Rarely do you stumble upon one particular instrument that has made a huge impact on rock music. One of those instruments is David Gilmour’s old black Fender Stratocaster, known simply as The Black Strat.
Made back in 1969, the Pink Ployd legend first appeared live with it at the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music in 1970. Ever since then, Gilmour has used this instrument on numerous occasions over the last few decades, both in the studio and on tours.
So it was only a matter of time until Mr. Gilmour would get together with Fender Custom Shop to make his own signature model, which would be somewhat of the replica of the original and that would feature some of the characteristics preferred by the man himself.
Although it took them some time and this collaboration was established in 2006, the guitar lovers worldwide were thrilled to finally have a guitar that would pay honor to one of the biggest individual instruments of the 20th century.
Here we will be getting more into the specs of this luxurious Stratocaster which is one of Fender’s most prestigious products.
This particular Strat model is intended to replicate the looks, the feel, and the sound of the old Black Strat. Most of the features are copied, from the type of paint all the way to custom pickups.
So this Stratocaster has the classic well-known classic shape with the body made of premium select alder. The finish, just like on the original, is done with nitrocellulose lacquer.
The neck features the classic maple option most of the Fender Stratocaster guitars are known for. The scale length is 25.5 inches and the neck profile is the legendary thin-shouldered “C” type, which is copied from Gilmour’s 1983 US Vintage ’57 reissue Strat.
Of course, the neck is a bolt-on one, just like with any other classic Stratocaster guitars. The fingerboard radius is also a throwback to those old models since it’s only 7.25 inches, which is pretty round compared to the modern guitars.
The fretboard, of course, features classic 21 frets. As for the neck finish, nitrocellulose lacquer was also used for this purpose.
Now, the pickups are quite interesting, as they are some of the best single-coils you’ll find on any Strat on the market. On the bridge position, we have Seymour Duncan’s SSL-5.
Located in the middle, there’s a custom-wound special single-soil, while at the neck position, we have the custom shop Fat ’50s single-coil. The switch features classic five positions, and as far as the pots go, we have one volume and two tone controls.
More of this guitar’s quality is seen in its nickel and chrome finish hardware. It features the so-called American Vintage Synchronized Tremolo with a noticeably shortened tremolo arm.
The tuning mechanisms on the David Gilmour Strat are just like on the old Fenders, which are now known as the “vintage style” tuning machines. They require somewhat of a different re-stringing process compared to the standard tuners.
It’s pretty fair to say that this guitar looks stunning.
The black glossy finish with the black pickguard, white pickups, white pot caps, and white switch and tremolo arm cover make the guitar’s appearance kind of classy, which is pretty expected of a guitar bearing David Gilmour’s name.
It’s obvious that this is a replica of those older vintage Strats, but at the same time, it has a complete feeling of a newer and more modern instrument.
One thing about its appearance that’s noticeable right away is the short tremolo arm. It may be weird to some, but this is one of the guitar’s most unique features.
It would be an understatement to say that this guitar would totally blow you away. First, the neck is very playable, and you have easy and comfortable access to all the parts of the fretboard.
This being a David Gilmour signature model, the bending is done with ease and you won’t have to worry about it going out of tune, even after some crazy four or five semi-tone stretches.
The pickups were, for us, this instrument’s most exciting feature, giving you some of the clearest and most expressive tones. It works well in clean situations, it works well with overdrive, and it shows amazing results even for high gain setups.
Get yourself a pedal like Electro-Harmonix Bigg Muff or any kind of the Uni-Vibe replica, and you’re in for some seriously surprising Gilmour-ish tones.
The shorter tremolo arm would need you to get used to it though if you’re generally accustomed to regular Strats. However, this is not in any way a downside and with time it will certainly get more comfortable.
What more could you ask than a guitar that plays well, sounds this good, and looks this attractive? As we already mentioned, it’s very playable, and with these kinds of pickups you can get some really great dynamic expression, especially if you plug it into a tube amp.
We should, however, point out that this might not be a weapon of choice for everyone. Looking at the price tag, it’s clear that it’s intended for either professional players or extremely enthusiastic guitar collectors.
At the same time, we would say that the guitar is mostly for softer playing – anything from the Pink Floyd and David Gilmour type of music, jazz, blues, pop rock, and some slightly heavier rock music.
Even though it does give great tones on high gain lead channels or fuzz type of pedals, it’s still something that you would implement in prog rock or jazz type of stuff.
Aside from that, it’s worth every single damn penny. And we hope you found this review to be useful.