Originaly came with a maple neck, though in 1959 it was stock with rosewood. Fender was sold to CBS in 1965, and begining in 1966 the Stratocaster was given the "fat" headstock, a choice of a maple or rosewood neckboard, and a remarkeable loss in sound quality arose. Sale to Fender employees around the mid eighties saw most Stratocasters produced in Japan, though from late '86 to about '89 the American Stratocasters were considered as high a quality instrument as the originals.
Stratocasters now come in all shapes and sized, good and bad. From the introduction of the "Fat Strat" humbucker (which would probably have Leo doing 50 RPM's in his coffin), to the new hideous "Bick Block" Strat geared towards metal heads.
The tone of the three-single coil solid-body guitar is bright and sharp in the bridge pickups while fat, warm and rounded in the middle and neck. The tone and overall design of the guitar is attempted to be copied by almost all major guitar companies, included Leo Fender's second company formed in the eighties, G&L guitars. G&L has the only right to do so becuase they were also produced by Leo Fender, who died in 1991.
The single-coil pu...