Dating a late 70s strat
Few players were aware of Fender’s mid-decade travails, however, and regardless of the company’s ups and downs, the 1980s produced a great deal of extraordinary Stratocaster music all the while.
* * * * * One of the musical landmarks with which 1980 got underway was epic Pink Floyd concept album The Wall, which perhaps served as David Gilmour’s greatest Stratocaster tour de force in a career already filled with them, including The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975) and Animals (1977).
Of these reissues, Wheeler notes in The Stratocaster Chronicles that they were highly significant instruments because they “proved that Fender could once again build world-class guitars, and they did so at a time when the company’s reputation needed a boost.” In turn, Fender Japan began building less-costly versions of these instruments for the European market, labeling them “Squier” to differentiate them from their U. Squier string-making company in 1965, dusting off the name in 1982 for its value-priced instruments.
Meanwhile, at Fender itself, the Stratocaster was in for yet more of the periodic revisions and experimentation that had characterized its entire history.
Released in November 1979, The Wall spawned a wealth of singles that covered much of 1980 in richly unmistakable Gilmour Strat tone, including “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2),” “Young Lust,” “Hey You,” “Run Like Hell” and the magnificent “Comfortably Numb,” the latter going on to enduring acclaim as featuring not only two of the greatest Strat solos in the Gilmour catalog, but two of the greatest Strat solos in rock history, period.
Gilmour was one of many greats who’d “discovered” the Strat in the late ’60s or early ’70s and continued to put it to marvelous use during the 1980s; other such players included Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher, Robin Trower, Richard Thompson and many others.
Newer guitar aces who came to the fore in the late 1970s, such as Mark Knopfler, also continued to turn in fine Strat work during the 1980s.
The Stratocaster had often been embraced in the 1970s by players not normally known as Stratocaster players (Beck being a good example) or even Fender players in general, and this continued in the early 1980s.