The '56 Strat is turning heads everywhere, due to its appeal to both musicians and collectors.
The Strat, some think, came of age in 1956.
This model is highly valued by collectors because it is from the early days of the Stratocaster, before every detail of the now-famous guitar type had been set in stone.
For musicians, the guitar’s feel and sound make it highly sought after, too.
If you like a thick-but-sleek neck that feels substantial in your hand, you The back of the neck evolved into its soft-V shape with this model.
A few of the Stratocaster’s other distinctive features also originated with the 1956 model. The butterfly string tree replaced a round one, and the pickups underwent some slight changes too.
One drawback or asset, depending on your perspective: Pickup selection is a crude two-position switch.
This was long before the 1977 introduction of the five-way selector. Volume, as on all Stats, is controlled by a single knob.
In 1956, the Stratocaster was still a new type of guitar that had not yet reached its current status as perhaps the world’s most popular solid body guitar.
The first strats were made in 1954, and that famous solid body made the switch from ash to alder during the 1956 production season.
The alder wood is a large part of what gives Strats their distinctive sound, so earlier 1956 models with the ash body have a different sound that you will either love or hate.
Telecasters and many other brands and models of electric guitars have ash bodies -- and that’s for a reason -- so think carefully before you purchase a 1954, 1955 or early 1956 Strat with an ash body.
First produced in 1954, Stratocasters have been continuously manufactured by Fender since that time.
They are double cutaway instruments -- allowing better access to the neck -- with an elongated top for more balance when standing.
Their distinctive shape separates them from the simpler and perhaps less elegant design of the Telecaster.
Buddy Holly was among the first to use a Strat, but most major musicians and many with names unknown have tinkered with this favorite among guitars.
Fender Stratocasters from 1954 to 1965 are usually the most valuable to collectors because they are early examples of one of the world’s most popular guitars and were made before broadcaster CBS bought the company.
For musicians, it was the conversion to the ash body that turned just another electric guitar into the Strat.
And 1956 was the year it happened.
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