The Fender Stratocaster is without a doubt the most renowned electric guitar available and has been used by many of history's greatest guitarists, including Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. To commemorate 50 years of instrument manufacturing, Fender Musical Instruments in 1996 released a special commemorative edition.
The Fender Stratocaster was the first mass-produced electric guitar and with its combination of versatility and playability has become the archetypal guitar. Its ability to diversify has led it to become popular in many different genres for many artists. Its signature shape lends itself to the body, making the Stratocaster one of the most comfortable guitars to play. The cutaway on the lower side of the body allows players to reach the higher notes of the guitar with greater ease and fluidity.
Regardless of when they were built, all Stratocasters have some consistent features. They include a solid contoured body and solid neck, a skunk stripe detail on the back of the neck, 22 frets, a four bolt neck joint, three single-coil pickups with a five-way pickup selector as well as one volume control and two tone controls. The ability to select five different pickup settings gives the Stratocaster its incredibly versatile sound, capable of achieving the right tone for many different genres. The bridge pickup gives a much lighter, twangier sound whereas the bridge pickup has a much fuller, warm sound. The pickup selections in between these two gradually get warmer toward the bridge. Stratocasters famously always have a tremelo or whammy bar, allowing you to tighten or slacken all of the strings at once. However, some Stratocasters have been designed with a fixed bridge and have been given the nickname "Hard-tails."
Some features were added to the 1996 anniversary edition, although not all these features were added to every 1996 Strat. These exclusive features include gold-plated hardware, highly figured veneer and vintage pickups and electronics. All 50th anniversary Stratocasters have a commemorative sticker on the headstock. The 1996 special edition is available in two colours---authentic, vintage sunburst and the hard-to-find candy red. As well as having slightly upgraded features, the 1996 Strat had a limited number made, immediately upping the price and increasing the desire factor for any collectors.
The anniversary Stratocaster is much the same as the tried, tested and familiar standard American Stratocaster. But with slightly different detail, improved playability and a higher price tag, it is sure to have Strat lovers drooling for many years.
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