Although David Gilmour’s first electric guitar was a Fender Telecaster that his parents had bought him for his 21st birthday, he had always lusted after the Stratocaster, telling us I loved Fender Stratocasters, I loved Hank Marvin playing the Fender Stratocaster… The Stratocaster was my boyhood dream guitar and sometimes it’s hard to wean yourself off that sort of thing.
When David Gilmour first joined Pink Floyd in January 1968, the band bought him his first Fender Stratocaster, a late sixties model in white finish with a rosewood neck. Towards the end of Pink Floyd’s 1970 US tour, the white Strat was stolen along with Gilmour’s first black Stratocaster, purchased only weeks before at Manny’s Music in New York. Having already replaced the black Stratocaster in May 1970 on his way home from the US, Gilmour purchased this guitar, his second white Stratocaster, in a second-hand shop in England in summer 1970. With a similar rosewood neck to his first white Strat, the guitar had been hand painted in white over its original white finish.
After removing the pickup covers, Gilmour used the guitar for a performance with Pink Floyd at the Pop Deux Festival de St. Tropez in the South of France on 8th August 1970. Gilmour can be seen playing the guitar in footage of both the sound check and full concert, recorded for French television show Pop Deux. The band’s 50-minute set included the as yet unreleased Atom Heart Mother and The Embryo, along with Astronomy Domine, Cymbaline, Green Is The Colour, Careful With That Axe, Eugene and Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun. The majority of the footage was included on the CD/DVD/Blu-ray package The Early Years 1970 Devi/ation, released in March 2017. Photographer Jean Gaumy also captured Gilmour playing the 1966 Stratocaster during Pink Floyd’s performance to an audience of 500,000 people at the Fête de L'Humanité, Bois de Vincennes, Paris, on 12th September 1970 – Pink Floyd’s largest single concert attendance to date.
At some point in the early 1970s, Gilmour personally stripped the guitar back to its natural wood finish at his flat on London’s Old Brompton Road, after which it was fitted with Dawson Stereophonic pickups in 1976 and kept for studio use. Gilmour particularly liked the sound of the middle pickup on this guitar.