• The Black Strat at Hard Rock Cafe

    Update December 31. – In Phil Taylor’s book about David’s black Strat (see review here) it appears that the guitar was displayed in Dallas, not Miami as suggested here. I have asked David Arroyo, who kindly contributed this picture, if the picture indeed was taken in Dallas and he replied that it might have been. Nevertheless the guitar on the picture, fits Phil’s description of how it looked after they had gotten it back in 1997.

    A couple of days ago I was given this unique picture of David’s legedary Black Stratocaster hanging at the Hard Rock Cafe in Miami (Florida USA). The pic is taken (and kindly contributed) by David Arroyo in 1996. The guitar was given to the Hard Rock Cafe sometime in the late 80’s and it hang there till David took it back in 1997.

    The guitar was hanging at eye level over a table with a sign saying “David Gilmour – Pink Floyd”. The guitar has the Charvel neck and the Kahler tremolo system used during the About Face era. What’s interesting is that the guitar was left unsecured without the glass cabinet often used at the Hard Rock Cafes, which leads me to wonder how many of the scratches we see on the guitar today dates from this periode. As you can see, it’s missing the volume knob and the lower tone knob.

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54 Responsesso far.

  1. Kevin says:

    This site is so exciting. I absolutely love what you’ve done Bjorn.

    Anyway, I am almost sure that is his stratocaster. After reading
    all that has been said and reviewing pictures and specs, its almost beyond anyones power to make something exactly like that. And if they did, where is HIS guitar?

    [Thanks Kevin! The guitar on the picture is David’s but I think it’s not Miami but Dallas. – Bjorn]

  2. Brendan says:

    Is it just me or does that neck look like bird’seye or some type of flamed maple?

    [It’s a Charvel flamed maple. – Bjorn]

  3. Jonathan Hart says:

    I think it’s odd that they’d fill in the hole from the Kahler and paint that area, but not repaint the entire body. I know it was touched up before Pompeii, right next to the neck pickup, but when he had the rosewood neck installed, it got a rather nice paint job.
    I guess he really likes collecting vintage guitars.

  4. Leandro says:

    Hey Bjorn, I was reading this and I noticed that this new info contradicts what you say about the Khaler system “After the tour, he realized that the system cut the sustain and re-installed the stock Fender tremolo”…it obvously was taken out but not shortly after the tour….it stayed like this for almost all the 90´s…

    [Yeah. That’s something I read some time ago. Obviously this picture and Phil’s book reveals something different. I’ll change it. Thanks! – Bjorn]

  5. Bryan says:

    I have to say I am not surprised at the condition of guitars in HRC. I was in San Antonio this summer on my honeymoon and snapped a pic of one of EVH’s guitars and one of SRV’s donated guitars. Both of them were exposed and just hanging there. Really a sad state of affairs if you ask me.

  6. anycolor says:

    IF “resouce” was spelled “resource”, would you want to know?

    [Well, if it wasn’t? I think I found the typo. Thanks! – Bjorn]

  7. Jason Dolinski says:

    Bjorn, I don’t know if you remember me. I was the one who sent you some pics and gave you some info on some Strat’s that Gilmour used.

    I am almost positive I took some pics the Dallas hard Rock Cafe back in 1991. I now have to 1.) find them and 2.) scan them.

    I am 100% positive that this axe was in Dallas and NOT Miami.

    I think it’s a shame that the HRC would allow ANY memorabilia “unprotected”. Now that I’m typing this, I remember where this very strat was at. I annoyed a couple eating to snap a pic of this.

    [Hi Jason! Please locate those pics and send me a copy! Thanks! – Bjorn]

  8. buckkillr8 says:

    That’s what I was saying. The location definately had to be Dallas and not Miami.

  9. Jason Romero says:

    Hmm, from reading Phil’s second and “nastier” letter to the Hard Rock Cafe, it seems that the guitar was on display in Dallas. Phil also mentions that went and seen the guitar on display and that it was in good condition, and he insists that all of the damage done to it must of happened when it was taken off display.

