Some Stratocasters have a fixed bridge in place of the tremolo assembly; these are colloquially called "hard-tails".There is considerable debate about the effects on tone and sustain of the material used in the vibrato system's 'inertia bar' and many aftermarket versions are available.Many Stratocaster players opt to tighten the tremolo springs (or even increase the number of springs used) so that the bridge is firmly anchored against the guitar body: in this configuration, the tremolo arm can still be used to slacken the strings and therefore lower the pitch, but it cannot be used to raise the pitch (a configuration sometimes referred to as "dive-only").Some players, such as Eric Clapton and Ronnie Wood, feel that the floating bridge has an excessive propensity to detune guitars and so inhibit the bridge's movement with a chunk of wood wedged between the bridge block and the inside cutout of the tremolo cavity, and by increasing the tension on the tremolo springs; these procedures lock the bridge in a fixed position.In 1965, George Harrison and John Lennon acquired Stratocasters and used them for Help!, Rubber Soul and later recording sessions; the double unison guitar solo on "Nowhere Man" is played by Harrison and Lennon on their new Stratocasters.The Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has continuously manufactured the Stratocaster from 1954 to the present.
Guitarists soon discovered that by jamming the switch in between the first and second position, both the bridge and middle pickups could be selected, and similarly, the middle and neck pickups could be selected between the 2nd and 3rd position.
This setting's characteristic tone is not caused by any electronic phenomenon—early Stratocasters used identical pickups for all positions.
This "in between" tone is caused by phase cancellation due to the physical position of the pickups along the vibrating string.
The color was originally a two color sunburst pattern, although custom color guitars were produced (most famously Eldon Shamblin's gold Stratocaster, dated 6/1954).
In 1956, Fender began using alder for sunburst and most custom color Stratocaster bodies; ash was still used on translucent blonde instruments.
Along with the Gibson Les Paul and Fender Telecaster, it is one of the most-often emulated electric guitar shapes.