Of course, genius is rarely understood in its own time, and the guitar-playing world initially dismissed the Stratocaster as a novelty instrument. That all changed in 1957 when a young man with horn-rimmed glasses and a hiccupping falsetto named Buddy Holly played one during a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Then, the music world caught a fever for the Stratocaster that spread all over the world. Across the pond, Shadows’ guitarist Hank Marvin brought the first Stratocaster to the UK and infected countless British youths with Strat fever. Around that same time, a young surf guitarist named Dick Dale was experimenting with tremolo picking on his Strat, and an upstart blues guitarist named Buddy Guy realized that the blues sounded extra-sweet on a Strat. From then on, there was no stopping Leo’s iconic guitar.
Most design aspects of the Stratocaster haven’t changed at since then. It’s an utterly timeless guitar, and that’s why you see musicians from all walks of life and genres playing them. Clapton aficionados, Jeff Beck enthusiasts, garage rock dudes with Iggy Pop tattoos, and Yngwie’s shred disciples all love the Strat. Its tone works in every genre from metal to pop to fusion, its contoured body makes it comfortable to play for long gigs and endless recording sessions, and (most importantly) it’s still cooler than a polar bear’s toenails.
Cool is hard to quantify, but we guitar players know it when we see it, and the Fender Stratocaster has it in spades. This may be Leo Fender’s greatest triumph, actually—he designed a guitar that is just as appealing to sixteen year-olds in 2018 as it was in 1954. To answer Paul McCartney’s age-old question: yes, we still need the Fender Stratocaster, even when it’s sixty-four.
Now, Wildwood Guitars is proud to honor Leo Fender’s legacy by offering the finest selection of Custom Shop Stratocasters in the world to our exceptional customers. We invite you to take a deep breath, dive in, and explore the many astounding hand-built Stratocasters we are lucky enough to showcase. These guitars are meant to build upon one of the most storied legacies in the history of lutherie, and we are confident that they will be as iconic sixty-four years from now as they are today.