Blues icon Robert Cray performs with his signature Fender Stratocaster at a concert in Anaheim, Calif. on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009. He says, “I use the Stratocaster because it has the sound I’m looking for and then some. It’s surprising what sounds and tones comes out of the Stratocaster. It is such a simply built guitar, it’s a workhorse.” (AP Photo/Matt York)
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Jimi Hendrix made it shriek. Buddy Holly made it swing. Stevie Ray Vaughn made it snarl.
Some of the most legendary guitarists in music history have elicited unforgettable sounds from the Fender Stratocaster, the distinctive double-cutaway guitar born in a small Fullerton, Calif., workshop 60 years ago this month.
It’s far from a musical relic: It remains an essential tool for some of today’s top guitarists. Vince Gill relies on it so much he calls it an “extension of my hands,” while blues virtuoso Robert Cray calls it a workhorse.
As shredder Yngwie Malmsteen put it: “There is no substitute.”
As this iconic guitar celebrates its 60th anniversary in April, The Associated Press takes a visual journey into the creation of the iconic guitars, and explores why it’s still a fixture on concert stages today.
In this undated photo, Jimi Hendrix performs with a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar. The Stratocaster, used by countless professional and amateur musicians, celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2014. (AP Photo/File)
In this July 13, 1985 file photo, Eric Clapton performs at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia. The Fender Stratocaster, used by countless professional and amateur musicians, celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2014. (AP Photo/George Widman)