Does a 50s Strat limit what you can play?

JB74

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 22, 2018
4,107
ɹǝpunuʍop
I don't own a 50's strat.

I'd also say most people here don't either.

Those who do are fortunate and few.

And if there is a 'limit' then buy another guitar to get where you want to go.

more often than not the only limitation is the player holding the guitar and not the guitar.
 

Wound_Up

You can call me Duane 😁
Jan 23, 2020
4,689
NW LA
Look at the Kind of guitars that were played by the greats of guitar- did it stop any of them? Did Clapton or Knopfler feel limited by their 50s strat?

Came here to post this.

They played plenty of rock in the 60s and 70s with 50s Strats.


If they could do it then, why couldn't you do it now? It's still rock and it's still a 50s Strat. The only limitation there is you.
 

mikej89

Senior Stratmaster
May 12, 2016
4,306
River Falls, WI
IMO you can play pretty much all that music you mentioned on any Strat "IF" you have the right amp & effects but mostly the amp... For surf you need a lot of reverb and clean headroom so if you're in a band non-mic'd we're talking at least a pro-reverb for larger venues but probably a Twin.
 

tanta07

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2019
2,260
Colorado
You can only play 50's music on a 50's Strat, everyone knows that.

The model names aren't just for marketing purposes.

For example, you have to be a professional American musician to buy an American Professional Strat.

It's true! I've been having the damndest time trying to become a Vintera so I can buy one.
 

Whitster

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 27, 2021
94
Seattle area
Look at the Kind of guitars that were played by the greats of guitar- did it stop any of them? Did Clapton or Knopfler feel limited by their 50s strat?

Well.. Yes .

For example - Knopfler plays Money for Nothing on a Les Paul because as he says - A Strat doesnt provide the right tone/vibe for the song

And as here made clear - he branched out and played different guitars because ... that expands your opportunities , your expressive ability , and what you hear when you play - which feedbacks into what you DO play and so it goes

A 50's OR a 60's Strat are LIMITING

Any one guitar is

Any guitar is limited by (for example ) pickups .

back to Knopfler - The same is true for the song Brothers in Arms

And of course the very unique tone and vibe of the National resonator guitar was what inspired Romeo and Juliet.

Again Knopfler himself, A guy who loves his Strat and has made astonishing music on it ALSO says certain songs aren't right for it AND by playing certain non Strat guitars - DIFFERENT music came out of him

And then there is the whole Monteleone thing ... And lets not forget Pensa Suhr!!!

people love to say satisfying (but nonsense ) oversimplified stuff like 'tone is all in your fingers ' or hey even my Sig on one of my groups 'all you need is three chords a guitar and the truth'

A 50's Strat is a wonderfully expressive versatile instrument

And all too often the limiting factor with a guitarist and his main tool (the guitar ... his effect(s) and amp are tools too ) is THE GUITARIST not his 50's Strat or whatever hes playing

My main axe is a 56 Junior. That's much simpler than a Strat but I can still play a remarkable range of music with it

But lets get real ... pretty much any one guitar is SOMEWHAT limiting

But who cares ... You aren't limited to one guitar . and of course ime (and Knopfler agrees ) will find different guitars to.some extent inspire new KINDS of playing ... Same is true of different tunings and different effects - such as echo, distortion , compression (which can come if I'm just the amp of course), reverb etc

The variety of music that can come out of s 50's Strat IS infinite

But ... as mathematicians know There are multiple LEVELS of infinity . look it up.if you dont believe me

no guitar (even my modeling varies guitars ) do everything
 
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AO5060

New Member!
Sep 20, 2021
2
Chicago
Like other replies, I think you should go with the one that feels right and makes you want to pick it up. You can always change pickups to hone in on a certain tone/era/artist. I think with Strats, amp and pedal choices will be a bigger factor after pickups. Cheers!
 

