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1969 Stratocaster "The Black Strat"

Serial# 38979

1969 Stratocaster "The Black Strat"

Most associated with:

David Gilmour
Born: March 6, 1946

Current Ownership:

Jim Irsay, US
(Christies Auction)

Previous Ownership:

Manny´s New York
(Purchased from)

This is probably the most infamous, coveted & documented Stratocasters ever known to man. It is equally just as famous as the man himself Sir David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. This guitar seldom needs any introductions. There are probably just as many "Black Strat Replica" of this as there are of EVH's "Frankenstrats"

There are loads of sites out there with info of this guitar. So i will leave a short bio here:

"The Black Strat" is/was David Gilmour's infamous CBS-era 1969 Stratocaster that he used from 1970-1986.


In 1969 Pink Floyd had its gear stolen prior to a gig in New Orleans. On the return back to New York he went in to Manny's and bought it. At the time it was in more or less factory equipped with a white pick guard and a CBS neck. Only difference was that it was refinished in Black over its original Sunburst color. The Guitar went on to be featured on most if not all Pink Floyd albums from 1970 up to 1986.

It has been used on countless Pink Floyd recordings including Dark Side Of The Moon and is featured on the "Live In Pompeii" video (With a white guard). After using it to record "The Wall", he loaned it to Hard Rock Café were it strangely was displayed in the open, at arms reach resulting in parts go missing and more wear and tear on it.

Phil Taylor eventually requested to get it back some years later and was retuned in poor state (Hard Rock Café thought they actually owned the guitar and was surprised they "wanted it back" for free. They even managed to loose the original case) Phil then gave it to Charlie Chandler who restored it with a new ´57 V-shape neck. After the restoration, it was further stored away until 2005 when the guitar and Gilmour were united once again for the live-8 concert.

Over the years it has seen loads of modifications which gives it status as a "90% partcaster". Gilmour always modified his main guitars to some extent for his liking. The only thing original at the end of its journey was the body and the Tremolo (which was refitted back in the 90's). The neckplate it is bearing today with serial 38979 is from a Pre-CBS guitar (CBS Strats always have 6-digits) Its original Serial# is 266936.

This guitar has a history of usage and modification so long that a book was written about it by Phil Taylor.

David thought it was a daft idea to write about a simple instrument, because he only see his guitars as tools of the trade. But apparently the book sold so well it was long out of print for years with a minor uproar to have it republished. Eventually Phil gave in, and a updated revision of it was issued around 2020 and has since sold it out again. Amazon

In 2019, Gilmour sold off almost his entire collection including the Black Strat. It sold for a record high $3.975.000 and is now owned by Colts owner and guitar collector Jim Irsay.

Irsay often loans it out for display purposes, and sometimes even for studio and live usage.

The best place to read more about it is get the book or go to this dedicated Gilmour Gear site HERE

The guitar was evidently released as a Custom Shop Signature model in 2008 in both NOS and Relic versions. Today, Gilmour still plays a "Black Strat" just not the original one, but the Custom Shop replica. He has said that those CS reissues are even better than the real one. Phil says in the book that the Black Strat became more and more difficult to keep in tune and required more care to keep it stable and in tune on its final years. Maybe it was time to sell it off anyway.

I myself am an avid Floyd /Gilmour fan and my style caters to slow burn tones and nice bends ala Gilmour, I assembled my own version of it. Still have it and play it.

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