ONE of the most famous names in rock has hit 50 - and we’re not talking about a person.
From the undisputed musical genius of Jimi Hendrix to the frequently disputed musical genius of Tony Blair, the Fender Stratocaster guitar has become one of the most famous sights and sounds in popular music.
This month, celebrations are being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Stratocaster in Scottsdale, Arizona, home of the famous Fender firm.
Leo Fender was known for incorporating musicians’ suggestions into his designs and the Stratocaster was the result of a collaboration between him, close associates and guitarists.
Nils Lofgren, guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, said this attention to detail had undoubtedly paid off.
"It’s definitely as beautifully crafted an instrument as you’ll ever find, and I’m very, very grateful for all Leo went through to create it," he said.
"Who knows how many different designs they’ve used to imitate and top it and nobody’s come close."
Exponents include noted guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton.
Fender created the Strat, as it is known, in 1954. Few guitars have aged so well. If the general public have overlooked that milestone, musicians have not. In fact, for many it’s a pivotal event.
Unlike many guitars of the 1950s, the Stratocaster’s body was made of solid wood, making it extremely durable. Hendrix set it on fire, Vaughan and others administered countless beatings.
"The Strat is like a workhorse, you don’t have to baby it," Lofgren said.