Guitar Collection: Harry of Superorganism, Fender Stratocaster American Original

Superorganism perform in The Current studio
Harry of Superorganism performs in The Current studio (Jules Ameel for MPR)
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Harry of Superorganism talks about his Fender Stratocaster
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Following the recent in-studio session with Superorganism, guitarist Harry (aka Christopher Young) took a few moments to talk about the instrument he plays and how it contributes to Superorganism's sound.

It looks like you were playing a Fender Stratocaster.

Yeah, it's one that's a brand-new one in the Fender series, actually, called the American Original series. I think they just released it this year. They announced it in January and I was one of the first people in Europe to get one of these, actually. They've done these kind of "greatest hits" of each decade. I think mine is the '60s. They've done '50s, '60s, and I think they went as far as the '70s.

Where did you get this guitar?

Fender were very generous. They've got a little artists' liaison room in London. I went down there, and I was trying out a few different guitars, and one of the things that I really wanted — which is very vain — but I really wanted a nitro finish on the guitar because I like the way that kind of ages it. It starts to fade. The finish of it kind of decays a little bit with time and with touring and things like that, and I felt like that's going to give it a real character. The more kind of plastic guitars that I was trying, they were great, but they just didn't have that character to them. I wanted a physical character to it.

So when I went into the Fender office, this guy Dave there, he's a very nice guy, he's like, "Look, we've got this coming out in January. If you like it, I can sort it out so we can hook you up with it." And I was like, "That's amazing, Dave — thank you!"

It's absolutely perfect. I wasn't really allowed to talk about it until January, because that's when they announced it, but I've been playing it since around December, I think.

They've got Telecasters in the range, they've got Stratocasters, they've got Jazzmasters and Jaguars. I'm a Strat guy through and through for this band. I've played a lot of Telecasters in the past, but the Strat has everything I need for the overall sound of the band, really.

Harry's Fender Stratocaster American Original
Harry's Fender Stratocaster American Original on its stand in The Current studio. (Jules Ameel for MPR)

How does the Strat give you what you need for the band's sound?

It uses a lot of different tones, but by and large, its slightly driven, clean sound is kind of the most predominant sound that I use. So Stratocaster on the bridge pickup is a default for me. It's something I always come back to and always seems to sit right in the arrangement for us. I do a lot of bending as well with the tremolo arm, and that's how I get the kind of swell sounds that are prominent in our music. It's almost a Pacific Island, Hawaiian kind of (sings) rrrrrriiiiinnngg kind of sound to it. It's the classic surf guitar in a lot of ways. I've tricked some locking tuners on it though, because without that, obviously it's going to go out of tune a lot with all the bending I'm doing.

Do you use the Stratocaster when writing and arranging for the band?

It kind of depends. I won't necessarily be the one playing guitar on every single song. We switch it up. On some songs, I might have come up with a keyboard part or even the drum arrangement. So we kind of switch it up, but by and large, we're all using the same guitars because we all live together, so we use the same guitars to write stuff.

Sometimes, if I'm kind of coming up with the foundation of the song — if it's my initial idea, I might have written the chords of it on an acoustic guitar because sometimes I just find that's easier for my headspace — but when I'm coming to actually write a guitar arrangement for a song that's either already been written or is in the process of construction, I'll pretty much always go to the Stratocaster to do that.

Are there other guitars in the Superorganism toolbox?

We've got a couple of other backup guitars. I've also got a Telecaster from the Highway series, I believe. I got that about 10 years ago. That's a great guitar as well, but it doesn't have the floating bridge, so I can't do the swells on it, so it's not really appropriate for live. It is peppered around the record here and there.

And then Emily (aka Mark David Turner) has also got a black Stratocaster as well. It's been used a little bit, and I was using that live before I got this American Original one. But pretty much as soon as [Fender] gave me that, it's just become my default ever since.

Resources

Superorganism - official site

Fender Stratocaster American Original - official site

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2 Photos

  • Superorganism perform in The Current studio
    Harry (Christopher Young) and Emily (Mark David Turner) of Superorganism perform in The Current studio (Jules Ameel for MPR)
  • Superorganism perform in The Current studio
    Superorganism perform in The Current studio (Jules Ameel for MPR)

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