The Fender Stratocaster
Dave Hunter
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Buy *The Fender Stratocaster: The Life and Times of the World's Greatest Guitar and Its Players* by Dave Huntero nline

The Fender Stratocaster: The Life and Times of the World's Greatest Guitar and Its Players
Dave Hunter
Voyageur Press
240 pages
November 2013
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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In the same way you and your buddies used to argue about the merits of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones and who was better, for decades musicians have debated about what was the greatest electric guitar ever made: the Fender Stratocaster or the Gibson Les Paul. There is no definitive response to that question, just as you can't answer, "Who was a better guitarist--Jeff Beck or Jimi Hendrix? Ritchie Blackmore or Robin Trower?"

But you can say, insofar as that illustrious quartet of guitarists is involved, that the Stratocaster was the guiding light of their careers. In Hunter's wonderful book about the iconic instrument, those instrumentalists talk about their special Fenders as well as dozens of significant Stratocaster enthusiasts revealing why they loved Leo Fender's remarkable creation.

Hunter also delves into the history of the guitar from its inception. He describes how Leo built the instrument and how the six-string slowly gained acceptance to become one of the most important electric guitars to have ever been assembled.

There are dozens of beautiful photos here of vintage instruments and the players with their guitars, and this is the only problem with the book. Because there are so many extraordinary photos, you would think that the author would have gone the distance to include photographs of every instrument he was describing. He doesn't do that, and what ends up happening is you're reading about the headstock on some pre-CBS guitar and the photo on the adjoining page shows a post-CBS instrument that has nothing to do with what you've just read about. It is incredibly confusing.

Short of that, however, this is one of the best books ever written on the Strat. Hunter has done his research and laid out the history and development of the guitar in a thoughtful and engaging presentation. You may not be able to afford a lot of the guitars shown here, but at least you can read about them.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2014

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