of any effects. Pair it with a proper tube amp, push that gain hard and you will experience one of the sweetest overdrives known to man. But wait. Many guitars offer that, don’t they? True, but the way Strat handles that overdrive is what has made it the ultimate classic rock axe of all times.
If there are limitations to this design, we haven’t really found them yet. Sure, we are seeing a trend of harder metal genres which require niche gear, but guitars suitable for that kind of music are special to begin with. Owning a Stratocaster is the surefire way of having both a hammer and a scalpel at your disposal, at any time. In many ways, it is a blank canvas that has enough room for all of your creations.
Fender ’70s Stratocaster Sunburst is by far one of the best bang for the buck guitars you can get. It brings you all of the benefits of owning a Strat, without costing you an arm and a leg. If that sunburst pattern doesn’t really click with you, which is possible, you’re covered. Fender offers most of their Stratocasters in a wide variety of finishes. At the end of the day, wear and tear is what gives a Strat its true character. We absolutely suggest that you don’t pay too much attention to the looks, but rather the feel and performance of this bad boy.