Simply put, the Fender Stratocaster is THE electric guitar. Ask anyone to draw an electric guitar, and chances are they will draw the classic Strat shape, which has been stolen and copied by so many companies, the term "strat-copy" appears in Wikipedia. Designed in the early 1950s by Leo Fender and Freddie Tavares, the Stratocaster has become one of the worlds most enduring guitar models, along with it sister model Telecaster, and the Gibson Les Paul. Going against typical guitar construction at the time, Fender decided to make the body out of more expensive ash wood, and design an all new vibrato unit rather than using the typical Bigsby. Fender also gave the guitars body a more contoured shape than the Telecaster making it more comfortable to play. The new 'Custom Contour Body' and 'Synchronized Tremolo' bridge made the Stratocaster a revolutionary design. The electronics were also much more complicated than the Telecaster, featuring 3 very compact pickups,a 3-way switch (replaced by the current 5-way switch in 1977), and volume control and two tone controls. Released at a price of US$249.50 (approximately US$1,850 in 2007 currency) in 1954, the Strat was soon popularized by rock legend Buddy Holly and hasn't looked back since being solidified in rock history by legends Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. The beauty of the American Stratocaster guitar is in its details incorporating several simple player-friendly refinements into the timeless design of the Strat guitar giving the ultimate fusion of tone and playability.
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