The Fender Stratocaster guitar turns 60 in 2014, and it wears it well. You see the instrument everywhere, and hardly a day goes by when you don’t hear its signature sound.
It was so essentially and remarkably right from the very start in 1954 that it has shaped popular music for 60 years virtually unchanged. A great deal of the music you love—the very soundtrack of your life—was and is made with a Stratocaster.
It is the guitar behind the sound of “That’ll Be the Day” (the Crickets, 1957), “Purple Haze” (the Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1967), “Smoke on the Water” (Deep Purple, 1972), “Pride and Joy” (Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, 1983), “Even Flow” (Pearl Jam, 1992), “Dani California” (Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2006), “Get Lucky” (Daft Punk, 2013) and countless other hits.
After 60 years, the Stratocaster remains a fantastic tool at heart. It delivers unmistakable sound and timeless design that have made it the first choice among players everywhere.
“I’ve moved around with many guitars and tried many different things, and I’ve always come back to the Stratocaster,” said Eric Clapton, whose long devotion to the Stratocaster began in earnest in 1970 when he used his 1956 model, “Brownie,” to record his eponymous debut solo album in January of that year, and Derek and the Dominos magnum opus Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs that fall.
Jeff Beck attributed the “ultimate sounds known in the 20th century” to the Stratocaster, and George Harrison once asserted, “You can’t beat the Strat … I don’t care what you say.”
After the introduction of the Telecaster® and Precision Bass® guitars in 1951, company founder Leo Fender turned his attention to a bold new guitar design. The instrument, designed by Leo Fender himself and named the “Stratocaster” by Fender sales chief Don Randall, debuted in 1954. An extraordinary new guitar with several ingenious design innovations, the Stratocaster proceeded to revolutionize popular music as an indispensable tool of phenomenal creativity, and even transcend that role to become a cultural symbol.
After six incredibly colorful and wonderfully musical decades, the Stratocaster is beautiful, as always. It is timeless, as always. It sounds phenomenal, as always. The Stratocaster is poised for a brilliant future, as always.
For more information, go to fender.com/strat-60th.