For their collaboration, Galion and Carson were given a Stratocaster with a gold anodized pickguard. Soon the new guitar came into the hands of other musicians, including Pee Wee Crayton - responsible for the debut on vinyl of the Stratocaster, in the recordings that also include The Telephone Is Ringing -, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Gene Vincent - author of Be-Bop-A-Lula - and Mary Kaye nicknamed the first woman of rock'n'roll, who posed in 1956 for the Fender catalog with a blonde Stratocaster with the gold-plated hardware passed into history with her name. However, Kaye didn’t play the Stratocaster in that period: she’d only used it for few minutes for the 1956 Cha-Cha Cha Boom! and for the advertising strongly wanted by Don Randall; after that, the guitar returned back to Fender. The most important guitarist who widely used the Stratocaster in the 50s had been Buddy Holly, a Texan musician that in a few years composed many rock'n'roll, country and rockabilly songs. With a modern and impeccable style, he pushed guitar performance to the limit, proving its potentialities and becoming soon an idol for the teens. Certainly, his television appearances increased the sales of the Stratocaster; however, despite his enormous contribution to the spread of the Fender brand in the 1950s, Buddy Holly did not enter any catalog until 1982: and this probably because of Randall’s conservative tastes little inclined to rock'n'roll – in fact, he preferred to use more traditional artists to promote his products. Unfortunately, Buddy Holly died prematurely, in February 1959, along with another Stratocaster-loving musician, Ritchie Valens, a Mexican-born guitarist famous for his performance of La Bamba.
In the middle of 1956 Fender started using alder, easier to work, instead of ash as the main body wood for Stratocasters that were not finished in Blond; business was going so well that Fender built four more plants on South Raymond Avenue and, a little later, Fender Sales also moved to a larger location, at 1536 East Chestnut, in Santa Ana. Many sources report that at the end of 1956 the alnico V pickups replaced the alnico III pickups.
Till that moment, due to a 1951 import law, Stratocaster had been a purely American phenomenon; however, many British guitarists were yearning the new US guitars. In particular, Hank Marvin of the Shadows was obsessed by Buddy Holly’s and James Burton’s sound (he thought that Burton played a Stratocaster, while it was a Telecaster). When the import law was repealed in 1959, Hank could finally order his famous red Stratocaster with gold hardware. Thanks to the success that the Shadows had in Great Britain, the Stratocasters spread very quickly even overseas.
In 1958 the Fender began to spray the red between the yellow and black of the Stratocaster's sunburst finish, which changed from two to three tones. The following year there were two other important changes: first of all the introduction of rosewood keyboards, second the replacement of the old eight-screw pickguard with those of eleven celluloid screws. Because of its unstable nature, celluloid, which was imported from Italy, had the characteristic of turning brown over time, especially if subjected to light or smoke. So these pickguards were never completely white, but showed a greenish-yellow hue, hence the name of mint green pickguards.
In the '60s the fame of the Stratocaster grew even more, due to the surf music of the Beach Boys or Dick Dale, left-handed guitarist famous for his Misirlou and Let's go trippin', who used to play a Stratocaster connected to Showman amplifier, driven to crazy volumes, and to a Fender reverb unit.
In a period in which musical instrument companies aimed at austerity, the campaign started in 1957 by the agency Perine/Jacoby in Los Angeles, centered on the young, creative and progressive nature of its instruments, was a great success. Bob Perine immediately identified the segment of the population to which the ads were to be destined and proposed the slogan "You won't part with yours either", largely used in the 50s and 60s and rediscovered many years later.