Fender | 1969 Stratocaster "The Black Strat" David Gilmour
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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.
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 color, 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.
Throughout the 1970’s, 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 SSL-1. In the 1980’s he replaced the bridge with a Kahler Tremolo System, which again was later removed.
The installation of the Kahler bridge required a section of wood being cut out to accommodate the larger unit, which in turn meant a new piece of wood had to be inserted and sprayed black when the old bridge was returned. 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 The Black Strat for display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Dallas, Texas. The guitar was returned to Gilmour in the late 1990’s, but had not been displayed in a glass during its time at the Hard Rock Cafe, which lead to significant damage and the theft of many of its parts.
Due to the constant modifications, the only original parts on the guitar, apart from the body, are believed to be the pick up selector switch and (possibly) the bridge plate.
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