The following is an alphabetized list of Stratocaster players. The Fender Stratocaster was designed by Leo Fender and Freddie Tavares with involvement from musicians Rex Gallion and Bill Carson in the early 1950s, and since its commercial introduction in 1954, it has become widely used among popular artists in rock, blues, and other genres. The Squier Stratocaster is produced by Fender as a more affordable alternative to the Fender-branded version.

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Fender Custom Shop Custom Shop LTD 20th Anniversary Masterbuilt 2007 Stratocaster Closet Classic Candy Green¹

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Due to the great popularity of this model, musicians are listed here only if their use of this instrument was especially significant — that is, they are players with long careers who have a history of Stratocaster use, or the particular guitar they used was unique or of historical importance, or their use of the Stratocaster contributed significantly to the popularization of the instrument


Randy Bachman (born 1943) A founding member of both The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Bachman favored Stratocasters and custom Strat-style guitars. Though his bands are most known for their simplistic rock-radio anthems, Bachman’s soloing often revealed complex melodies and jazz-inflected phrasing. Among his known Stratocasters used are a ’63 standard and a ’71 four-bolt hardtail. He has listed guitar influences as varied as Lenny Breau, Leslie West, Wes Montgomery and Hank Marvin.

Jeff Beck (born 1944) A Grammy award winning rock guitarist. Beck is known for playing for various bands such as the Yardbirds and his own group The Jeff Beck Group, Beck primarily plays a Stratocaster and also has a signature Strat. He is noted for his innovative use of the Stratocaster’s vibrato system. Up to 1975 Beck had been, primarily, a Les Paul player. In an interview with Jas Obrecht about switching to the Stratocaster Beck stated “With a Les Paul you just wind up sounding like someone else. With the Strat I finally sound like me.”

Ritchie Blackmore (born 1945) A founding member of both Deep Purple and Rainbow, currently a member of the band Blackmore’s Night. After starting his career using various Hofner and Gibson guitars, Blackmore switched to a Stratocaster in the late 1960s after seeing Jimi Hendrix perform with one. Blackmore’s Stratocasters are modified; the middle pickup is lowered down and not used (sometimes disconnected completely) and his Stratocaster fingerboards are all scalloped from the 10th fret up. Through the early/mid 1970s Blackmore was notorious for onstage abuse of his guitars sometimes destroying them completely. By the late 1970s the guitarist had found a Stratocaster model he was content with and it has remained his main stage and studio guitar up to present day.

Tommy Bolin (1951–1976) A versatile guitarist who is noted for his influence in genres from acoustic blues to hard rock to jazz fusion. He was the lead guitarist for Zephyr, James Gang and Deep Purple and also had a solo career. Bolin played by ear and was known for his improvisational skill. His primary guitar was a stock 1963 Stratocaster.

Bill Carson A country and western guitarist credited by Fender as “the man for whom the Stratocaster was designed.”

Eric Clapton (born 1945) A Grammy-award-winning guitarist who originally played Gibson guitars has been a Stratocaster enthusiast since 1970. Clapton bought his first Stratocaster that year, Brownie, which was used on Layla. Blackie, a composite of three different guitars, went into service in 1970 and was regularly played until its retirement in 1985. It was sold at charity auction for $959,500 in 2004. In 1988, Fender introduced the Eric Clapton Stratocaster, the first model in their Signature series. He has been a long-standing client of the Fender Custom Shop.

Ry Cooder (born 1947) A guitarist, singer, and composer who is well-known for his interest in American folk music, his collaborations with other notable musicians, and his work on many film soundtracks. Cooder’s bottleneck slide guitar playing, heard on such works as the soundtrack to the 1984 film Paris, Texas, influenced other guitarists such as Bonnie Raitt and Chris Rea and contributed to the popularity of the Stratocaster as a slide guitar. He uses a 60’s Stratocaster for such playing.

Robert Cray (born 1953) A long-time blues guitarist and singer. Plays a ’64 Strat and had his own Signature model made in 1990. The signature model, manufactured by the Fender Custom Shop, combines aspects of Cray’s ’59 Strat and the ’64, omits the standard Stratocaster whammy bar, and includes custom pickups.

