It’s been some hectic days since the David Gilmour signature Stratocaster was announced. Based on the feedback I’ve gotten from many of you I think I can sum it up in three words: amazement, confusion and disappointment.
To speak for my self I’m very proud that David finally has got the recognition he deserves as a guitarist. When I first heard about the guitar some years ago I though that it was about time but when I think about it now it’s perfect timing. Five or ten years ago David was a fairly anonymous musician hidden behind the name of one of the biggest bands in rock history but after the huge success with On an Island and the tour he’s finally recognized in the same league as Hendrix, SRV, Clapton and Knopfler. A signature guitar is as much a recognition from the business as it is from the fans.
I can’t help tho to be a bit torn between whether it should be a signature of the present version of David’s guitar or the mid 70’s version. I understand David’s choice tho. It’s a relationship with an old friend he’d nearly forgotten about and the fact that it regained its position as the definitive Gilmour guitar on the last tour, both for himself and for many of the fans. Still, wonder why they didn’t decide on the version that was used on some of the world’s most selling albums of all time. The Black Strat with the rosewood neck was used on many albums including Dark Side and Wish You Were and a signature, relic or whatever they’re called is often decided on due to the fact that it was used during a certain period or on specific albums. I’m sure many fans also insists that it should have been David’s red Strat but sorry guys, I strongly disagree.
So what’s it all about? I’m a little surprised by the selected pickups. They seem to be stock models rather than the expected custom wounds we normally see on these CS guitars (NOTE: the specs are now updated on the Fender site. See below.). I was also a bit surprised to see that the neck is a C-shaped based on David’s original 1983 ’57 reissue. I didn’t know that… The guitar also has a 5-way pickup switch, which was new to me. I’m looking forward to the updated book from Phil Taylor and to see what they’ve figured out while creating the replica.
Here are some of the main features, all replicated after David’s guitar:
– Alder body with late 60’s contour with black nitrocellulose lacquer finish over sunburst
– 1-piece maple thin shouldered C shape neck with dark tint nitrocellulose lacquer finish, 1983 ’57 reissue specs
– Maple fingerboard, 7.25″ radius with 21 vintage style frets
– Custom hand-wound Fat ’50s single-coil pickup, neck
– Custom-wound single-coil pickup (based on a CS69), middle
– Seymour Duncan SSL-5 single-coil pickup, bridge
– 5 position pickup switcher
– Mini-toggle switch for adding neck pickup in position 1,2 and 3
– American vintage synchronized tremolo with custom beveled tremolo block and shortened tremolo arm
– Fender/Gotho vintage style tuning machines
– 1-ply .120â€ beveled black acrylic, 11 hole pickguard
Regarding the pickups… Phil Taylor’s book about the guitar states that the neck and middle pickups are stock Fenders, suggesting late 60’s, while the bridge pickup is a custom wound Duncan SSL-1 David installed prior to the Wall tour in 1980. However the pictures of the bottom of the neck and middle pickups reveals that they’re from 1972, which could of course still make them late 60’s-ish. The Fat 50’s is a slightly brighter CS 69 and I guess the SSL-5, which is slightly hotter than the SSL-1 would be closer to the custom wound David’s got.
The C shaped neck is a clone of the original 1983 ’57 reissue David swapped from one of the cream coloured used in the mid 80s. As the story goes, when they were making ’57 and 62’s replicas in 1982-83 they were more concerned by playability than authenticity, which I guess makes sense, but some compromises were made. It’s a unique neck that it will be very interesting to try.
Pre-order info is starting to appear from several dealers and suggested prices seems to be somewhere around $4000 for the NOS and $4.800 for the replica.
So there you have it. Are you amazed, confused or disappointed? Read more about the guitar at the Fender Custom Shop site.
A big thanks to everyone who’s contributed info and shared thoughts about the guitar!