July 3, 2015 in Historic Fenders

Gilmour’s Strats Part 2 — Gilmour’s Black Stratocaster


The most iconic of all of Gilmour’s guitars, this 1969 black “Frankenstrat” has become synonymous with him from the 1970’s to today. This is the guitar that Gilmour used on basically every Pink Floyd recording and tour from 1970 to 1983, and became his consistent and reliable workhorse during the meteoric rise that Pink Floyd experienced throughout the 1970’s, the 1980’s, and beyond. This Strat has a long history of use and abuse, and aside from the fact it was repainted before Gilmour acquired it, he’s changed the neck, pickups, and electronics of this guitar numerous times. He also appeared to have trouble deciding between using a rosewood or maple fretboard.

It’s commonly misunderstood that the various incarnations and modifications of Gilmour’s black Strat is actually the same guitar, as the constant changes and neck swapping clearly confused gear hounds and fans. In many ways, Gilmour became a guitar modification wizard, as he helped develop several interesting and useful wiring modifications, switching options, and plenty of forward-thinking tone experiments with his equipment.

You can distinctly hear this guitar used on the majority of Pink Floyd’s finest and most famous material, including the sessions and tours for classic Floyd albums such as Dark Side of the Moon,AnimalsWish You Were Here, The Wall, and Gilmour’s first solo album. If you’re interested in seeing this guitar up close and personal, you can see it in action throughout Pink Floyd’s legendary concert video Live at Pompeii.

Gilmour Black Strat 2007

Interestingly enough, Gilmour’s black Strat was retired in 1986 when it was donated to the Hard Rock Cafe. It remained on display in Dallas, Texas until 1997, when Gilmour requested to take the instrument back. Once the guitar was returned to him, he noticed that the guitar had sustained damage during its tenure at the Hard Rock Cafe. The instrument underwent a massive restoration process, and the restored guitar appears on camera during BBC’s Dark Side of the Moon documentary from 2003. Shortly after the documentary, Gilmour began using the guitar again in concert performances and in the studio. It can noticeably be seen in action during the Pink Floyd reunion performance from 2005 at Live 8.

It’s obvious that Gilmour has a deep connection with this particular instrument, and he’s continued to use this famous Strat during additional solo recordings and performances, including the sessions for the group Orb in 2010 and for the final Pink Floyd release, Endless River in 2014.

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