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Guitarists still making memorable music with Strat

Thursday - 4/17/2014, 9:52pm  ET

An original 1954 Fender Stratocaster head stock, left, is shown next to a 2014 model, Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 at a studio in Scottsdale, Ariz. April 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the very first Stratocaster ever sold. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Associated Press

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.


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