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Walter Trout: The One Thing Leo Fender Got Perfect About the Stratocaster

Walter Trout
(Image credit: Alex Solca)

Blues guitar great Walter Trout – a veteran of Canned Heat and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and the author of an impressive catalog of stellar blues-rock records on his own – has owned quite a few guitars in his time, but the Strat generally remains his weapon of choice. 

Trout elaborated on why the none-more-iconic solidbody was his favorite in a recent interview with Guitarist, where he was asked: "Are there any common design features in electric guitars that are an instant turn-off for you when you’re auditioning potential guitars?" In response, Trout said:

“Let me tell you one thing about the Strat that I think Leo got perfect and no-one has made it any better… One of the problems I had when I was playing a Les Paul or a 335 was I tended to change the volume all the time and I changed the pickups all the time, too. 

“I’d be playing and if I wanted to change the pickup I’d have to reach up to the top of the guitar to the pickup switch then I had to go down to the volume buttons and goof with them and it was a lot of work. It required me to stop playing for a second. 

“One of the things that Leo Fender got perfect, and I realized it the first time I played a Stratocaster, is that you can control all of it with your pinkie without ever stopping playing. I can switch pickups, I can move the tone control, I can turn the volume up and down and I don’t have to quit playing. It’s all right there within reach of my little finger. I really think he got it perfect and I don’t think it can be improved upon.”

Back in August, Trout released his 27th solo album, Ordinary Madness. Recorded days before the United States' COVID-19 shutdown, it features his band – Michael Leasure on drums, Johnny Griparic on bass and Teddy ‘Zig Zag’ Andreadis on keys – plus special guests Skip Edwards, Drake ‘Munkihaid’ Shining and Anthony Grisham.

To pick up a copy of the album, step right this way.