Now aspiring David Gilmours everywhere can own a piece of the legend. Fender’s new David Gilmour Signature Series Stratocaster was carefully modeled after the original Black Strat. As usual with Fender Signature models, there will be a high-end, so-close-it’s-a-forgery Relic version of the instrument and a more affordable N.O.S. (New Old Stock) version.
The Strat was nothing special when Gilmour purchased it at Manny’s Music in New York in 1970, just an off-the-shelf late- Sixties Stratocaster. Gilmour bought it in a hurry to replace a Strat that had been stolen during a Pink Floyd U.S. tour. The guitar originally had a Sunburst finish, but it had been oversprayed with black paint at the factory as a custom finish. The Relic version of the Gilmour Signature Strat reproduces even this detail—the alder body features black lacquer sprayed over a three-color Sunburst finish. The N.O.S. version has simply a black nitrocellulose lacquer finish sprayed on an alder body.
Because the guitar was neither rare nor collectible when Gilmour bought it, he made it his “bodge-up guitar”—the instrument he’d experiment on by changing pickups and necks and drilling holes to add bits of circuitry that were later discarded. “The guitar was never treated with any reverence at all. It was just a working tool,” says longtime Gilmour guitar tech Phil Taylor, who worked closely with Fender to create the David Gilmour Signature Series Stratocaster. But because it was also a working tool, it was the guitar most likely to be in Gilmour’s hands when Pink Floyd were making history. The Black Strat first went into service on Pink Floyd’s 1970 album Atom Heart Mother and remained in heavy use throughout the group’s Seventies heyday. It is the guitar Gilmour played on the classic Floyd instrumental “Echoes” and for two of the three solos in “Money.” And this is the guitar that played what many fans regard as Gilmour’s greatest solo ever, the one in “Comfortably Numb.”