The Strat at 60Loading
    Workers build Fender guitars in a factory in Corona. According to a tour guide, about 400 guitars are created there each day.
    Monica Almeida | The New York Times
    Before a high-gloss finish can be applied and, much later, its long-haired user gets a mosh pit fired up and roiling at a humongous outdoor venue, there’s sanding to be done on Stratocasters-to-be.
    Monica Almeida | The New York Times
  • GLHTV9T6.2
    Tour guide David Brown shows the hardrock maple wood used to shape a neck for a Fender stratocaster guitar at the Fender factory in Corona. | Sam McManis
  • GLHTV9UI.3
    A replica of the Stratocaster that Bob Dylan used when he “went electric” in 1965 is on display at the Fender visitors center in Corona. | Sam McManis
  • Rock Star Guitars
    This Dec. 15, 2011 photo provided by Lisa S. Johnson shows a guitar owned by John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls. Rzeznik resurrected a broken Stratocaster into a 4-string, named Halfcaster, and used it on a song called “Big Machine.”
    Lisa S. Johnson | AP

Jimi Hendrix made it shriek. Buddy Holly made it swing. Stevie Ray Vaughn made it snarl.

Some of the most legendary guitarists in music history have elicited unforgettable sounds from the Fender Stratocaster, the distinctive double-cutaway guitar born in a small Fullerton, Calif., workshop 60 years ago this month.

It's far from a musical relic: It remains an essential tool for some of today's top guitarists. Vince Gill relies on it so much he calls it an "extension of my hands," while blues virtuoso Robert Cray calls it a workhorse.

As shredder Yngwie Malmsteen put it: "There is no substitute."

--Associated Press

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