Fender First in My Life

Fender Set the Tone From Day One

That above title is an intended pun of course. My first guitar (apart from the Westone bass) was a Fender American Standard Strat. It shaped me as a guitar player and I am forever grateful for it. I decided that the best policy was to buy an expensive (for me) guitar from the beginning, so it would encourage me to stay motivated to learn how to play it! I could have got a cheap copy as a less risky investment, but that’s the point. A Fender guitar is a sound investment because it’s not a toy, it is a professional instrument and overall will tend to appreciate if you hang on to it long enough!

That American Standard Strat cost me almost an entire month’s salary, but I was still happy about that. It was well worth it in my opinion. The smell inside the guitar case was unforgettable and to this day I find that same smell emanates from the case of all new Fender guitars, unmistakable!

I didn’t have any lessons. I chose to start off by playing along to records, that I was getting into. One other thing I used to spend most of my wages on was CDs and I had a huge collection of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Blues albums, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy. I had a lot of other genres of music too, like old soul records, James Brown, Bob Marley albums, but I used to mostly accompany Jimi Hendrix.

As you can probably imagine I wasn’t (and I am still not) in the same league as Jimi Hendrix, but knowing this I didn’t try and emulate him. What I chose to do was to play my own thing as if I was another guitarist in the Jimi Hendrix Experience, playing my own riffs and licks that complimented his playing. It proved to be a great way to learn guitar, but after nearly a year of this I found I was a pretty adept lead player, but I didn’t know many chords!

Still it didn’t stop me finding a way into my first band and moving to a new town. I made a load of new friends and a whole new world opened up to me. My life got a lot more exciting and fulfilling as a result. Amazing how an electric guitar could have such an effect. Yes I can honestly say that buying a Fender Strat changed my life in a most significant way. Thanks Fender!

2 Replies to “Fender First in My Life”

  1. I have a Mexican Strat, late 80’s model. I want to change out pickups and go with Fender Texas Specials. I also want to add a whammy bar and go with a tortoise shell pick guard (the body is sunburst). I’ve removed the tremelo cover and what a difference that has made in getting me closer to the “ballsy” blues tone I’m after. I’d be interested in hearing opinions from others who have made modifications to their guitars. This is my first venture into modifications.

    1. Hi Jeff,
      Thanks for the comment. I recently finished a mod project on a Squier Classic Vibe 60s Strat.

      It was quite a journey, but I did go a bit crazy on it. I keep meaning to write up an account of it here. It’s a superb guitar now with still a few further mods I want to make.

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