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"Stratocaster" and "Strat" are trademark terms belonging to Fender.The Stratocaster is a versatile guitar, usable for all styles of complete music and has been used in many genres, including country, rock, pop, folk, soul, rhythm and blues, blues, jazz, punk, and heavy metal.It is a double-cutaway guitar, with an extended top "horn" shape for balance.Along with the Gibson Les Paul, it is one of the most-often emulated electric guitar shapes.A unique single-ply, 8-screw hole white pickguard held all electronic components except the recessed jack plate—facilitating easy assembly.Original Stratocasters were manufactured with five tremolo springs, allowing the bridge set up to "float".There is considerable debate about the effects on tone and sustain of the material used in the tremolo system's 'inertia bar' and many aftermarket versions are available.The Stratocaster features three single coil pickups, with the output originally selected by a 3-way switch.
This setting's characteristic tone is not caused by any electronic phenomenon—early Stratocasters used identical pickups for all positions.Guitarists soon discovered that by jamming the switch in between the 1st and 2nd position, both the bridge and middle pickups could be selected, and similarly, the middle and neck pickups could be selected between the 2nd and 3rd position.When two pickups are selected simultaneously, they are wired in parallel which leads to a slight drop in output as slightly more current is allowed to pass to the ground.In the floating position, players can move the bridge-mounted tremolo arm up or down to modulate the pitch of the notes being played.Hank Marvin, used the Strat's floating tremolo extensively in their playing.
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In December 1965 the Stratocaster was given a broader headstock with altered decals to match the size of the Jazzmaster and the Jaguar.