PREMIER GUITAR MAGAZINE: The Guitar as Cultural Icon

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Reflecting on the guitar’s enduring ability to speak for new generations, amp builder and restorer Blackie Pagano points out that, “When you look at a Fender Stratocaster, which was designed in the 1950s, it still looks modern.” For young artists, it may also be a connection to the past. By strapping on a guitar—and thus donning an iconic musical costume—they can conjure up some vintage mojo.

Pagano sees the guitar’s innate ability to channel the performer’s personality as its strength. “In the end, it’s what you can get out of it, and I’ve seen guys do amazing things with stuff you’d pull out of the trash.” When pressed to explain why the guitar remains popular today, even with tech-savvy young artists, Pagano says with a laugh, “Even the junk of yesterday is more interesting to use than today’s best technology.”