“People think seventies Fenders are bad, but that’s not actually correct” Yngwie Malmsteen says guitarists shouldn’t dismiss ‘70s-era CBS Strats

“It started going downhill around the late Seventies.”

Yngwie Malmsteen

Image: Mauricio Santana / Getty Images

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While many might consider the Stratocaster’s ‘CBS era’ as some of the model’s darkest days, Swedish virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen has argued that those 70s Fender Strats aren’t, in fact, all that bad.

In a recent chat with Guitar World, Malmsteen, whose famous 1972 ‘Duck’ Strat have starred in much of his studio work, says that players shouldn’t be so quick to discredit the quality of the instruments Fender had built while they were owned by CBS.

“What people don’t understand about Strats is that Leo Fender sold the company to CBS in 1965, but it stayed at the same factory for another decade,” the virtuoso explains. Fender would remain under the ownership of Columbia Broadcasting Systems until 1985, marking a 19-year run of the brand’s infamous ‘CBS era’.

“So any Strat built up until 1975 will actually be really good. It started going downhill around the late Seventies. People think Seventies Fenders are bad, but that’s not actually correct,” says Malsteem.

As Fender celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the Stratocaster this year, the company has gathered Mateus Asato, Nile Rodgers, Tom Morello, REI, Tash Sultana, Jimmie Vaughan and more to pay homage to the iconic guitar and one of its most legendary riffs.

Check out the all-star cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child (Slight Return) below.

And for you blues fans, the Big F has also brought together legends Buddy Guy and Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram for a charmingly stripped-down rendition of Muddy Waters’ (I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man. Listen below.

Last year, Fender announced a string of limited-edition Stratocasters and new colourways to celebrate the iconic model’s 70th anniversary, including a new Player Strat in an absolutely smashing Nebula Noir finish.

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