The Black Strat

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Fender Stratocaster "David Gilmour"
David Gilmour with The Black Strat
In 2006
Manufacturer Fender
Period CBS
Construction
Body type Stratocaster
Neck joint Bolt-on
Woods
Body Alder
Neck Maple
Fretboard Maple
Hardware
Bridge Standard Fender Synchronized
Pickup(s) S-S-S

The Black Strat is the nickname for a black Fender Stratocaster guitar played by David Gilmour of the progressive rock band Pink Floyd. It appeared for the first time with Gilmour at the 1970 Bath Festival.

Origin[edit]

Gilmour purchased the guitar, a 1969 model with a maple cap fingerboard and large headstock, in 1970 from Manny's in New York City to replace a similar guitar he bought there a few weeks earlier, which had been stolen. The Black Strat was originally a sunburst colour, but had been repainted black at Manny's. Since then, it has undergone numerous modifications (see below) and still exists today, being widely cited as his favorite guitar. He still uses it in the majority of his current performances.

Modifications[edit]

Gilmour and the Black Strat, fitted with rosewood neck, in 1970s

Throughout the 1970s, Gilmour alternated between using necks with maple and rosewood fingerboards on the Stratocaster. In 1972, Gilmour installed an XLR connector to eliminate the hum coming from his Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face; however, this was quickly removed. He also replaced the original tuners with Kluson tuners. In 1973, a Gibson PAF Humbucker was installed between the bridge and middle positions of the Strat, but he took out the original single coils and put them in the black pickguard later on. In 1976, the original bridge pickup was replaced by a DiMarzio FS-1. This in turn was replaced by a Seymour Duncan SSL1C. In the 1980s he replaced the bridge with a Kahler Tremolo System. He also replaced the original tremolo arm with a shortened one.

In 1986, Gilmour replaced it with three Candy Apple Red Stratocaster guitars with EMG pickups for touring and with a cream Stratocaster for rehearsals during the post Roger Waters era, retiring it for display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Dallas, Texas.

Recent and present day[edit]

During the 2000s, Gilmour played The Black Strat again, most notably on his On an Island tour of 2006 and at Pink Floyd's reunion at Live 8, in 2005.

Fender Custom Shop David Gilmour Signature Stratocaster

In 2008, Fender announced that their Custom Shop would be making a David Gilmour Signature Black Stratocaster. Technicians worked with both Gilmour and his guitar technician Phil Taylor to recreate the Black Strat. The finished model features in the current Custom Shop lineup.

Taylor is also the author of a book The Black Strat which covers in depth all the modifications and changes made to the Black Strat, along with its use on Pink Floyd tours and albums.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Taylor, Phil (September 1, 2008). The Black Strat – A History of David Gilmour’s black Fender Stratocaster. Hal Leonard. ISBN 978-1-4234-4559-3. 
  • Guitar World, 2006,
  • "Guitar Heroes", Sound Magazine, (1983)