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What Genres Are Stratocasters Good For?

10 Mins read

What genres are Fender Stratocasters actually good for?

As it turns out, before we buy our first guitar or any guitar at all, we usually think about the type of music or genre that we’ll play.

The Fender Stratocaster is one of the most iconic electric guitars of all time.

And as a result, we’ve seen different types of artists and bands using the instrument for very specific and diverse purposes.

In this article, we’ll go over the best genres that Stratocasters have successfully been used for and answer most of the frequently asked questions around this topic.

Let’s get started!

What genres are Stratocasters good for?

These guitars are still as popular as ever and will continue to evolve and stay just like that.

Whether you’re on a budget or looking for something a little bit pricy and high-end, you’ll always want something that will suit your preferred style of music.

These are the top best genres that Fender’s Stratocaster guitars are used for:

1. Blues

We’ve seen multiple artists use Stratocaster guitars for blues music.

These include musicians such as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Bonnie Raitt, and Buddy Guy.

Blues players often look for a guitar that can deliver nuanced, harmonic overdrive tones while thickening their sound and preserving an innate sense of rhythm.

They also tend to focus on slower, rhythmic improvisation with delicate phrasing and lighter and crisper overdrive.

Stratocasters are able to do just that while also providing versatility and letting you customize your tone.

Here’s a YouTube video by Matthew Scott in which he plays “Rainy Day Blues” on his 1959 Fender Stratocaster:

"Rainy Day Blues" on my 1959 Stratocaster

2. Indie

To just say “Indie” is a very broad way of speaking since you can have indie rock, indie pop, indie… anything.

In its simplest and most popular definition, the term “indie” comes from the word “independent”, which in this case is the entire set of sound and aesthetics of a certain musician.

Usually, indie music comes with more freedom from the artists to do whatever they want with their work.

They employ shimmering, ambient guitar tones and plenty of effects.

Stratocasters are well known for indie music, as they excel well at indie’s bright, crisp sound and are well suited to layering different tracks with various effects and tones.

Here’s a YouTube video by No Fun Haus teaching us how to get the perfect Indie tone:

https://youtu.be/y_ICcqB5ERY?t=291

3. R&B

While debatable, this genre is another example of those types of music that you can pretty much play with any guitar.

This, of course, includes getting the right pedals and amp settings.

We’ve seen throughout the years, multiple artists use Fender Stratocasters to play R&B since the usual soft and rhythmic elements of the genre are easily accomplished with said guitar.

Its single-coil pickups provide you with a clear sounding and expressive tone for riffs and at the same time give you a very warm sound for chords and strumming patterns.

Let’s take a look at H.E.R performing with her smooth R&B rhythms and slow-burning solos:

H.E.R. | Fender Signature Sessions | Fender

4. Pop

While most pop artists are seen playing acoustic guitars, some of them such as Bruno Mars and John Mayer play electric guitars, in specific Stratocaster guitars.

Again, the crispy but yet warm sound of these guitars and their powerful aesthetics make a lot of guitarists choose it as their main instrument.

Usually, in pop music, guitars are included as a small element in the entire song, which helps create a greater ambiance in the track.

In case the musician opts to add a guitar solo, chances are, they’ll choose a Fender Stratocaster guitar to record it.

This video by Simen Otnes features 10 guitar songs that are mainly pop being played with a Stratocaster guitar:

TOP 10 GUITAR SONGS OF 2020

5. Jazz

This genre is considered purist for warm, bassy, and clean tones.

It is important to keep in mind that jazz is mostly less focused on brand names than any other style of guitar music.

While jazz can be played on any type of guitar, full-depth archtop guitars have inevitably become the prototypical “jazz guitar.”

This doesn’t mean that Stratocasters aren’t used for Jazz, but it does explain the fact that we don’t see as many.

Jazz musicians use a wide range of different guitar brands, among them is definitely the classic Fender Stratocaster.

Here’s a video of Darrell Braun Guitar playing some smooth Jazz on his Fender Stratocaster:

Fender Stratocaster - Smooth Jazz!

6. Rock

Rock is said to be the most popular genre that uses guitars as its most important melodic element.

At the same time, rock music is also the broadest genre, and most versatile guitarists can easily create a variety of different sounds and tones.

Now, depending on the type of rock that is being played, guitar players already have a go-to instrument that they’ll always use.