    Here is how the letter reads:

    “Thank you for returning the above guitar. I have just received it. I am very disappointed to find the guitar in such a state. When I sent it to you, it was in fine condition, and when I have since seen it on display in Dallas, it looked the same.

    Apart from the guitar being in a filthy poor condition, there are several missing parts. These are:

    Volume knob
    Tone knob
    Pickup selector knob
    Tremolo arm knob
    The strap button at the end has been broken off leaving half a screw in the body, and it’s missing
    Original case (it arrived with an ESP case)

    Most of these parts must have been removed when it was taken off display.

    Please look into this and let me know what you propose to do about it before I take the matter any further.

    Thank you for your help,
    Phil Taylor”

    You tell them Phil!!!

    [I don’t know if the guitar was perhaps moved but the picture seems to fit the description above… with the missing parts. – Bjorn]

  10. David says:

    I was noticing while looking at the aformentioned pdf from david gilmours page that the “damage” listed on the letter of complaint to hard rock is identical to what is apparent on the picture.”Apart from the guitar being in filthy poor condition there are several missing parts.
    Volume Knob
    Tone knob
    Pickup selector knob
    tremelo arm and knob
    Strap button at the end has broken off leaving half the screw in the body and is missing (this isn’t evident in the picture due to it’s high contrast and soft focus)”
    -Taylor pg 98

    the chances of the pictured guitar not only having the same specs Charvel neck, Kahler tremelo. And be in the exact condition that Mr. Taylor was rightly complaining about. Are way to high for this picture to not be the Black Strat

    [I agree… It fits perfectly. If not, there must have been some die hard fan replicating the Strat exactly how it was after he’d seen Taylor’s list. Only question is, – is the picture from Miami? – Bjorn]

  11. buckkillr8 says:

    Dallas seems to be the actual location of the Hard rock that the strat was in. This at least goes along with the issue of Guitarist back in 1995.

    [Yeah but if you check the list of missing parts in Phil’s book with this picture, then there’s no doubt that it’s a match. I’ll check with the guy once again to see if he may have “forgot” were he took it. Or, HRC has moved the guitar as they often do with the memorabilia. – Bjorn]

  12. David says:

    Phil Taylor asked for it back from Dallas, so that may have been where the guitar began it’s residence in the hard rock collection (They move their collection around) also it took them “several months” -taylor p.99 so my guess is that hard rock was desperetley trying to track it down in their large restauraunt system.

    [Yeah… that may be an explanation. – Bjorn]

  13. Ryan G says:

    From Phil Taylor’s letter…

    “I am very disappointed to find the guitar in such a state. When I sent it to you it was in fine condition and when I have since seen it on display in Dallas it looked the same.”

    So maybe Walter and his other co-workers at the time weren’t playing around with the real thing? Or maybe it was moved around to different places?

  14. Matt says:

    Or, instead of an award, a visit from Mr Gilmour himself ;)

    [LOL! – Bjorn]

  15. Matt says:

    Hardrock US Corp HQ is in Orlando now, but we’re talking about events that took place 10 years ago so I guess they could have moved. But (from their own potted history)……

    “Its unparalleled memorabilia collection, which consists of more than 70,000 pieces that are rotated from restaurant to restaurant, provides the world’s most comprehensive “visual history” of rock ‘n’ roll.”

    Anyway, apologies, I’m being pedantic. None of this is really important, the fact is we have to wait another two weeks to get our hands on the book!

    Keep up the great work on the website Bjorn, you deserve an award.

    [Yeah I definitely think they move around their stuff. That may be an explanation. – Bjorn]

  16. Matt says:

    According to Gilmour’s website it looks like the book release has been delayed a couple of weeks to the 15th November. You can download a PDF of some sample pages which, funnily enough, relate to the retrieval of the Black Strat from the Hard Rock Cafe in Dallas (did it move from Miami to Dallas?). Seems Phil Taylor wasn’t too happy with condition in which they returned it either! LOL

    [Yeah I see that… Dallas. I don’t know if this is a headquarter or an actual cafe. – Bjorn]

  17. David says:

    “He couldn’t have cared for it much”
    I read Gilmour saying somewhere (I think it was guitar world in the late eighties) that he wasn’t too attached to any one guitar. This plus the fact that he was playing the EMG equipped vintage reissues my be why he let the guitar go. Obviously that change since he has it back now.

