Earlier this month David’s long-time technician Phil Taylor, released the third edition of his The Black Strat – A History of David Gilmour’s Black Fender Stratocaster book. Expanded into over 200 pages and lots of new photos the book promises to be an even greater document of David’s legendary guitar.
It’s easy to joint the choir and shout “milking the cow” but then again, we rush out to get the latest copy. I’ve been a Kiss fan since I started to walk and know all about being fooled. We complain knowing that the package is already on its way.
This latest edition has, as promised, lots of new pictures. Even some that I’ve never seen like a handful from the Obscured By Clouds sessions (with a Colorsound Power Boost lying on the floor!), a nice shot of David’s guitars used on The Wall tour and a couple of new close ups of the current version of the Black Strat. Still, most of the 50 or so new pages are mostly bigger spreads from the previous editions and some odd “The Black Strat was featured in this months Guitar World” notes. The last few pages covers the latest appearances with the Black Strat (Barn Jam, Jeff Beck, Crisis etc) and the NOS (Ron Geesin/Atom Heart Mother, Bryan Ferry etc).
There’s also a couple of very cool surprises like pictures from the No More Lonely Nights sessions with Paul McCartney in 1984. I did an analysis of this about a year ago but I see now that I was way out! To my defense though very little was documented until nowâ€¦ Seeing this I can’t help to think that Phil must have seen the post and thought “I’ll show themâ€¦”! Another surprise is the documentation of the blue Eric Clapton signature Strat that David used for a brief period in 1990 (although he fails to mention the newly emerged footage from the Paul Young sessions).
Phil has also finally managed to fix some errors and stuff that was left out in the previous editions like the 5-way switch that was installed in the Black Strat in 1985 and the swapping of ’57 maple necks between the 2003 DSOTM BBC documentary, 2003/04 Interstellar Exhibition and Live 8 in 2005.
I can’t help but wonder though when the ultimate edition will be released. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last edition yet but more updates without any direction or though of whether this is a book about the Black Strat or David’s gear in general will end up being just a messy encyclopedia with too many holes. Each update feature more guitars without any real facts and I’m a bit surprised to see the inclusion of the 1954 #0001 Strat without even a single detail of its origins (see my feature here). Why are the blonde and brown Teles from David’s first years with Floyd included without any reference to the more well known ’55 Esquire or the sunburst ’59 Telecaster (Animals/Dogs)? Why is the Clapton Strat mentioned and not any of the Gibson Goldtops or the Gretsch Duo Jet?
The Black Strat book is obviously written with us die-hard nerds in mind and although one could argue that the first edition should have been as complete as this I must say I really enjoyed reading this one. But next time Phil, bring out the guns. Sweep the archives, force the last details out of David and dust off the old pedal boards. Although it puts me out of business we want to see everything down to the tiniest screw!