Dylan and Stratocasters: completely random thought

So, Bob Dylan is typically pictured with an acoustic, of course, but famously has an association with Going Electric! (Clutch your pearls, Folksters!). That guitar was a Stratocaster, recently found, verified and sold. We had a thread about that.

In that recent IBM ad where he talks with Watson, Dylan is carrying a Strat, which he leans against the couch.

Random comment: I just don’t think of Dylan as a “Strat Guy” - it is typically thought of as a Gunslinger’s Guitar. One where you show dominant skill and stake out your own Voice in the most densely-crowded real estate in Rock. Dylan’s just usin’ his Strat for a strummer. A Tele feels like it would be a better fit, let alone a hollow body or simply an amplified acoustic. I mean, yeah, a Strat can be strummed, but countless other makes and models are better-suited to the job.

I’d love to hear his actual thinking, but know that would never happen with his elliptical approach to things.

But the guitar you end up with - if you play enough that you have a guitar or three you consider “yours” - says a lot about you*. How can it not? Especially with guys and all the Freudian symbolism around guitars :wink:

That is all. One of those things that make me go Hmm, I guess.

*Even if all it says is: I had no clue what to get, but my favorite players use it. That’s still something.

He’s look more out of place with a Gibson/Les Paul

I dunno, he’d probably look ok with an LP Special. But I’ve never really thought of Dylan as a “guitar guy”. It’s just a path to a song for him, so it just has to be a reliable guitar. The strat at the time was both reliable and relatively cheap. After that, he may have just kept returning to it because it was the one he knew.

So, you’re saying I’m a slut? Because I’m a little worried I might be.

I can see where one might think Dylan was indifferent to his guitars, but actually he has a few acoustics he is associated with that are darn good guitars. One was an early-'30’s Gibson Nick Lucas that had been stripped to a natural finish. Those were top of the line excellent guitars. He also played a 50’s (?) Gibson J-50 for years. Had his share of Martins, too.

I am very open to the “he needed to play electric, ended up with a Strat, and didn’t change” - but knowing Zimmie, I suspect there are always layers :wink:

As for you being a slut, hmm, depends on your choices and why you make them!

The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Scabpicker.

Sure, but cool with an ES-335 or a Rickenbacker.

For thirty pieces of silver?

Pretty much: $965,000. Link to thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=709797

Wow. That’s amazingly cheap for a certified piece of mainstream pop culture history.

Check this out: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=772877

Mike Bloomfield’s Tele had been butchered by a later owner. I thought it would still go close to the Dylan Strat and couldn’t’ve been more incorrect. $45K.

Yeah, I would’ve assume it would held up higher as a piece of history.

ETA: recall, John Lennon’s acoustic/electric Gibson just went for $2.4million.

Name recognition. Dylan and Lennon belong to a very small group of musicians who have achieved eternal worldwide cultural-icon status. Bloomfield, great as he was, is now for the most part known only to serious classic-rock fans.

I always pictured him with a B.C. Rich.

He saw Buddy Holly at the (Duluth?) Armory in 1959. Buddy was most likely playing a strat.

It’s a ne plus ultra of the modern guitar in its look, and an absolute obsession for British musicians, who he was talking a lot with before he went electric. The tele wasn’t that.

Dylan is also photographed with a fender bass. He liked that look.

I dunno, a Tele is a big, thick, plank of a guitar that plays great and sounds fantastic for lead or rhythm. But mine was heavy and hurt my forearm.

Strats, on the other hand, are less big, thick, and heavy - some of them, you’d even call lightweights; sound fantastic for lead or rhythm, and mine were the most comfortable guitars I’d played.

They may not be the prototypical rhythm guitar, but they certainly can fill the role.

Ah - he saw Buddy Holly! I did not know that! I like that a lot - once you have a hero, there ya go.

You’re a fan of the rock books, but you got some stuff to catch up on, or else you just forgot. I envy you. There are enough Dylan books to read a new one every month forever.

There may be a simpler reason: Bloomfield played a Strat, and Bob is on record saying Bloomfield “was the best guitarist I ever heard.” When it came time to front his own electric band, Dylan may have just said, “Get me what he’s playing.”

drad dog - Yeah, I read his Chronicles Vol 1 and also Positively 4th Street about the Greenwich Village folk scene, but that fact slipped my mind.

Nonsuch - per the linked thread 7 or 8 posts up from this, Bloomfield played a Telecaster. He was most famous for playing the Tele with Dylan and a Les Paul sunburst. Arguably, this use of a sunburst which I think included a tour in the UK, coupled with Clapton seeing a Freddie King album cover where he is holding a Les Paul Goldtop with P-90’s is what led to the Brit guitar heroes gravitating towards Les Pauls.

Robbie Robertson uses Strats - the one from the Last Waltz famously had the middle pickup moved because it got in Robbie’s way. But I don’t think that’s relevant at this point.

Backed up by nothing but my own mind’s eye, straight Teles are more associated with surf-era acts, not in Dylan’s idiom. I also rule out Gibsons and Rickenbackers as being too aggro.

I see him playing a semi-hollow Thinline.

Life is too easy now.
I didn’t associate it with surf. It’s a country rock thing mostly, but:
There are some really famous teles. George played one on the rooftop concert. The grandaddy of tele slingers was James Burton, and there was clarence white too. Tommy Tedesco apparently used one so that would be who we all heard play it most often. Steve Cropper was a tele guy.

Most important to me: Robyn Hitchcock has played one since 79.

Dylan played one on a 66 tour leg.

For someone like me, who loves music but doesn’t much about the technical side of guitar or recording techniques, how good is Dylan as an electric guitar player? How much of the electric guitar work on his more “rocking” albums his and how much is his sidemen? And although I assume he always does his own acoustic work, is this a good assumption?