You’ll notice that professional players that use Fender Strats are usually jamming to either classic rock or indie rock, but this doesn’t mean that Strats can’t be used for punk rock or even progressive rock.

Some famous Strat users that play rock are Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Ed O’ Brien, David Gilmour, and many more.

Let’s take a look at The Jimi Hendrix Experience performing Voodoo Child (Jimi is playing his Fender Strat) live in Maui, 1970.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (Live In Maui, 1970)

7. Reggae

This genre has also never been marked as one that uses a specific type of guitar.

But even in that case, we’ve seen Fender Stratocasters being used in several reggae bands throughout the years.

Bob Marley himself had a few guitars, among one of them was a Stratocaster that he used for many of his live performances.

Strats offer that great clean tone that’s so used on reggae music, and of course, with the help of some effects pedal, your tone will be in really good shape.

The following video by Xyan Guitar is both informative and helpful if you want to hear an awesome reggae tone on a Fender Stratocaster:

How to play Ska, Rock steady, Reggae and Soca - Guitar Riffs

8. Funk

Getting the perfect funk tone is extremely tricky for many guitar players.

Even then, if you are able to get the right tone, the genre itself is all about playing and finding a groove with the other musicians.

The treble-heavy chords and rhythmic palm muting makes this genre one of the hardest to master.

Single-coil pickups on guitars like Fender Stratocaster are the best to provide the typical funk sound.

This is because it generally offers more treble and more refined tonal character.

That along with being versatile enough to play funk fusion and other similar styles make this instrument a great option.

Some famous funk Strat users are John Frusciante, Jimi Hendrix, and Nile Rodgers.

Take a look at this YouTube video by Guitarist in which Cory Wong gives us an incredible funk rhythm guitar lesson:

Cory Wong Lesson: Funk Rhythm Guitar

9. Country

This genre has always demanded a clear and bright tone with minimal distortion.

One feature of Stratocasters is its single-coil pickups that can handle plenty of compression without losing tone clarity.

This guitar is also famous for its durability and no-fuss construction, which can keep up for years even without lots of intensive care.

Even though you’ll hear mostly acoustic guitars in almost all country songs, whenever musicians include an electric guitar, chances are, it’s a Fender Strat.

Here’s a video on Marty Music’s YouTube channel featuring Lindsay Ell and her top 10 country riffs:

My 10 FAVORITE Country Riffs of ALL TIME (feat. @Lindsay Ell)

10. Soul

Soul music is a very popular genre that started in the African American communities throughout the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Among its musical elements, you’ll find gospel influence with intense vocals, and an emphasis on rhythm sections.

With the many variations and different styles of soul, guitars appear to also have a significant role in the genre.

Fender Stratocasters are perceived to be a great choice since they add incredible warmth and ambiance to the songs.

This YouTube video by Feodor Bivol is a great example of how a Stratocaster can be used for this genre:

"thank u, next" - Ariana Grande - Neo Soul Guitar Cover 2020 - Fender Stratocaster

Bonus: Metal

This has been a big debate around Fender Stratocasters for a very long time now.

Can metal be played with Stratocaster guitars?

Answering this question can be complicated to some degree, but the bottom line will always be that yes, you can play metal with a Strat.

Nowadays, effect pedals play a significant role in your guitar tone and even more after all the new technology that keeps being released every year.

Make sure to watch this YouTube video titled “Can You Play Metal On A Strat?” by Spectre Sound Studios:

Can you play METAL on a STRAT? | SpectreSoundStudios

Can any guitar play any genre?

With enough effects pedals, you can make almost any guitar sound the way you want.

In other words, any guitar can essentially be used for any genre as long as you use the right gear and do the right customizations.

Stratocasters are very known to be multi-genre guitars, and Fender has guitars for nearly every budget and era.

This makes it extremely convenient to start for any beginner and very useful for those intermediate and professional players.

Other guitars that can be as versatile as Stratocasters include Fender Telecasters and Gibson Les Pauls.

Anatomy of Stratocaster

According to Keith Richards, the Strat is as sturdy and strong as a mule, yet it has the elegance of a racehorse.

There is no perfect guitar; what’s perfect to one guitarist may not be as perfect to another.

Learning about the anatomy of the guitar and the material used to make them is always very helpful.

Body

Stratocaster bodies are still made of the same woods as the first Stratocaster was made of many years ago.

