There have been numerous great guitarists over the years that have made the Fender Stratocaster their electric guitar of choice. Some like Eric Clapton actually defected from a hallowed 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard to play the Strat.The Stratocaster has been used in every kind of music conceivable, from funk to rock. So who are the best guitarists to utilise the single coil pickup tones of the Strat? Well naturally this is a really personal thing as exactly what tickles one guitarists fancy, may not another. Nevertheless, for a bit of fun I have come up with a list of my personal top 5 Stratocaster users from throughout the years:
5. Coming in at 5 in my list is the excellent Rory Gallagher, the gritty Irish guitarist with the most worn out Strat you’ve ever witnessed. Rory was loved by numerous people for his straight forward organic, bluesy rock. He came into his own as a live performer and was an exceptionally down to earth kind of bloke.
4. At number 4 on my list is the amazing Stevie Ray Vaughan. Famous for his amazing blues playing and classic Strat tones, Stevie Ray has a huge group of followers who loved every lick he played. I was lucky enough to see him play live at a small London location in Shepherds Bush and he was just amazing. He put each and every ounce of energy into his performance and blew everyone away with his melodic blues. He managed to get the type of blues sounds from his Strat pickups that could drive a guitarist crazy with envy.
3. At 3 we have Dave Gilmour of the titanic supergroup Pink Floyd. Those who have witnessed the classy, melodic guitar playing of this guy on tracks like ‘Comfortably Numb’ will know why he deserves a top five placing. Not only has his guitar playing inspired a generation but he seems to be a really modest and decent guy.
2. How could I not include Jimi Hendrix. The innovator and showman who probably made the Strat much more famous when compared with any other guitarist. It’s easy for those who don’t know his playing to label him as a wild, crazy, noisy player – just let them hear the jaw dropping ‘Little Wing’ to grasp that there is a good deal more to this particular guy’s guitar playing.
1. Well, my top rated choice of Stratocaster guitar players may shock some but it’s the amazing Jeff Beck. Beck seems to develop and improve like no other guitarist around. He ventures into areas of music that other players want to avoid, seeking the safer place of rock or blues. He is melodic beyond belief and plays a Strat like it becomes an extension of| his body. His amazing use of the tremolo bar is definitely for the advantage of the music, certainly not for the sake of gimmick or showmanship. Jeff Beck plays notes that other guitarists probably would not even think about. He pushes the barriers and uses his Strat to assist him in doing it.
So there you have it. No Clapton, no Hank Marvin and no Mark Knopfler. Well, just like I explained, you’ll have to forgive me as it is a very personalised thing.
The author has played both electric and acoustic guitars for a number of years and enjoys many different styles of music. He is also a keen builder of guitars and highly recommends Tub Guitar Pickups for top quality replacement Stratocaster pickups and humbucking pickups
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