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Three Stratocasters compared
Three Stratocasters compared
di [user #12445] - pubblicato il

Without a shadow of a doubt, the Stratocaster is a timeless instrument. Despite the various models, different shapes according to the year of build, and different configurations, the original project is an icon that holds its own fascination.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the Stratocaster is a timeless instrument.
Despite the various models, different shapes according to the year of build, and different configurations, the original project is an icon that holds its own fascination.
In this test care was taken to capture the instrument’s typical sound, so as to have some points of reference on the various nuances available.
Comparison was made of three Stratocasters from far-apart epochs, trying to catch the essential timbre of each.

The first is an American Standard from 1990, with a two-pivot bridge set to float, equipped with Fender pickups except for the bridge position which houses a Seymour Duncan SSL1, a point of reference for vintage sounds from the '80s to '90s.


The second is a recent Masterbuilt, specifically a John Cruz 1960 reissue, with pickups hand rewound by Cruz himself.
A six-screw bridge again left floating, and body and neck measurements that epitomize tradition.
The only difference is the frets: not the small ones, but 6105s.


The place of honour goes to an example from 1963 (belonging to Alberto Biraghi) with everything original right down to the last screw.
The bridge has been blocked Clapton-style, so I decided not to install the tremolo arm on any of the guitars.


All the guitars have a rosewood neck and the trial was made using a Brunetti combo switched to the crunch channel.
The equalization is the same on all the clips, all I changed was the amount of gain according to the tunes.
In the video you can see a rapid comparison between the guitars in the same piece, while you can listen to audio files relating to each single take of the performance without the backing track.


The first example is "Crosstown Traffic" (Hendrix) where I play the riff with the chords in the first part, going on to emphasize the single notes in the second part, doubling the bass line.
I used the middle pickup, to get as close as possible to the original sound.




The second piece is in the style of Scott Henderson over organ and guitar riffs.
I chose the fourth position, with the middle and neck pickups: the Standard and Cruz versions include a five-way selector, while the original 1963 model only offers three positions, so on the eldest of the trio I jammed the selector switch between the two positions, exactly in the way the first Strat users discovered this sound.




To test the neck position I chose a shuffle in the style of Stevie Ray Vaughan, with a typical circular movement.
I left some room in the last part for the '63, mixing bluesy licks with the chord accompaniment.




The last example was a heavier piece to test the bridge pickup in saturation.
I’m playing the main riff from "Spotlight Kid" (Blackmore/Rainbow) while shifting rapidly from one guitar to the next so in the same way you can hear just the audio, placing particular attention on the tight response of the bass and high notes. In order, you can hear the Standard 1990, the John Cruz, and the '63.


Over sixty years have gone by since Leo Fender designed his first guitar and yet the sounds of this instrument are still modern, in any setting or musical style.
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Different periods and historical epochs have seen majors taking their turn with different production policies without caring about the quality or collector’s value, but this guitar has always been and will continue to be a taking point: long live the Stratocaster!
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