It is made of either alder or ash wood; ash wood is mostly used in contemporary Strats.

fender strat body

Guitar and basses with blond finishes typically use this kind of wood for the body because the wood extract that “blonde” finishes very well.

On the other hand, those fender guitars that used alder wood for the body have many sonic advantages, are not dense, and are very lightweight.

These guitars also have good finishes with a light brown color and tight grains that are only slightly visible.

Keep in mind that most contemporary Strats are alder, while the Strats featured in the Deluxe range uses ash bodies.

Neck

The neck is the section wherein you hold with your fretting hand.

Fender guitar offers different neck profiles, they feature a variation on the classic “C” shaped neck, which has a more rounded profile than the pointed “V” or flatter “U” styles.

The actual shape of these letters roughly corresponds to the shape of the back of the neck in cross-section and each may have varying depths and thickness.

  • C-Shape Neck Profile:

This is the most common modern neck profile.

stratocaster c shape neck

It has a comfortable oval profile that works well for most playing styles.

Most Fender guitars, especially the Stratocaster, have modern C shape neck profiles.

  • V-Shape Neck Profile:

There are two versions of this type: a more rounded “soft” V and a more pointer “hard” V.

stratocaster v shape neck

Hard V is often preferred by guitarists because it is more comfortable for those that play with their thumb hanging over the edge of the fingerboard.

  • U-Shape Neck Profile:

The chunky and rounded one with high shoulders.

stratocaster u shape neck

Image Source | Fender.com

This type of neck profile is good for a guitarist with large hands and who is more comfortable with their thumb on the back or side of the neck.

Now, the most common woods that necks are made of are maple and mahogany.

Other more exotic woods that are also used a lot are rosewoods, ebony, walnut, and many others.

Some will carve from one solid piece of wood, while other is constructed through laminating or joining several layers of wood together.

Bridge

The bridge is where the string meets the body of the guitar.

A quick look at the following picture will give you a better idea:

stratocaster bridge

This will support the strings and transmit the vibration of those strings to another structural component of the instrument; in this case, the pickups.

Pickups

This is the part of a guitar that’s responsible for picking up the vibration from the strings and converting them into electronic signals.

stratocaster pickups

After that, those signals will be the ones that you’ll be able to hear from your amplifier or in a recording device.

The bridge pickup is the pick located next to the bridge and the neck pickup is the one nearest to the neck.

Pickup selector

The guitar pickup selector switch as the name itself implies is the switch that lets you choose which pickup or combination of pickups is currently active.

strat pickup selector

There are two most common types of pickup selector switches:

  • 3-way switches
  • 5-way switches

Pickguard

A scratch plate or pickguard is a plastic sheet that protects the guitar body from pick or finger damage over time.

stratocaster pickguard

In other words, this will be the piece of plastic or other (often laminated) material that is placed on the body of a guitar.

Volume and tone Knobs

The volume and tone knobs also called pots that are used to adjust the volume and tone levels of the pick-ups.

Saddle

A saddle is a thin strip of plastic, metal, or bone that is slotted into the bridge.

stratocaster saddles

The purpose of it is to hold the strings at the correct height and to transfer vibration through the bridge, directly to the body.

This part of the guitar also affects the intonation of the entire instrument.

Strap buttons

This is where you attach your strap to the guitar so that you can play in a standing position.

Most guitars have two strap buttons, one for each end of the strap.

strap buttons

The endpin is the button located at the bottom of the guitar.

Strap locks are the ones that securely fasten the strap to the guitar so it won’t accidentally fall off.

Others

  • Tremolo:

The tremolo arm is the metal bar that allows the player to either rise or lowers the pitch of the strings to create unique effects.

  • Output jack:

The output jack is where you plug your guitar cable to transfer the signal of the guitar to a pedal or directly to the amp.

  • Stratocaster head:

Also called headstock, this is where you tune in your guitar strings and will find the string tree, truss rod cover, and nuts.

Conclusion

Now we have a better idea of which genres Fender Stratocaster guitars are actually good for.

At the end of the day, remember that nowadays you can pretty much play any type of music with any guitar as long as you have the right playing style and effects pedals.

Be sure to consider factors such as body style and shape, neck type, fretboard, and even the pickups, if you want to get into more details before buying a new instrument.

Try out as many different electric guitars as before making a decision and don’t be afraid to be more experimental when it comes to choosing the perfect guitar.

As always thank you for reading! 🤘

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