You don’t have to be a guitarist to appreciate the Stratocaster. Its curves, its sound, its undeniable influence on rock and roll history. The Stratocaster is arguably the greatest electric guitar ever made. To honor this iconic guitar, here are five songs showcasing the Fender Strat.
Sultans of Swing
If you have to tell someone what a Stratocaster sounds like, you should point them to this song. This timeless 1978 hit from Dire Straits showcases the finger-picking good talent of a young Mark Knopfler. Required listening for anyone who likes the Strat. Here’s a great live version of “Sultans of Swing” from 1983.
This is a three-in-one bonus for Strat fans. Why? There are landmark versions from the top three Strato-masters out there: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
- Jimi wrote the song, and recorded it through a Leslie rotating speaker, which at the time was a new approach to guitar amplification.
- Later, to tribute their then-recently deceased friend, Eric Clapton recorded a version with Derek and the Dominoes.
- Finally, and arguably the best version was performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan as a tribute to Jimi, but it was released on his own posthumous release.
As it stands, “Little Wing” may be the greatest tribute to our deceased guitar heros, the Stratocaster, and indeed, the rock and roll guitar itself.
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
Jimi Hendrix used the Stratocaster to reinvent music. He fused blues with rock and folk. He used the wah pedal like no one ever before. It all came together in his signature hit “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return).” This song is probably the number one endorsement for the Fender Stratocaster. REMEMBER: Chile is pronounced like ‘child,’ not ‘chilly.’ Don’t laugh, I’ve heard it said like that before.
The Strat is equally a blues instrument as much as it’s a rock instrument. Listen to Buddy’ Guy’s hit “Stone Crazy,” and you’ll see what I mean. It’s a typical Chicago blues, with vocal calls and guitar responses. But it’s got Buddy Guy’s energy in it, no doubt an inspiration to younger blues men like Jimi and SRV. “Stone Crazy” is the Strat at its bluesy finest.
No one could play a note like David Gilmour. He must like the sound of the Strat too. The way he holds notes and lets them ring. Whoever said a Strat has no sustain obviously never listened to Pink Floyd. David Gilmour is a legend and a Strat player, and the solo in “Comfortably Numb” shows him at his finest.