  18. Matt says:

    Good Lord! What a shoddy way to treat such a fine instrument. Makes me wonder why the hell Mr G would ‘loan’ his famous ‘Blackie’ out for so long. He couldn’t have cared for it much. There’s no way on earth I’d do it!

    Kind of like the prodigal son has returned.


  19. Paul Cheeseman says:

    Hi Bjorn
    Spent months reading and enjoying your website so would like to make a small contribution. I wrote to GHS asking about the DG signature set and also which gauges of Boomers David actually uses.
    I got the following reply….
    “Art work is in the final production. Probably be available in November sometime.
    He uses for his Fender Strat 010-012-016-DY28-38-48 and for his Les Paul 010 1/2-013-017-DY30-40-50.
    Hope this info helps.”

    Keep up the great work and thanks again for your hard work,


    Paul_C (UK)

    [Thanks a lot Paul! Cheers! – Bjorn]

  20. buckkillr8 says:

    Yes you can see the Roland pickup behind the bridge pickup.

  21. Sebastian says:

    Hi Björn,

    Do you know what kind of guitar he’s using here? Link: YouTube

    [This is a clip from the MTV show Guitar Greats from 20 November 1984. David performed You Know I’m Right and Murder. He used this guitar on both songs. I think it’s the ’62 reissue he bought prior to the About Face tour in 1984, in addition to the 4 reds and the cream coloured Strats. The guitar can been see on the Hammersmith ’84 concert. I remember reading that he later fitted the guiatr with a Roland or Yamaha synth module, hence the “strange” pickguard. I have no idea why or how it was used. – Bjorn]

  22. It seem both Gilmour & Renwick had more than one Stratocaster at Live 8. in the reheral footage on the Live 8 DVD we can see Gilmour playing one of his red strats, so it stands to reason that Tim would have had a back-up too.

    not sure if theis has been discussed before, but the cream strat seem to have reappeared on the new DVD, this time being played on one song by Guy Pratt.

    [Yeah, David is seen using the red Strat on the rehearsals. I think we’ve touched the subject that Guy used the guitar on live performances of Then I Close My Eyes. I also read some place that the cream coloured Strat was David’s favourite of the 6 he bought in 1984 but he didn’t care much for the colour. – Bjorn]

  23. Sylvain says:

    It’s a lovely story…it makes me think to someone who breaks with his girlfriend and go to search for her ;)

  24. Deck says:

    [Thanks for the info Deck! I don’t think Tim used the cream Strat on Live 8 tho. If you look at the concert Tim is using his own guitar, which he’s describing in the interview I did with him some months ago:

    – Yes. I bought it new, from Chandlers shop in Kew, in London about twelve years ago. It is sea-foam green having American electronics (Seymour Duncan Alnico Two pick-ups – single coil except for bridge position which is a dual tapped humbucker) and Japanese wooden parts. It has a pearlised scratchplate and was assembled by my friend Brinsley Schwartz for Chandler Guitars. It actually looks turquoise to me, but I’m a bit colour-blind!

    – Bjorn]

    Well, I remember Tim Renwick playing this sea-foam green Strat, and I was also a bit surprised to learn that he used the cream one. But, if you still have the scanns from Phil Taylor’s book, look at the second pic, on the “a new 57v neck, 2005” scann (b.jpg) : We can clearly see Tim Renwick with the cream Strat. So I think that he may have used the cream one for rehearsals, and his own strat for the live show… And this pic has been probably taken during the rehearsals…

    [Ah! I see that now. Yes, the cream was probably used during rehearsals. – Bjorn]

  25. Matteo Bossetti says:

    To Walter Clowe:
    Hey Walt, thanks for the extra info. I’m one of those guys who is pretty upset to know that you guys from HRC used to screw with some of the stuff there. I think that some pieces of art cannot be even touched, for the respect of what, in this case, that guitar did with David. :-)
    Anyway, a pretty distinctive “sign” is a quite large amount of paint went off on the back of the Blackie (you can see it on Bjorn’s Blackie article). Did you remember something like that when you screwed with it? :-)

  26. Pedro says:

    Hey Bjorn, what about Fender’s Black Strat replica release?

