“My original ’60 Stratocaster will always sound the best. This one is right next to the best”: Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready on why he’s playing his more affordable signature guitar live, covering Eruption and embracing digital amps

Mike McCready with his new Fender Signature Stratocaster
(Image credit: Fender)

Of all the guitarists to emerge from the Seattle fog in the early ’90s, Mike McCready is perhaps the closest thing the scene had to a ‘conventional’ guitar hero. Inspired by everyone from Kiss to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Van Halen, his chops combined blues feel with just a dash of hair-metal flair from the outset.

But it wasn’t just his playing that positioned McCready firmly in the guitar hero camp. Pearl Jam’s meteoric rise to fame allowed the guitarist to live his gear fantasies, too. Shortly after the unprecedented success of debut album Ten, McCready was able to invest in his ultimate prize: a Fender Stratocaster, built in 1959… or so he thought.

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Michael Astley-Brown
Editor-in-Chief, GuitarWorld.com

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.