Jeff Beck: “Why My Strat Always Beats a Les Paul”

Image placeholder title

PHOTO: Clayton Call | Getty Images

Jeff Beck has owned and played any number of cool guitars over the course of his 50-plus-year career. But when it comes to his favorite, he says nothing compares to a Fender Stratocaster.

Speaking with Total Guitar, Beck says that compared to a Gibson Les Paul or Fender Telecaster, “My Strat is another arm, it’s part of me.

“It doesn’t feel like a guitar at all. It’s an implement which is my voice.

“A Les Paul feels like a guitar and I play differently on that and I sound too much like someone else.

“With the Strat, instantly it becomes mine, so that’s why I’ve welded myself to that. Or it’s welded itself to me, one or the other.”

Beck also credited the Stratocaster when discussing his latest album, Loud Hailer, saying the guitar inspires him to dig deeper.

“I’m an experimenter. It’s rich because every album I’ve done, except for a couple of techno-y records, are different.

“Really you’ve got to hand it to the Fender Strat, because there are songs in [that guitar]. It’s a tool of great inspiration and torture at the same time because it’s forever sitting there challenging you to find something else in it, but it is there if you really search.

“It does respond to touch and the tonal variation is unlimited really, especially with the whammy bar. I have it set up so it becomes almost like a pedal steel.”

Beck is featured in ZZ Top’s official live video for “Sixteen Tons,” from the group’s recent 2016 compilation album, Live—Greatest Hits from Around the World. The video is shown below.

We’ve also included a clip of Beck showing off some of his guitar collection, including a 1954 Telecaster, a Strat gifted to him by John McLaughlin, an original Gretsch Rancher and a 1956 Gretsch Duo Jet. (Beck also shows his Gibson ES-175, though he refers to it as an L5.) The clip appears as bonus content on his 2011 Rock ’n’ Roll Party DVD.