Dick Dale (born 1937) One of the first owners of a Stratocaster; his was given to him personally by Leo Fender in 1955. Considered the pioneer of surf rock. He has been revolutionary in experimenting with the sound of the guitar by using heavy reverb and a unique playing style.

The Edge (born 1961) Lead guitarist of U2, known for his melodic playing and use of delay, has used the Stratocaster as one of his main guitars throughout his career. He owns multiple Stratocasters.

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John Frusciante (born 1970), Lead guitarist of Red Hot Chili Peppers used two Stratocasters on Californication, RHCP most successful album, as well as on Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Mother’s Milk
Rory Gallagher (1948–1995) Irish blues rock guitarist, often credited as one of the most influential Irish rock and blues guitarists of all time. He is well-known for his worn sunburst Stratocaster. He described his battered Stratocaster as “a part of my psychic makeup”. “B.B. King has owned over 100 Lucilles, but I only own one Strat, and it hasn’t got a name”.

David Gilmour (born 1946) Both as a solo artist and as the guitar player in Pink Floyd, Gilmour is credited for his unique, blues-based compositional approach and expressive soloing with author Tony Bacon stating “his solo on ‘Comfortably Numb’ remains for many a definitive Strat moment.” Gilmour’s guitar of choice is a custom, specially-modified Fender Stratocaster. He is the owner of Strat #0001, which was manufactured in 1954 but was not the first Stratocaster made since Fender does not use sequential serial numbers. Gilmour’s signature black Stratocaster, used frequently in 1970’s concerts and on the blockbuster albums Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall, is featured in a new book by his long-time guitar tech Phil Taylor: Pink Floyd, The Black Strat — A History of David Gilmour’s Black Stratocaster. Gilmour is considered to be one of the more influential Stratocaster players since the instrument’s invention.

Buddy Guy (born 1936) American blues guitarist and singer. Guy is well known for playing the Stratocaster throughout his long career. He is also known for his wild showmanship; Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan both pointed to Guy as an influence on both their playing and their stage shows. Fender has issued several different variations (black with white polka dots, red with white polkadots, white with black polkadots, a two-color sunburst and a honey-blonde finish) of a Buddy Guy Signature Stratocaster since the early 1990s; the guitars generally have gold Lace Sensor pickups and 25db active midboost circuitry.

George Harrison (1943-2001) Harrison got his first Stratocaster in 1965 and used it for the recording of the Rubber Soul album. Fender’s Don Randall met with the Beatles to try and convince them to use more Fender products. The band bought several different instruments including Harrison’s famous rosewood Telecaster. A prototype rosewood Stratocaster was also built for him at this time but Harrison did not use it. Harrison hand-painted his original Stratocaster with a psychedelic paint job that included the word “Bebopalula” painted above the pickguard and the guitar’s nickname, “Rocky”, painted on the headstock. He can be seen playing Rocky in the Magical Mystery Tour film as well as The Concert for Bangla Desh.

Jimi Hendrix (1942–1970) Known for developing blues in a modern context, Hendrix’ main stage guitar through most of his short career was a Fender Stratocaster. In 1990, the white Stratocaster used by Hendrix at the 1969 Woodstock Festival sold in a Sotheby’s auction for $270,000, a record price at the time. Although Hendrix played left-handed, he did not normally use a custom left-handed Stratocaster. Instead, he is noted for playing a conventional right-handed Stratocaster strung backwards because he preferred to use the controls in that position. Like Buddy Holly, Hendrix was responsible for a large increase in the Stratocaster’s popularity, especially in his favorite finish, white. In reference to his famed on-stage Stratocaster burning, Hendrix is quoted as saying, “The time I burned my guitar it was like a sacrifice. You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar.” In 1997 Fender produced a limited edition Hendrix tribute model Stratocaster.

Buddy Holly (1936–1959) Holly has been identified as “the first Strat’ hero.” A statue of Holly in his home town of Lubbock, Texas portrays him playing his Stratocaster, and the guitar is also engraved on his tombstone. Although the initial release of the Stratocaster came in 1954, the guitar did not begin to achieve popularity until Holly appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1957 playing a maple-neck Strat. Holly was also pictured on the cover of The Crickets’ 1957 album The “Chirping” Crickets with a sunburst Stratocaster, inspiring The Shadows’ Hank Marvin to adopt the guitar.

