Today in rock history, Buddy Holly and The Crickets had their only number one, “That’ll Be the Day,” this week in 1957. Their next two singles, “Peggy Sue” and “Oh, Boy!” also made the top 10, while “Maybe Baby” and “It Doesn’t Matter Any More” (written by Paul Anka) were top 20. Buddy Holly, apart from being a rock and roll pioneer and hit maker, is also known for championing the then-new Fender Stratocaster solid-body electric guitar, at a time when everybody else was using the big arch tops and hollow bodies, and it wasn’t necessarily cool to use a strange, space-age-looking solid body electric guitar like the “Strat.” It, along with his black plastic glasses, became his trademark. The Strat has become a rock and roll legend, too, that can count guitar greats Clapton, Beck, Mayer, Buddy Guy, and others, as users. Ever since I picked up the guitar 4 years ago, I knew I had to have one. I don’t know if you’ve read my first post where I said I’d be lucky to get a Strat by the time I was 60? Well, the time is now – when my oldest son took my Epiphone SG Junior off to college with him in August, I was a guitar short, and it was time to look around for a new one. Now, I look at guitars and check the on-line listings for what’s out there nearly every day, but now I started to look for a nice used Strat in earnest. In terms of Strats and strat clones, you have quite a range – from the imported, low-budget “Squier” versions to the ultra expensive Signature and Custom Shop models. What I needed was something that was somewhere in between the Squier and the more expensive USA-made Strats. Now, I’m not the kind of guy who shops on eBay – I need to play a guitar, have a look at it, and see how it’s set up, before I can buy one. I also am fond of buying used gear – there’s nothing like a nicely broken in, well-set-up guitar that needs nothing done to it before you can play it. I get most of my used gear from MusicGoRound stores. They are a national chain of stores specializing in new and used musical instruments. You can check out the inventory all over the country online at www.musicgoround.com. My local store had several used Strats, so I went in to check them out, and came home with a sweet electric blue, Mexican-made model, 1999 vintage, for about $280, including gig bag. The Mexican Strat is a good value, bridging the gap between the Squier and USA made models, while featuring the quality of an “American made” (well, Mexico is in North America…) Strat. The five-way switching between the three single-pole pickups gives you incredible versatility, from a twangy, Buddy Holly-like sound through my Kustom solid-state amp, to a distorted snarl through my Epiphone Class A tube amp. With this tonal palette, I’ll have years of fun just figuring out all the different combinations of tone! “Oh, Boy!” indeed!
Thanks to www.garylessard.com for the trivia, and, as always – keep on rockin! Buddy Holly forever!