Classic Fender styling. The Stratocaster has been in constant production since 1954, and although it has seen countless design variations along the way – it still retains much of it’s original style. Leo Fender applied his innovative, modular, mass-production techniques and produced a stylish evolution on the traditional, Spanish guitar form. Cutaways at the neck allowed access to the higher registers, sculpted body contours fitted the player better and new innovations like the specially designed floating tremolo, allowed new means of expression for the growing ranks of professional and amateur musicians alike.
From the original days of Rock n Roll. From Buddy Holly and Hank Marvin – all the way to the modern era, via Hendrix, Gilmour, Mayer, Clapton, Guy, Vaughan, Knopfler… and thousands more like them.The Fender Stratocaster is the iconic, solidbody, Rock n Roll electric guitar.
Inspired by the stylings of Hank Marvin’s original, 1957 Stratocaster – this is a 2003 Fender, “upcycled” with gold Fender hardware, Bareknuckle “Apache”, single coil pickups, and an authentic Hank Marvin, VML “Easy Mute” tremolo bar.
I originally obtained a 2003, Fender “Classic 50’s” loaded body – with the intention of using it for some gilding practice. The body surpassed all expectations, and so became an ideal candidate for refurbishment. Some gold hardware, and a couple of authentic Hank Marvin inspired details, completed the project in true Fifties style.
My very first build, and perhaps my favourite Stratocaster. Since it’s very first incarnation – this guitar has been rebuilt and upgraded more than any other of my projects. Consequently – it’s the one which has undergone the most modification, and the one I’ve probably learned the most from.
At this point in time – the only part of the guitar still remaining from my original build, is the tremolo bridge. Everything else has been gradually replaced, and upgraded.
Based around the concept of a “Transitional, 60’s / 70’s” design and specification, my Ash Stratocaster consists of a hand-oiled, one-piece ash body with a Fender, all-maple neck. Genuine Fender components throughout, with a Callaham, Vintage-S tremolo bridge. Abigail Ybarra, Fender Custom Shop, “Custom ’69” pickups in the neck and middle positions, and a Seymour Duncan Custom Shop SSL-5 pickup at the bridge.
I built my version of Dave Gilmour’s famous “Black Strat” after seeing the original at the 2019 Christies pre-Auction exhibition in London. This is a “technical replica”, in that it takes inspiration from the original guitar, but presents it as if it were a new build. Genuine Fender components throughout, with Fender Custom Shop pickups in the neck and middle positions, and a Seymour Duncan Custom Shop SSL-1C(DG) pickup at the bridge. The project is completed with a custom made, replica strap, by Martin Pryce Leather.
I’ve always been a fan of Dave Gilmour’s sound, and I’ve seen his original “Black Strat” evolve over the years, as he has developed his famous tone. When the original guitar fetched a world record price of $3,975,000 in 2019 – it became truly iconic, and the perfect inspiration for a custom build project.
I’ve wanted to try gilding a guitar body for ages. I was originally inspired by a similar Fender Custom Shop instrument and, having studied gilding in the past, I finally decided to see if I could combine some of the skills I’ve learned along the way.
The gilding is applied over a traditional, earth red ground and with a thin, Antique Gold, painted basecoat. The body is finished with a high gloss, polished, nitrocellulose lacquer, and Antique Gold “competition stripes”.
An experiment in gilding – using imitation leaf on a two-piece, alder Stratocaster body.
Contributing to the build, is a Fender, all maple, “Classic Player” neck, a gently toned and reliced Mint Green Fender pickguard, by Elina at “Guitar Garage” and authentic Fender hardware throughout. The Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups are hooked up with a customised tone circuit – built around 500k CTS and RSGuitarworks pots, and a K40Y-9, 0.1µF tone capacitor.