Following the tremendous success Fender achieved with the Esquire and Telecaster, the company was looking to produce a guitar which would generate higher musical instruments sales. Advertised as "Perfection in a solid-body comfort contoured professional guitar providing all the finest Fender features" the Fender Stratocaster was introduced to the market in 1954. This new model touted a contoured body which delivered significant comfort in the hands of the player while the third adjustable pickup and built-in vibrato unit broadened its tonal potential.
Drawing inspiration from the jet age and aircraft design of the American 50s, the Stratocaster possessed sleek curves and lustrous chrome metal. The name even conjured up the possibility it would obtain atmospheric heights. As an object the golden sunburst guitar reflected the contemporary design of the time and has continued to embody impeccable style and grace. The iconic Stratocaster became the most replicated and possibly the most played solid-body electric guitar ever. Its unparalleled success altered the direction of popular music and in the nearly sixty years since the introduction of the Stratocaster guitar it has been the tool of choice for countless brilliant musicians including Buddy Holly, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Ry Cooder, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Steve McClure. Eric Clapton commented "I have tried every guitar that has ever been made and without fail, I always come back to the Stratocaster. It's just like going home again. It's about as close to being perfect as any electric guitar can be."
Richard Friedman of We Buy Guitars recalls selling the guitar to Richard Gere in about 1979. He stated that it was from one of his family's shops, Accent or We Buy Guitars at 155 or 159 West 48th Street in New York.
"Richard was a regular visitor to our shops and was one of the very few ever allowed behind the counter. I remember that customers would walk in and he would jump up and start helping out, handing guitars over the counter.
He was a joy to work with. He always negotiated the price and was very good at it but he was always a pleasure to serve.
I remember when I sold him this guitar. I told him to keep the Bakelite parts because they were going to be valuable someday."