    [Seems like they’re aiming at a release in late November. – Bjorn]

  27. David says:

    “Any idea why Miami? Miami doesnt really have a big rock scene either.”

    I recall hearing somewhere that the hard rock keeps all of it’s collection in a warehouse (in orlando Florida I believe). And doles it out to the cafe’s as needed. So if this is true it’s being in miami was pretty close to chance.

  28. Wizadd says:

    Well If its true that Gilmour actually was insane enough to lend that Guitar to anyone, There can only be one explaination!!! ……Too much [edit – Bjorn]!!!! The dam 80’s for ya!!

    This is a fantastic sight …..Gilmour Rules!!!!!

    [Please keep the remarks to yourself… you never know who reads this. – Bjorn]

  29. Walter Clowe says:

    A buddy of mine who is a huge Gilmour fan told me about this site and this article

    I used to work at the Hard Rock Café in Miami from 84 to 91, I remember that guitar pretty well !

    Once in a while we used to screw with some of the axes hanging their, it’s actually by doing that that I got into the whole Travis Bean obsession I still have with guitars, not a big ” strat ” fan, for anyone who’s ever played a Travis you know that feeling !

    Anyhow to be frank I remember it well because one of the girls there was Patricia Gilmore and we always thought the right way of spelling Gilmour was Gilmore, convinced it was a typo … but oh well …

    I remember that it was pretty heavy for a Strat, probably the vibrato on it, the 5 way switch didn’t work on it either.

    Wow … to be frank anyone could have swiped it off the hangers … the Guitar next to it was a Rickenbacker

    [Cool! Thanks for the info! I don’t think all the guys here appreciate the fact that you “used to screw with some of the axes” but nevertheless… LOL! – Bjorn]

  30. Deck says:

    Bjorn, did you notice that the “new” neck, the one that was on the black Strat for the On an island tour, actually is the old neck of the cream Strat, heavily used by David Gilmour during the About Face tour, and the first part of the Momentary Lapse tour… You can find this at the scanns from Phil Taylor’s book…

    “After Live8, some of the frets on the Black Strat were slightly low and the neck required (refretting ?). A change of fret wire was tried, but was (unuasable ?) and David was due back in the studio to continue recording On an island. At time was of the (essence ?), the neck on the Black Strat was swapped with the neck from the 57v Cream Strat. It had been his main instrument for the 1984 About Face solo tour and David had only used it occasionally since. The cream Strat was used on stage with Pink Floyd at Live8 being played by Tim Renwick. The subtle differences in the shape of this neck felt more comfortable and better to play. Now with it’s (?) neck, the Black Strat was firmly re-established as David’s favourite Stratocaster guitar.”

    Ok, that’s all of what I’ll be copying from the extracts, I wouldn’t like to steal the work of Mr Taylor. I found this interesting… ;)

    [Thanks for the info Deck! I don’t think Tim used the cream Strat on Live 8 tho. If you look at the concert Tim is using his own guitar, which he’s describing in the interview I did with him some months ago:

    – Yes. I bought it new, from Chandlers shop in Kew, in London about twelve years ago. It is sea-foam green having American electronics (Seymour Duncan Alnico Two pick-ups – single coil except for bridge position which is a dual tapped humbucker) and Japanese wooden parts. It has a pearlised scratchplate and was assembled by my friend Brinsley Schwartz for Chandler Guitars. It actually looks turquoise to me, but I’m a bit colour-blind!

