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The Stratocaster,a personal history.
Horus posted a topic in Chill SpaceThe Stratocaster a personal history. It all started in 1970, with my first record, RCA's supercharged hits of 1970, I was 10 years old. Track 1 side 1, American Woman by the Guess Who ,with a still iconic guitar solo, strong defiant wailing notes played by Randy Bachman on a Fender Stratocaster. The greatest thing I'd ever heard, played hundreds times, etched into my young mind. Then came Richie Blackmore and Jimi Hendrix, using sound as a sonic force, expressing energy as never before as they waved their Strats in front of Marshall Monoliths. Of course Jimi Page distracted and tempted us with his Gibsons, as did others, but those instruments did not have the "wild flexibility" of the Stratocaster. Makoto Kawabata has been my Strat Champion for many years, never afraid of a 20 minute solo, and my happiness was momentous when Helios Creed changed from Gibsons to a Standard sunburst Strat with Maple Neck, (the same as my 1996 50th anniversary model) a few years ago. As soon as my apprenticeship allowed me to save enough money, at 19, I went into Palings Music Sydney to buy my first Strat. A 1979 Antiqua with Maple Neck. This rare model with its Grey/green to white sunburst finish is now a desirable collectors item. A great regret in my life that I sold it, ive never seen another in the flesh. I had a old school Fender 100w twin reverb amplifier. Soon to come were drum and Bass machines, synths and echo units and wah wah to create a wall of sound for the Strat to sing and scream over. There has never been a thought of becoming an act or going public, it was just about the act and joy of improvisation and creation, using this almighty expression tool from the Fender Corporation. I jammed in my music room till 1986, when another American design icon and symbol of the 60's started overwhelming my desires. Id convinced myself that all this shoegazing soloing was antisocial, I needed to get out there, in the world with all the people and cars…. so I sold my Strat and gear……and bought my first Harley Davidson. I still had beautiful Martin acoustics and banjos and stuff, I would go acoustic, and join the world. Dec 5 1987 a woman did a right hand turn in front of me on my bike, I gazed at the mangled chrome icon as I lay dying in the gutter from multiple trauma ,wiggling the toes of my un-smashed leg to see if I was paraplegic. Undeterred and informed by a Post Traumatic Stress delusion that I was "hard to kill", I commissioned a custom "shovelhead" electra glide, joined an old school outlaw club, and let my Daemons run amok. Thankfully that period came to an end in a few years, and it was time to get my life back on track……first thing required was a Stratocaster! I wish Id saved the cash as my other regret is trading a 1927 Martin Parlor for a Strat, but it had to be done. Sentimentality drew me back to the Palings City store for a Black Standard Strat with maple neck. Not long after I was robbed by 2 junkies, the Strat among other precious possessions including 2 Tibetan skulls and a ridiculously rare vintage tenor guitar were stolen. That event was the trigger for leaving Sydney and moving to the Central Coast. With the insurance money I bought the 1996 Anniversary Strat, a Yamaha acoustic and a Roland Groovebox (a multi instrument sequencer)….and never looked back. The big life changer was Roland looping technology. It became possible to multi track record and overdub in real time. Switching loops backwards and all the stuff Id dreamed of. Improvising with yourself just went stellar ! Now I have a RC300 where there are 4 tracks to do multiple recordings, its easy to get 12 Stratocasters layered with pure digital sound. Stratocaster soup, just delicious. In addition, us consumers have benefited from a reverb/echo unit pissing contest from a few of the boutique players. My Blackhole space is like the echo deck at the end of time. Vibrating a Strat has never been more blissful or mind-blowing. Now as I become a "grumpy old man" my Stratocentric thinking is becoming quite evident. There was a period and genres of music that still continue, that think it is hip to leave guitar out completely, deliberately! Seeing it as some pretentious dinosaur tool. DJ's and the like. Im not going to leave a house full of beautiful instruments, to attend a music event with no instruments! Most of the reason for the effort/expense to go to gigs is to see instruments and how they sound and are used. Not the same rig with different ipads. Id prefer going to a music store and look at the stock, rather than some knob twiddling festival smoke and mirrors hoo ha. So, that’s just me, I know, this essay is how I conditioned myself into this blissfully judgmental state, wallowing in my narrow minded view of music's "evolution". (a healthy appreciation for classical music has contributed to this as well) So back to Strats. Im quite social nowadays, attending lots of Ceremonies and meeting lovely people of all ages. The medicines purged those wild Daemons years ago, and Im well respected. Experienced.....some even say nice. Young folk seek my sage advise and as you can see, I have no option but to say……… "your wasting this incarnation if you don’t play a Stratocaster". Hmmmm, my tongue slightly in cheek. But I can tell you this, when im alone with the vine flowing thru my veins, she loves to put down a multi layer Strat drone and vibrate thru the guitar and me, the 3 of us as one, in post modern icaro mash up bliss. My vine is sure as hell not wasting its incarnation and loves to play my Fender Stratocaster thru me. I know, cause its unique to what Id play otherwise. Stratocentric thinking…..its a thing…….probably a curse…….but this essay announces that Im owning my issues. My rationale by default says many of you have missed this opportunity, wasted your lives, but of course I don’t think that, we are all equal with different perspectives and talents ……… this is just a heads up for next incarnation. The Stratocaster is so well designed, it will be around to play the fuck out of, for a few more lifetimes. The root cause 1979 Antigua Stratocaster, the most polarizing finish of all strats, love it or hate it, it sends collectors wild. I wonder who is playing mine now ? Be worth 10 times what i paid, bugger! 1996 50th Anniversary strat,Boss multi effects. Boss RC 300 looper, space echo, job done, no limits. Always needs to be a skull somewhere. Set the controls beyond the heart of the Sun !