Stratocaster. What a fantastic word that is. Strat-o-cast-er. It's utterly wasted on a configuration of planks and wire from the 50s.
I've been struggling with mine* though. Back in 2010 I saved up for, ordered and patiently waited 1,000,000 years for a USA-made Stratocaster direct from Fender. Easily the most expenisve guitar I've ever bought (a grand for wood and wire!) but it's a classic, right? It'll be the last guitar I'll ever need, etc. It will be the guitar.
It finally arrived and it was, well... fine. No, better than fine. Sounded like a Strat should. Perfectly intonated, great action, stays in tune. One of the best finished, most comfortable necks I've ever played. Really well built. And despite all that, I've never really loved it. It's only ever done one gig. That guitar has spent most of its life in a case, while cheaper and less capable guitars competed for my affection. I used to think that I was keeping it locked up because it was valuable but, no, that’s not it.
Apparently perfection is boring. Also, I’m a fickle whore.
Not playing a guitar is a crime tantamount to abandoning one's children. The rule is if it’s not being played regularly it goes on eBay so someone else can enjoy it. But I never sold the Strat on. It's been sat there for the better part of a decade making me feel oddly guilty that my dream instrument isn't all it cracked up to be.
I’ve decided to change all that. I’ve put it on a stand near my desk and made myself play it. In fact, it’s been the only instrument I’ve picked up for the past few weeks. I've consciously abandoned all respect for its box fresh sanctity too. It's been disassembled twice. Two new honk-ier pickups in, bit of rewiring, extra foil shielding to assist with proximity laptop work. Reset the trem to float a bit more, tweaked the intonation accordingly. Aesthetically, it's had a new pickguard and pickup covers to make it look less busy.
Also, now it’s “in the wild” it's been hit by at least one well-flung plastic toy, gets gently bashed against the chair/desk all the time and actually got kicked completely off the stand the other day, resulting in a couple of exciting new headstock dings. I've probably spent another hundred quid on it and killed half its resell value. But for the first time in eight years it actually feels like my guitar. It makes me smile when I play it. It's still a work in progress, but it's not going back in it's case any time soon.
Some relationships need work.
*Well, one of mine - there's a frankenstrat called Frankie that was a well-dinged B-stock Mexistrat, “enhanced” with bits from eBay. It’s been thrown around a lot and is on it’s third neck.
Listening to "Scattered Hearts in the Parks of Cities" by CLARA-NOVA.
Currently listening to "Cannonball" - Tune-Yards.
Currently reading "Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age" - Annalee Newitz.
Posted Friday, January 4, 2019.