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posted: 4/21/2014 6:00 AM

Guitarists still making memorable music with Strat

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  • John Mayer performs with his Fender Stratocaster electric guitar. "It's the machine of my dreams. It's the Ford Mustang, the Marilyn Monroe, the lightning rod, surfboard, magic carpet for music."

    John Mayer performs with his Fender Stratocaster electric guitar. "It's the machine of my dreams. It's the Ford Mustang, the Marilyn Monroe, the lightning rod, surfboard, magic carpet for music."
    Associated Press

  • Fender Custom Shop Master Builder John Cruz works on a heavily-used Fender Stratocaster body at the Fender factory in Corona, Calif. Leo Fender developed the instrument in a small workshop in Fullerton, Calif. six decades ago.

    Fender Custom Shop Master Builder John Cruz works on a heavily-used Fender Stratocaster body at the Fender factory in Corona, Calif. Leo Fender developed the instrument in a small workshop in Fullerton, Calif. six decades ago.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jimi Hendrix made it shriek. Buddy Holly made it swing. Stevie Ray Vaughn made it snarl.

Some of the most legendary guitarists in music history have elicited unforgettable sounds from the Fender Stratocaster, the distinctive double-cutaway guitar born in a small Fullerton, Calif., workshop 60 years ago this month.

It's far from a musical relic: It remains an essential tool for some of today's top guitarists. Vince Gill relies on it so much he calls it an "extension of my hands," while blues virtuoso Robert Cray calls it a workhorse.

As shredder Yngwie Malmsteen put it: "There is no substitute."

As this iconic guitar celebrates its 60th anniversary in April, The Associated Press takes a visual journey into the creation of the iconic guitars, and explores why it's still a fixture on concert stages today.

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