When I first saw the giant, 16 foot long, exact replica of a Fender Stratocaster that Jimmy Smith built, I was so impressed with the quality and workmanship of the monolithic guitar sculpture, the question of why would Jimmy go to all the trouble to build it never crossed my mind. It’s art pure and simple with so much care and attention to every detail of the iconic guitar first produced by Leo Fender’s electric instrument company in 1954. Buddy Holly bought a Fender Stratocaster in 1955. When Holly played in England in 1958, the shape and sound of Holly’s solid body electric guitar mesmerized John Lennon and Paul McCartney, providing inspiration to the two teenagers that would eventually change the course of contemporary music. We can only imagine what Buddy Holly would have achieved if he had lived, but in that short time before his untimely death in 1959, Buddy Holly unleashed the Fender Stratocaster on the world, and made a significant contribution to the rock & roll revolution. The Stratorcaster is memorialized at both Buddy Holly’s and Jimmy Hedrix’s grave sites. Holly’s Stratocaster is carved on his headstone, and there is a sculpture of Jimmy Hendrix’s stratocaster, strung for his left handed playing, at his grave site. To me there is no mystery about why a master craftsman like Jimmy Smith would build a monolithic sculpture of Leo Fender’s Stratocaster. A stratospheric work a art to commemorate a work of stratospheric art.
Stay tuned, and you will learn more about Jimmy Smith and the Strat Academy in upcoming posts.