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David Gilmour Black Strat Replica Build

The Black Strat

Finally back together again

My Black Strat Replica returns.

I eventually got around to rebuild my Black Strat again in May 2022.

My first Black Strat was not a true replica but more of a economy built tribute and it was not built by me. It was a $600 purchase featuring a Mexican body  with 2-point tremolo Wilkinson VLS100, and it suffered from sustain fatigue sadly. Felt dead overall.

The guitar was eventually picked apart and almost everything was sold. I kept only the pickups.
I decided to rebuild the Black Strat. But this time, i wanted to take it

out all the way and make it look the part.

The body was ordered from Franchin Custom in Italy. They sell them for anyone wanting one. I waited 3-4 months for the completion and the finished product turned out great.
I did some after touch effects on the relic, but other than that, The nicks and dings was good.

Side by side comparison.. Mine is on the left and the original Black Strat on the right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I sold the old neck, and a Fender Vintera Modified neck took its place for a while, with a 9.5 radius and

Medium Jumbo frets sporting a smooth C-shape.
Later i purchased a Nitro Fender Classic Series 50´s neck since it fits the part better in color and style, Gilmours neck is a 1983 ´57 soft V shape with 7.25 radius and vintage style frets. And mine is now the same in the same ballpark. But it was re-fretted to Jumbo frets in April 2024. Vintage style frets is not my thing.

The pickguard  from the tribute was replaced as well. It was cracked around 3 of the screw holes,

so i discarded it.

These pickguards are custom made from acrylic material with rounded/beveled edges.

They cost around $80-90 each. Mine was done by Axion Custom Works.

The Pickups are the only original parts left from the old build. They are the standard replica issue that many seem to favour to get the Black Strat tones.: Fender Fat 50´s, Fender CS69 and Duncan SSL-5. The wiring started out as a Gilmour 7-way wiring kit from Hoagland custom. But i was not satisfied by the sound. It had some high end Auricap caps on it and a treble bleed. I gutted the whole harness and it now has a basic Luxe 0.5mf dime cap just like Davids original. Tone pots was Linear taper, which i also dont like and was switched to Audio taper. I never have  got along with Linear taper pots. So there is nothing left from the Hoagland wiring apart from wires and the audio pot and the switch.
The  knobs are distressed and reliced by myself to look like the original. These are basic Vintage fender knobs in aged white..
Tremolo unit is a Fender Pure Vintage tremolo with Pat.pending saddles. The saddles was lightly aged and the tremplate rouged up a little to knock off the shine. I am using a shortened arm but not Gilmour short.

Overall, a fun build.

Tone knob comparison. Mine is on the left..

PARTS OVERVIEW:
BODY: Franchin Italy Custom Relic body Nitro Lacquer
NECK: Fender Classic 50´s Nitrocellulose with 7.25" radius and Jescar Jumbo Stainless Frets
KNOBS:/COVERS: Standard Fender Aged White, (aged)

PICKGUARD: Black Acrylic with Round beveled Edges

ELECTRONICS:  7-Way 3X Bourns 250K Audio taper pots with Luxe 0.5 50V Dime cap
PICKUPS: Fender Fat 50's in neck, CS69 Middle and Duncan SSL-5 Bridge

TREMOLO: Fender Pure Vintage Tremolo Assembly, Reliced, Shortened Arm
TUNERS: Gotoh SD91 Staggered Tuners

Black Strat Replica Side By Side comparison
Black Strat replica Knobs Comparison

The Original Black Strat

BlackStrat Full Front.jpg
BlackStrat Full back.jpg
BlackStrat body front.jpg
BlackStrat body back.jpg
BlackStrat neck.jpg
BlackStrat body front.jpg

History

David Gilmour´s Black Stratocaster is probably the most iconic guitar out there. It has gained just as much fame and legendary status as the man himself.

Phil Taylor, Gilmours guitar tech even wrote a book about this guitar.

The Strat was purchased at the legendary Manny's in New York in 1969 after the equipment of Pink Floyd got stolen in New Orleans. The equipment was found but the guitars were sadly gone. The band canceled the rest of the tour and did a quick stop in New York where Gilmour took a trip into Manny's and bought this standard off-the-rack guitar and so as they say, the story begins.

This guitar has gone trough many modifications and several neck changes over the years it has been in service. Been trough a couple of routing and carving for new pickups and hardware installation. To start with it was a Black over Sunburst with a rosewood neck and a regular white pickguard. But it has since gone over to the all-black look over time. It made it´s debut in Bath UK in 1970, and has since been featured over countless timeless Pink Floyd songs. It was used on Dark Side Of The Moon up to The Wall. The Comfortably Numb guitar solo came out of that guitar.

 

It was retired in 1985 in favour for the Red Stratocaster with Active Pickups and ended up on the wall at Hard Rock Café in Dallas in 1986. But it was reclaimed by Phil Taylor again in 1997 in poor condition. It was brought to Charlie Chandler for a full overhaul and was put to rest for an additional 8 years. But in 2005 during the Live Aid, Reunion, Phil Taylor brought with, and handed the guitar over to David during the rehearsal and it was like two old friends had found back together again.

And since then, the Red Strat had to make way for the old axe, and has since been David's trusty servant under a few Solo albums and many live shows up until June 2019 when he auctioned the guitar off for charity. It ended up fetching a whooping $3.975.000 Dollars when the hammer fell. A new record for a guitar sold at auction.

But it's legend status has inspired countless players around the world to make their own replicas. An official Fender Custom Shop replica was made of this guitar in 2008 in both Relic and NOS.

 

The Guitar was very hard to keep in tune during its last years of service and Phil had to put harder effort in it to keep it manageable. It sits now in the hands of Jim Irsay and has earned a fitting retirement. But Jim often takes it out with the rest of the collection for showcases and every now and then, he loans it out for live use as well.
An era is over but the legacy this guitar put down is unrivalled.

 

Photos of the build

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