Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Strat influences...

If you have read this rambling tome of a blog for any length of time you'd know that electric guitarwise I'm more likely probably to pick up a guitar with humbuckers in it than a single coil.  A Gibson man more than a Fender man I suppose.  To this end the collection features my Gibson Les Paul and the Gordon Smith Graduate 60 that adorns the banner of the blog currently, my PRS CE22 (yes with all the switch options but still more Gibbo ...) and a Peter Cook Axis Custom all mahogany and humbuckers - more SG than anything Fullerton produced other than it's scale length.

But you'll also know that the longest serving guitar in the collection is my treasured Squier Strat.  Now those of you who may be scoffing out there as the Squier label let me tell you this is from the earliest batches of Squiers to reach the UK in the early 80s.  It has a JV serial number. Fender who was frankly falling fast in terms of quality from it's pedestal and the changes poorly implemented throughout the 70s had led to people seeking out mid and early 60s and 50s Strats in preference quoting lighter bodies, better necks, secure joints, snappier guitars, better curves... Fender were having to reduce US production a management buyout meant they needed to leave the Fullerton home to move to Corona and they knew they needed to improve and soon USA production was back on track.  But a cheaper alternative was need to tackle the Tokai's of the world who were stealing a large market share in the UK.  These Squiers were then made by Fender Japan and frankly is way better than the any 70s USA Strat I've ever picked up and as good in my humble opinion as many of the vintage USA reissues in the 80s.  You do still see these for about £600 - £800 on eBay from time to time - they are a bloody bargain at that price trust me!

So ever since I've played guitar a rosewood strat has been in my arsenal - originally a much abused Columbus copy and then the Squier which I've treated with more respect but it has had a lot of mods to it - new electrics, tuners etc.

Strats?  Who do you think of?  Hendrix... Clapton... Hank Marvin...   Here are two that in that late 70s early 80s did make me drool for a rosewood boarded strat so pretty much were the main reason the Squier has lived with me for the last 31 years...

Enjoy a couple of true greats of the Strat.
Robin Trower - I remember this performance. I dashed out and got the album that weekend. I can still be heard bashing out a version of this whenever I pick up the Strat!

Next the incomparable Rory Gallagher. This is a demonstration in how to whip up an audience - Rory was the showman given just his battered old Strat and a couple of amps driven within an inch of their lives. I stood for ages inches from this very guitar when it was on show in Harrods some years ago almost willing some of the man's talent to move from it to me!  Sadly Rory was one of the afflicted like myself and sadly died of complications and an infection following a liver transplant in 1995 - he was only 47 - tragic loss.


  1. Rory was the last of the true Guitar Heroes.

  2. Strat = Jeff Beck circa Wired.

    Robin Trower got a lot of air play when I was in high school. Bridge of Sighs was in heavy rotation both on the radio and in my 8-track tape machine. I was a Gallagher fan as well. Have you been raiding my CD collection?

  3. Apart from those Japanese editions, the build quality of Squier and Epiphone seems better than ever now. I owned both budget brands in the early 90s and within a year something would buzz, rattle or drop off.

    The newer models from both I've bought have been excellent, so much so, I no longer drool over the big names. The quality and price is perfect for my happy amateurisms.

    In fact we've just bought my youngest his first bass (see below)- and perhaps it's the way it had been set up, but the neck, fit, finish, action and playability were better than the equivalent Fender model. We tested both side by side...

  4. Stratocaster = Blackmore. As you might have guessed I am completely opposite as I am a big time Fender man. I've tried to go other ways but in the end I just keep going back to the Strats.

  5. Yeah Beck and Blackmore both deserve mentions. I just seem to get better tone from humbuckers. Keep thinking of a tele deluxe ...