Jeff Beck: “Why My Strat Always Beats a Les Paul”

(Image credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Jeff Beck has owned and played any number of cool guitars over the course of his 50-plus-year career. But when it comes to his favorite, he says nothing compares to a Fender Stratocaster.

Speaking with Total Guitar awhile back, Beck says that compared to a Gibson Les Paul or Fender Telecaster, “My Strat is another arm, it’s part of me.

“It doesn’t feel like a guitar at all. It’s an implement which is my voice.

“A Les Paul feels like a guitar and I play differently on that and I sound too much like someone else.

“With the Strat, instantly it becomes mine, so that’s why I’ve welded myself to that. Or it’s welded itself to me, one or the other.”

Beck also said the Strat inspires him to dig deeper.

“I’m an experimenter. It’s rich because every album I’ve done, except for a couple of techno-y records, are different. Really you’ve got to hand it to the Fender Strat, because there are songs in [that guitar]. It’s a tool of great inspiration and torture at the same time because it’s forever sitting there challenging you to find something else in it, but it is there if you really search.

“It does respond to touch and the tonal variation is unlimited really, especially with the whammy bar. I have it set up so it becomes almost like a pedal steel.”

Beck is featured in ZZ Top’s live video for “Sixteen Tons,” from the group’s 2016 compilation album Live—Greatest Hits from Around the World. The video is shown below.

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Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World, a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.