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The Subversive Guitarist: Fancy Footwork Ex. 1

Fender’s 70th Anniversary American Vintage II 1954 Stratocaster has the feel, tone, and look of a genuine heirloom guitar.

Two Strats celebrating the iconic solidbody’s 70th Anniversary excel from different ends of the price spectrum.

Tones, dynamic range, and playability that showcase the expansive potential of a great Strat. Lively, blooming pickups. Near-flawless build. Great neck if you don’t mind a little thickness.

Thick neck may be too much for folks with smaller hands or conditioned to slimmer modern profiles.

$2,599

70th Anniversary American Vintage II 1954 Stratocaster
fender.com

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As a kid, my aesthetic leanings—particularly where guitars were concerned—were a little anachronistic and specific. In a time when canonical classics and shred machines ruled the collective guitar consciousness, I lovedcustom colors and odd shapes, so a sunburst Stratocaster, particularly one with a maple neck, was, to my eyes, downright uptight and institutional.

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This boutique pedal from Electric Eye Audio is designed to offer sophisticated tone shaping capabilities with two gain controls, Clarity and EBM controls, and a three-knob EQ section.

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While Annie Clark was named the 26th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone in 2023, she couldn’t care less about impressing an athletic stamp on either her sound or her image.


Photo by Alex Da Corte

On her eighth studio release, the electroacoustic art-rock guitarist and producer animates an extension of the strange and singular voice she’s been honing since her debut in 2007.

“Did you grow up Unitarian?” Annie Clark asks me. We’re sitting in a control room at Electric Lady Studios in New York’s West Village, and I’ve just explained my personal belief system to her, to see if Clark, aka St. Vincent, might relate and return the favor. After all, does she not possess a kind of sainthood worth inquiring about?

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