strat

Illustration courtesy Singlecoil

This blendable passive system might be your single-coil solution.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. This year, the Fender Stratocaster is celebrating its 70th birthday. Happy birthday, and all the best for your next 70 years! To celebrate, I chose a Strat as our guinea pig for this month. But everything we are talking about applies to all single-coil-equipped guitars.

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Photo by Tim Duffy

At 79, the wah-wah crazy guitarist is a living nexus of psychedelia-soaked blues and rock. He talks about coming up in doo-wop, Atlanta’s supercharged ’60s R&B scene, jamming with his friend Jimi, his guitar named Sweet Rose, and his new album, Let the Gods Sing.

“I grew up listening to all music, and that’s where my playing came from—country, rock, blues, and the gospel feel,” explains Herman Hitson. These varied yet inextricably linked influences probably explain why it’s hard to pigeonhole Hitson’s guitar playing, which is often described as some magical combination of funk, blues, and psychedelic rock. However, “soul,” or perhaps even “spiritual,” might be more apt, especially when considering his own assessment. “I look at my guitar playing as part of my soul—what’s coming out of me. It takes a person a long time to find themselves, because we come up mimicking everybody else, and after years and years, you’ve got to find yourself.”

Musically speaking, Hitson arguably found himself decades ago. It’s just taken the rest of the world 50-plus years to catch up.

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This week’s ep is just a couple of Strat dudes talkin’ gear. The guys get deep on everything from their favorite guitars to pedals and some speaker chat, and the busy New York guitarist and professor talks about improv and the up-and-coming crop of jazz cats.

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