The continued cultural significance of Fender guitars

Yesyoudidyouare

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Yeah I kind of hate the strat shape unless its special, like an acoustasonic or some high end or anniversary fender. It "looks" 80's to me.

Tele is more refined, minimal, and better.
 

Happy Enchilada

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One of the chief reasons I love Telecasters is they exemplify the fundmental "form follows function" rule of the universe. They don't try to be anything other than what they are - a basic, easily understood guitar that works and sounds great. No mother of toilet seat inlay birdies on the fretboard. No fancified abalone trim that does nothing for the actual sound quality. No exotic wood tops to look snazzy hanging on the wall in your living room. Just a humble slab of wood with two single coil pickups and minimal controls bolted to a simple unbound neck ending in an almost spartan headstock. Same reason I love the Les Paul Special - no decor, just straight-up electric and mechanical parts mounted in a workmanlike body. Electric guitars the way God intended.
 

HolmfirthNJ

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When did Jack White become the baseline for brand/style choice? I don't have any problem with this skills, but I bet Clapton did more for making Stats popular, not to mention Hendrix and many more.
I think for this conversation, probably because his was the main image in the newspaper spread but the conversation could have gone with Idles (in the picture) or others. I kind of think with Strats and Teles, it’s both that the things themselves are so well designed and built - playing a 70 year old one on a stage is a completely reasonable prospect (if you can afford it) but I drove my Grandad’s ‘57 car well into the ‘90s and as well as looking slightly comical it could be quite scary (certainly had to think about breaking a couple of corners ahead), and it’s the the people who are playing the guitars that give them some cool e.g. JimiHendrix and a Strat or Chrissie Hynde with her Tele in that picture above. It particularly seems to work for Fenders, I think, because they are such recognisable designs that come with a ton of cultural ‘baggage’, for better or worse.
 

HolmfirthNJ

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Fender directly markets their guitars to a younger/hipster/LGBTQ audience while Gibson clings to the the golden age of rock and a more masculine audience (like Harley or Ford/Chevy/Ram full size pickups).
Yes, and perhaps the guitars lend themselves to being marketed like that - Gibsons with all that wood and binding and shaping and glued in neck, like old pieces of furniture, whereas a pink Fender with a bolt on maple neck just looks right up to the minute, ready to go somehow.
No absolutes though - just a view -opposite arguments apply - Brittany Howard with her Pelham Blue SG is pretty amazing, and completely modern, I think.
 

Skyhook

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Yeah Jack White plays mainly Fender now, He had a cool jazzmaster too... I think the story is that he made the orange tele he used to play out of parts and Fender saw him playing it and said "We'll make you whatever you want" ... because, you know, he's Jack White.

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as well as these 2, which I presume are a blueburst tele and jazzmaster acousasonics?
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Jack White? Sure looks like Little Boy Blue to me... :twisted:
 

ClashCityTele

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+1
And.... we all know why Fenders and Gibsons cost so much.... their advertising budgets!!
Local guitar hero Sam Fender (real name) was at Glastonbury with his trademark Jazzmaster.
He played Gibsons early in his career until Fender offered him an endorsement deal.
Free guitars Sam? Ta, very much mate!

sam_fender_jw-3.jpg
 

2HBStrat

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Just because they are used by musicians doesn't mean they have wider cultural significance.
Even most non-musicians will know Fender, Gibson and Martin.
I have an aversion to strats but I think that’s just because of how ubiquitous they are. That’s a big part of why I picked a telecaster as my first guitar...
Telecasters aren't ubiquitous?
 

Chiogtr4x

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Let's assume the Beatles are the most iconic band ever. So in retrospect shouldn't a Gretsch
or a Ric be the axe of the masses? The Telecaster George used in "Get Back" doesn't count.
Just a picture I found recently, when actually Google-ing The Beatles' Sonic Blue ( I think) Strats.

Personally, a Stratocaster ( with 5-position switch and 3 single coils) is just about the perfect guitar for me. Great sounds available, very comfy, and beautiful.
 

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jvin248

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Ask 10 random people on the street to draw a guitar, 8/10 will draw a strat, the other 2 will be an acoustic...

The Strat was just about to be discontinued until Hendrix got them cheap (or free from friends) because they were 'unwanted'. They were so cheap and unwanted he set them on fire. Even then, he saved the Strat shape.

Then later on, because Fender allowed the Strat shape to leak into public domain, other companies copied the guitar body until the shape became ubiquitous. It's like the reasoning behind why Barns are Red,

iu


People want red barns because that is the style you should have. Originally red paint was cheaper because more farmers painted their barns red so the volume of red paint went up and the price down, which encouraged more farmers to paint them red. Then everyone was used to seeing red barns so they wanted their barns painted red too. (My belief is the original materials in red paint, like toxic cadmium, made the wood last longer than other colors, modern paints are all the same, chemically derived from oil). Everyone wants a Strat because they are so used to seeing Strats played, doodled in cartoons, background instruments in bands playing in the movies, and on and on. A Strat is an iconic shape because it is iconic.

Gibson's approach, meanwhile ...
iu


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