Six Unsung Strat Heroes

Bob “Derwood” Andrews:

Although Seventies punk was supposed to be a crude statement against the virtuosity and chops that dominated rock, that didn’t stop Bob Andrews from delivering a blistering three-and-a-half-minute solo on “Youth Youth Youth” that sounded more like it belonged on a Hendrix album than one by Generation X.

Recommended Album: Generation XGeneration X, 1978

Wayne Krantz:

The Stratocaster is a bit of a black sheep in jazz guitar circles, but Wayne Krantz is one of a handful of players of that genre who embraced it. Krantz’s individualistic style is built around distinctive percussive, rhythmic lines that are perfectly suited to the Strat’s tone (even though he prefers a Strat-style Tyler these days).

Recommended Album: Wayne Krantz2 Drink Minimum, 1995

Sonny Landreth:

A true guitarist’s guitarist (he’s played with Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson and Mark Knopfler), Landreth developed a distinctive, unique slide style that fuses blues, Zydeco, country and rock with an instantly identifiable personality. Landreth is an expert sideman and songwriter, but he shines brightest on his solo albums.

Recommended Album: Sonny LandrethElemental Journey, 2012

Uli Jon Roth:

Roth’s explosive work with the Scorpions during the late Seventies is the essential link between Ritchie Blackmore’s Bach-flavored blues metal and Yngwie Malmsteen’s neoclassical shred.

Recommended Album: ScorpionsTaken By Force, 1978

Pat Thrall:

Best known for playing with Pat Travers, Asia and Meat Loaf, as well as with his own arena rock “super duo” Hughes/Thrall, Pat Thrall is notable for his incredible chops and unmistakable personality that contrasts the usual chameleon-like hired-gun guitarist.

Recommended Album: Pat TraversLive! Go for What You Know

Johnny Guitar Watson:

Filled with crazy bends, deep reverb, and wild whammy-bar wiggles, Watson’s 1954 instrumental “Space Guitar” was among the very earliest Strat recordings. Its effect on future Strat-wielding roustabouts and iconoclasts like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Frank Zappa was monumental.

Recommended Album:The Chronological Johnny Guitar Watson 1952–1955

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.