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Guitar Techniques - - News - Neville Marten, Ed­i­tor neville.marten@fu­turenet.com

WHAT CAN i say about Leo Fender’s 1954 cre­ation that has not been said be­fore? Well, stop me if you’ve heard this one, but… My first Strat was white, small peg­head, slab rose­wood ’board. That marked it out as 1959-1962. The body was alder, heav­ily contoured, and its cel­lu­loid pick­guard was green, which sig­nalled a sim­i­lar era. But it had a 1967 se­rial num­ber on an F-stamped neck plate. Cu­ri­ous. Cu­ri­ouser, the pick­ups were a dif­fer­ent vin­tage to both, so my Fender Stra­to­caster was made of po­ten­tially three dif­fer­ent gui­tars.

What’s more, it had been used as a leftie, played up­side down! The nut had been turned around, and it had a sec­ond strap but­ton on the lower horn. Now, I could never prove any­thing, but I bought it the year af­ter a cer­tain up­side-down-Strat-play­ing leg­end (and known ‘tin­kerer’) died. And at that time, how many such Strat play­ers were there, or could af­ford to buy three and make ‘bit­sers’ out of the parts? As I say, I have no proof, but the ev­i­dence is com­pelling. Sadly, mine was a bit of a dog; the neck wouldn’t stay straight, as if the truss rod was loos­en­ing; I ad­justed it to its limit and still it kept bow­ing. The pick­ups were weedy, too, and al­though it looked great (as you can see in the hands of that skinny Woodstock re­ject be­low), I got rid of it and bought a Les Paul.

Since then, I’ve owned Strats old and new. On stage, they just work for me; and al­though I don’t use it live much any more, I’ve had my blue ’63 for over 20 years; it’s ap­peared on the cover of GT and Gui­tarist and, un­like the ‘JH’ one, is a bril­liant in­stru­ment. Got any great Strat sto­ries to share? I’d love to hear them!

This month’s big Strat fea­ture shows just how ver­sa­tile the model has been over its 60-year life­span. If you can man­age all 60 licks, video your­self, post it on your Face­book page, send me a link and we’ll share it on so­cial me­dia and on mu­s­i­cradar.com.

Lastly, check out our great of­fer on page 8 – get a free Ap­ple News­stand ver­sion of GT and start en­joy­ing all the in­ter­ac­tive fea­tures – such as the au­dio synched with an­i­mated tab – on your iOS de­vice. GT seems made for the tablet for­mat, so please do try it out. And I’ll see you next month…

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