Eric Johnson (born 1954) A Grammy-award-winning guitarist from Austin, Texas, Johnson has played Stratocasters regularly during his career and has played many different types of music.


Mark Knopfler (born 1949) Known for his work with English band Dire Straits, Fender now produces his Signature Stratocaster.

John Lennon (1940–1980) Beatles guitarist acquired a 1961 Stratocaster during the 1965 sessions for Help!. It was used on the track Nowhere Man. He also used the guitar during the Sgt. Pepper sessions. A different Strat was used on the Imagine album.

Alex Lifeson (born 1953) Guitarist for Rush since 1968. He first recorded with a Stratocaster on the Rush 1977 album A Farewell to Kings. From 1982, he used the model as his main guitar for most of the 1980s.

Yngwie J. Malmsteen (born 1963) Known for his work in the neo-classical metal genre. Influenced by an array of musicians, Malmsteen is regarded as highly influential for his use of heavy classical-style chord progressions, interesting phrases and arpeggio sweeps. He is known for playing Stratocasters with scalloped fretboards.

Hank Marvin (born 1941) Lead guitarist of The Shadows, was the owner of the first Fender Stratocaster in the UK (given to him by Cliff Richard). The guitar was finished in a shade of Fiesta Red, sometimes referred to as ‘Salmon Pink’. This guitar, with its tremolo arm, contributed to the Shadows’ distinctive sound. Guitarists such as Mark Knopfler credit Marvin and the The Shadows, who had “the first Strat that came to England”, with influencing their own decisions to buy Stratocasters.

John Mayer (born 1977) A Grammy-award-winning singer/songwriter has enjoyed recent popularity. Mayer has played Stratocasters throughout his career and has had a Fender Artist Series Stratocaster made in both standard and limited edition form. Mayer’s use of the Stratocaster in a wide range of musical genres is noted as a testament to the guitar’s versatility.

Mike Oldfield (born 1953) A British guitarist who plays a wide range of guitars and instruments. His “Salmon-pink” strat, bought at the time of his hit Moonlight Shadow, is his favourite guitar.


Bonnie Raitt (born 1949) An American blues/R&B guitarist, singer and songwriter. She plays a 1969 Stratocaster and she also plays her own signature Strat.

Robbie Robertson (born 1943) Guitarist and principle songwriter for The Band, Robertson’s main guitar choice was a Stratocaster after using a Telecaster early in his career. For The Last Waltz the guitarist had a Stratocaster bronzed especially for his use in the film. More recently Robertson made a very rare live appearance at Eric Clapton’s 2008 Crossroads Guitar Festival using a Stratocaster.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd (born 1977 Kenneth Wayne Brobst) Lead guitarist and lead/backup vocalist for The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Kenny started his playing career at age 16, while attending Caddo Magnet High School, and has performed internationally with many of the great blues legends.

Richard Thompson (born 1949) An English musician, best known for his guitar playing and songwriting, and a founder member of Fairport Convention. For many years Thompson played a ’59 Sunburst Stratocaster, with a maple ’55 neck. That guitar is currently unservicable and Thompson now uses a ’64 sunburst Stratocaster with a rosewood fingerboard.

Pete Townshend (born 1945) Guitarist for The Who. He used a Stratocaster during the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and has exclusively used a modified version of the Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster since 1989.

Robin Trower (born 1945) A British rock guitarist known for his work in the band Procol Harum and his successful solo career. Trower also has his own Signature Stratocaster made by Fender. “The sight of him onstage with his signature Stratocaster is as characteristic to his fans as his classic songs.”

Ritchie Valens (1941–1959) was a pioneer of rock and roll, mostly famous for his Latin Rock song La Bamba, played with a sunburst Strat.

Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954–1990) Known for his Texas blues style guitar playing. Vaughan was an American blues guitarist and is considered highly influential for his driving guitar style soaked with rhythmic style playing. Vaughan is noted for playing a Stratocaster equipped with a left-handed vibrato system. He is also known for tuning his guitar down a half-step and using heavy strings.

Ronnie Wood (born 1947) Rolling Stones guitarist since 1975. Main stage instruments are 1956 and 1957 Sunburst Strats. He also uses a Telecaster.

James “J.Y.” Young of multi-platinum rock band Styx has been using a Stratocaster as his principal guitar almost exclusively since 1967.