When it comes to signature guitar tone, nothing seems to speak more truly than a Fender Stratocaster. There's no confusing Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Mark Knopfler, or Eric Clapton's classic tones, are there? You recognize them from the first note. Granted, they all have unique techniques, and different rigs, but hey're all playing roughly the same guitar.
Maybe it's that the Strat's tone is less massive than a humbucking pickup's and in this world of louder, louder, louder, there's just not a need for the individual voice, or there's too much space to fill for the dynamic voice of a Strat, to which I say, bullshit. Now, more than ever, from a whisper to a scream, we need some uniqueness to show itself in the world of rock guitar. Who are the great new players? I don't know. There are seemingly no new guitar heroes. And that's a shame. You may say that all that showing off is vanity, but what great, classic band didn't have a recognizable guitarist with recognizable tone? Hell, even Yngwie Malmsteen, the man more responsible than any, perhaps, for the shred guitar antics of the 80s, got there with yet another unique Strat tone. He got his kicks from Blackmore (yet another Strat genius), and Hendrix, yet sounds nothing like either.
Fender Stratocaster + tube amp = rock nirvana.
Peace, love, and loud guitars,