    – Bjorn]

  31. Jason Romero says:

    Wow, that is truly a shame that the guitar was displayed in such a way. What is surprising to me is how recent the Kahler was replaced with the original trem. I remember hearing that David replaced it after the About Face tour and somewhat used the guitar on the AMLOR tour.

    And no more jokes about Kahler! It was my dad’s main trem system in the ’80’s! =P

    [David did not use the Black Strat on the AMLOR tour. OK… no more jokes… promise… :) – Bjorn]

  32. Sylvain says:

    I had forgotten…thanks to David Arroyo and you for the pic !

    [Cheers Sylvain! – Bjorn]

  33. Sylvain says:

    Very interesting ! Almost unbelievable !
    It makes me feel like buying the Taylor’s book.

  34. maxi argentina says:

    thats not the guitar i think, the neck is flamed maple.

    [Yep. During the About Face era, David used a flamed 22 fret neck. – Bjorn]

  35. Frails says:

    I’ll say this….the US is LOADED with guitars signed by musicians. It just seems like 99% of what I ever see in these types of places are Squires instead of USA Strats, no attention even paid to what hand and the player is and the guitars always seem to be brand new.

    This is where the Hard Rock is supposed to separate from these others. So, I gotta believe it’s legit.

  36. Ernest Peske says:

    Aaaah great, thanks for that Bjorn!
    Amazing story, unbelievable!
    This guitar belongs either to David himself or in a museum!!!
    Well, now I can sleep tonight…
    Ernest {^_”}

    P.S.- Anyone interested in building a guitar or Gilmour replica strat, try this: Link
    Good stuff, reasenable prices.

    [Sleep well Ernest! – Bjorn]

  37. Deck says:

    Unbelievable… Well done, Bjorn, and many thanks to David Arroyo for the pic !

  38. Bjorn says:

    Hi guys.

    Here’s what I’ve managed to extract from the scans of Phil’s new book. The parethesis marks where I’m not sure what it says or did’t catch at all… but you’ll get the idea. Phil doesn’t mention Miami, as I thought I’d seen but he mentiones that the guitar had both the Charvel neck and the Kahler when they recieved it back from HRC.

    “Black is Back

    It was now May 1999, the Black Strat had been on display in the Hard Rock Cafe for over (ten) years. If David was ever (…) it again, it was (….) it’s return. When contacted, The Hard Rock Cafe were rather surprised to be asked to return that guitar. Claiming no knowledge of the existance (…) appearance, they were under the (….) that they owned it. The original paperwork was produced to clear up any misunderstandings.

    The Black Strat arrived back in England several months later, sadly not in the same condition as when it (left) and without its original black case. (….), the guitar was sent to Charlie Chandler’s guitar workshop to be repaired.

    He was also asked to make some additional changes in order to restore it to being a good, playable instrument that David could use. The Kahler tremolo unit was replaced, the whole filled with a suitable piece of wood and painted black. The preferred original Fender tremolo system was reinstalled and the Charvel neck with the locking nut was replaced with a new 57 vintage (…) neck similar to the ones David was now using. ” – from “The Black Strat” by Phil Taylor

    – Bjorn

  39. MikeR says:

    Had I seen it, I wouldn’t have swiped it. I mean, who wants a strat with a Kahler. ^_-

    [LOL! You said it! – Bjorn]

  40. Jason says:

    ahh the 80’s. it even got to gilmour too!

  41. Ernest Peske says:

    [Phil talks about HRC Miami in his new book.-Bjorn]

    Bjorn, do you already have a copy of this book?
    If yes, hmmmmmmm ;-))
    A little (p)review perhaps….


    [Ouch… I went a little ahead of my self there and assumed something that’s not right. No, I don’t have the book and after a closer look at the poor scans we’ve all seen, Phil doesn’t mention which HRC it was. Sorry about that. – Bjorn]

  42. Ernest Peske says:

    I would say this is a replica, not the original.


