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DAVID GILMOUR SIGNATURE STRATOCASTER
In 2006, David Gilmour was approached by the Fender Musical Instrument Corporation asking permission to produce an accurate replica of his famous 1969 black Fender Stratocaster. Despite his protestation that it was just an ordinary strat that I bought at Manny's, Gilmour finally agreed and Fender Custom Shop Manager Mike Eldred and Master Builder Todd Krause flew to London on a mission to capture the measurements and specific details of the original guitar, from which the first prototype would be made. Over the next two years, three more prototypes would be produced and five different pickup configurations were tested and refined with Gilmour’s participation. Hinting at the evolving collaboration, longtime guitar technician Phil Taylor told March 2008's Guitar & Bass Magazine David is very particular about replicating the pickups' sound and the set-up of the pickups and trem. Once the fifth and final prototypes were approved by Gilmour for sound, feel, playability and visual accuracy, the guitar went into production and was released in September 2008 to coincide with the release of David Gilmour's 3-disc Live in Gdańsk CD/DVD set. Todd Krause said of the process It was utterly just amazing, this overwhelming sense of history and the past and just being surrounded by it.
The Fender Custom Shop produced two models of the David Gilmour Signature Stratocaster - the Relic, which faithfully replicated the condition of The Black Strat as it appeared in 2008 with visual wear and distressing to the finish, aged parts and no backplate, and the NOS, or "New Old Stock," which similarly replicates the guitar as it is now, but with new parts, an 'as new' paint finish and a white plastic backplate. Gilmour said of the release They've done a fantastically good job to make it as good as I wanted it to be. We've worked quite hard on it, it's taken a while for us to get every part of it dead right. Two final prototypes of each model were made – one set remain with Fender Custom Shop for production reference and the other set remain with Gilmour. In a January 2009 interview with Guitar Player magazine, Gilmour enthused I have some final prototypes of the two different versions, and they are brilliant. In my opinion, they are just as good as my Black Strat, if not better, and I would have no hesitation about using them on a gig. In fact, I used the NOS model when I did an Atom Heart Mother show recently. Gilmour was so pleased with the final prototypes that he chose the NOS for a performance of Atom Heart Mother with Pink Floyd collaborator Ron Geesin for the Chelsea Arts Festival at Cadogan Hall, London, on 15th June 2008, and again for a performance with Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, London, on 10th February 2009.