Guitarist

STRAT’S THE WAY

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After 20-odd years of playing guitar, this year has provided the biggest surprise in that I have nally found a Strat I get on with. I was a late starter at 45 and, as a humbucker fan, my little collection is almost all humbucker-equipped, although there is a P-90 in one of Chris George’s beautiful creations. At various times through the last 22 years I have thought, ‘I need a Strat,’ but all attempts – Fender, Suhr, Music Man, even a custom build – have resulted in me moving them on as I simply could not get on with them. I never got on with the extra tension of the longer scale and had also decided that I didn’t like maple ’boards, the big Fender headstock, vintage-radius ’boards, or a single-coil bridge pickup.

Anyhow, I recently decided to trade my lovely old Eggle Vienna because, at 10lbsplus, I was just never picking it up. So it was time for another Strat experiment. A guy o‹ered me a deal involving a Japanese FSR Strat, 7.25-inch radius maple ’board, big headstock… But what the heck, I did the trade. As soon as I plugged it in at home I was shocked to be completely hooked into it. It just felt right and the neck pickup tone was beautiful. It’s probably the least expensive Strat I have had, but somehow it just works for me despite it having so many features I didn’t like.

So I’ve put a JB Jr pickup in the bridge and locking Sperzels from the spares tin, a BladeRunne­r trem and it is everything I wanted a Strat to be – but never found before. What I nd more bizarre is the way it has changed and broadened my playing. Maybe it’s the maple ’board, or maybe it’s the vintage radius, but I’m now doing less legato and more digging in with the pick, and I’ve carried that over to my regular humbucker guitars. There might be a lesson to learn here, but, for me, I’m just loving this FSR and am nally Strati ed.

Peter Collister

That’s a really nice story, Peter, and we’re glad that you nally succumbed to the charm of Leo’s wonderful invention. It’s often the case that you need to park your preference­s when you go looking for a bit of guitar-shaped companions­hip these days as sometimes you can nd a make or model that you bond with instantly but have previously disregarde­d. To paraphrase the late, great Frank Zappa, “If a guitar leaps into your arms and shouts, ‘Take me, I’m yours,’ then that’s the one!”

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