    [Look carefully. It’s the Charvel neck, the Kahler bridge, the string lock at the headstock and the bridg/neck combo switch. Why would anyone replicate that on a seemingly ordinary Strat? – Bjorn]

  43. James Cameron says:

    I am more or less shocked that DG would give his favorite axe to a food chain! I think he must have had a love/hate relationship with this guitar. However, I remember the 80’s very well and it was not rare to see folks trading in there vintage tube amps and such for solid state gear and other stuff that would make most of us cringe just thinking about it. My other guess would be that perhaps he wanted to shed the feeling of being the lead guitar player of the Pink Floyd with Roger Waters era. Giving up his Floyd axe would be like saying goodbye to that era. thats just a guess though.

  44. Eivind says:

    Strange that is. Hanging that wonderful and irreplaceable guitar on a wall for all kinds of people (or shall we say animals) to touch and steal knobs and so on.. It’s more worthy than that in my opinion. But I guess it’s as you say: he couldn’t have cared for it as much back then as he do at this point in time.. I’m certainly glad it’s back in Gilmour’s magical hands!

    But this got me thinking though.. I have a suggestion for you Bjørn. Why don’t you make a poll where you ask all of the Gilmourish-fans which Gilmour-guitar they like the most, like Gilmour to play, or something like that? Having a monthly poll could have motivated us in the Gilmourish-society to discuss more, share our views and get to know each other a little better. Just a suggestion that is.

    Have a nice weekend y’all!

    [Thanks for the suggestion Eivind! I’ll keep that in mind :) – Bjorn]

  45. Matteo Bossetti says:

    Well, this news shocked me a bit! I was always wondering if the guitars shown in HRC’s were the original or not. It’s very hard for me to believe that such a precious guitar could have hanged on the wall in a terrible way like this. Besides, it’s very hard to understand why David gave THAT to them. He has tons of different guitars but why THE most important for him. Mmmmh…

    [I guess that he didn’t care as much for the guitar back in the 80s as he does now. It was a strange periode in David’s career when he replaced his old rig with Boss, Fender Twins and the red Strats. – Bjorn]

  46. Franck Machu says:

    The real question is: why David Gilmour went back to this particular guitar? What make it so special ? This man, which has the most expensive guitars in the world, keep playing with this one, which is not more than a Stratocaster like thousands of others. This man is able to take a ukulele and make it sounds like a stradivarius. Why this particular one ? Is it a pure sentimental matter ?

    [Hard to say but it’s not uncommon that guitarists tend to stick to one favourite guitar. David has done so many changes over the years and the only original part left is the body. – Bjorn]

  47. Adrian says:

    Crazy indeed! I do find it hard to believe that it is the original black strat, and that David just asked for it back one day. Either way, Im very excited for Phil Taylor’s new book!!

  48. Barney Chamorro says:

    Any idea why Miami? Miami doesnt really have a big rock scene either.

    [I have no idea. Perhaps Phil will answer this in his new book. – Bjorn]

  49. brett says:


    i would have stole that so fast, no matter what the sentence!

    its cool how he took it back though, could have got a new guitar but nope, need old blackie :)


  50. Wind says:

    That’s crazy! I can so easily picture some guy reaching up there while eating a burger and swiping a knob.

  51. Pavan says:

    yeah Bjorn can you explain this?

    and this?

    very strange indeed!

    [Those are not David’s guitars. The first image is a version of the guitar from 1977, at least 7 years before David is last seen with it. The second guitar is just a random Strat signed by David. I also saw a similar “Pompeii-ish” model hanging in Singapore in 1997. Phil talks about HRC Miami in his new book. – Bjorn]

  52. Ryan says:

    oh man….i got a bit naucious reading this.

    well….at least he got it back….

  53. Wizadd says:

    I find it hard to believe that David Gilmour would have lent that classic guitar to anyone!!!! I find even more hard to believe the disrespect the hard rock had for not encasing it in glass!!! Are you sure that the guitar was truly THE Black stratocaster that he had since live at pompeii???

    [Yep. That’s the one. – Bjorn]

  54. Collin says:

    That’s amazing that they would just leave it there without any securing measures… and that David would let them have it for so long.