I've spent most of my playing time on Super Strats. I admire Fender, but have never been a big Fender user. However, the twists luthiers and manufacturers such as Wayne Charvel and Grover Jackson brought to a new style of playing as the seventies turned into the eighties, created a leaner, lighter, faster guitar with new bridge and tremolo innovations that would take electric lead guitar playing to the next level.
Perhaps the player most attributed with the early development of Super Strats is Eddie Van Halen. He built his guitar by
hand, using an imperfect body and a neck bought from Wayne Charvel's guitar shop. The body and neck were constructed by Lynn Ellsworth of Boogie Bodies guitars, His custom design parts were sold by Wayne Charvel at the time. Eddie installed a humbucker in the bridge position, essentially creating a Fat Strat. The era of Super Strats was born.
These new hot rod Stratocaster shaped
guitars were designed for a new type of playing. One that including tapping and
playing arpeggios as high up on the neck, as possible. Additionally, new players were innovating the tone and technique of modern electric guitar, and the Floyd Rose tremolo system provided for an entirely new palate of techniques and sounds.
Left to Right:
2007 Jackson SLH2, 1986 Charvel, 2005 Jackson SL1
My favorite Super Strat brands and models are by Jackson, ESP and Ibanez. Jackson's neck-thru Custom Shop Soloist line are extremely well made guitars with well balanced bodies, thin necks, and wider fret boards. Snake skin is one of my preferred finishes.
I also have a Charvel which used to be a partner of Grover Jackson, and the resemblance is not an accident. This particular 1986 Charvel in broken glass finish has active pickups, and weighs more than the rest of the Super Strats in my collection.
2012 ESP Custom Shop Horizon
No discussion on Super Strats would be complete without including ESP. Today, ESP's Custom Shop in Japan puts out the highest quality hand made guitars in Japan in my humble opinion. This particular ESP Horizon has a thin neck and narrow fret board, together with active EMG pickups. It is a rock and metal axe extraordinaire. I'd put this ESP Horizon up against any guitar I own for playability and feel.
The Super Strats: Front Row Left to Right:
2002 Ibanez Prestige, 2007 Jackson SLH2, 2012 ESP Horizon, 2005 Jackson SL1, 1986 Charvel,
Back Row Left to Right: 1979 Stratocaster, 2007 Ibanez Prestige 7 String, 2011 Jackson Dinky.
Left to Right:
2007 Jackson SLH2, 2011 Jackson Dinky, 2005 Jackson SL1