ToneRanger

Most Honored Senior Member
Jun 8, 2009
8,437
Area 51
I’m still undecided about whether to get the American Original 50s or 60s. I love the look and general vibe of the 50s, but I’m concerned that it might limit the kinds of music I can use it for compared to the 60s. It seems like they would both do well for blues and some jazz, but the 50 wouldn’t sound good with the kind of distortion you’d use for 60s and 70s surf and classic rock, Zeppelin, AC/DC. Even 80s Joan Jett, Pat Benetar, or Talking Heads. Whereas the 50s would only sound good on oldies Buddy Holly and some older, simpler, cleaner blues or mild distortion, and stop there. Am I wrong on this? Thanks for your input.

Never limited Eric Johnson - his #1 for years was a 1954 - jump to 1:30 for the fireworks:

 

Scott Baxendale

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
5,565
Sante Fe, NM
I’m still undecided about whether to get the American Original 50s or 60s. I love the look and general vibe of the 50s, but I’m concerned that it might limit the kinds of music I can use it for compared to the 60s. It seems like they would both do well for blues and some jazz, but the 50 wouldn’t sound good with the kind of distortion you’d use for 60s and 70s surf and classic rock, Zeppelin, AC/DC. Even 80s Joan Jett, Pat Benetar, or Talking Heads. Whereas the 50s would only sound good on oldies Buddy Holly and some older, simpler, cleaner blues or mild distortion, and stop there. Am I wrong on this? Thanks for your input.
Yes you are wrong on this. Either vintage can do every genre equally as well. The 50’s are maple and the 60’s are mostly rosewood fingerboards other than that they are pretty much the same, at least as far as sound and genre are concerned.
 

Vic42670

Strat-Talk Member
Mar 25, 2014
40
Meriden ,ct.
I’m still undecided about whether to get the American Original 50s or 60s. I love the look and general vibe of the 50s, but I’m concerned that it might limit the kinds of music I can use it for compared to the 60s. It seems like they would both do well for blues and some jazz, but the 50 wouldn’t sound good with the kind of distortion you’d use for 60s and 70s surf and classic rock, Zeppelin, AC/DC. Even 80s Joan Jett, Pat Benetar, or Talking Heads. Whereas the 50s would only sound good on oldies Buddy Holly and some older, simpler, cleaner blues or mild distortion, and stop there. Am I wrong on this? Thanks for your input.
Take this as you will…. I just have one reference to make . SRV’s#1 I believe had date stamped pups at 1959 … even though it’s been guesstimated that the guitar is actually a early 60’s ( apparently to what I’ve found online about it , it’s not known for sure ) though could be a Frankenstein strat of sorts .it’s more widely thought the guitar was put together in the early 60’s with parts that were around from varying years .. my point ? Though Stevie did venture into super high gain territory , he did get some very high gain blues tones out of it as well as clean and most tones in between .. also with the billions ( ok probably more like 1000’s) of pedals and amps available you can more than likely get any of those tones you mention, or very close at least …. Pick the one you like best for : looks , feel , playability etc between these two would be my personal criteria . Iam no where near an expert but this is some stuff I’ve “picked up “on over the few years I’ve been fumbling around on guitars ( strat centric mostly )
 

Stealthracer

Senior Stratmaster
Dec 8, 2012
2,957
Gainsborough, ENGLAND
This what you do:

1 - pick any make and model of guitar

2 - pick any style or genre of music

3 - type both into Google

4 - notice that someone, somewhere has already done it

5 - realise that the only limits are the ability and imagination of the player.

6 - job done.
 

Helter Skelter

Strat-Talk Member
Mar 19, 2013
58
In the clouds
First of all, I just deleted my rant so be grateful lol. Basically it said, learn to use you gear. Buy what you want, if it's too bright..turn down the treble or pick closer to the neck, too bassy... pick near the bridge and turn the bass down, want to cut through more then turn the mids up.

It's nice to have multiple guitars to be honest, most guitars can do most sounds, especially older music. You have to spend time and figure out the limits of your gear and how to get what you want from it.
 


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