Fender has recently been on a roll releasing signature guitars, with models for HER, Tash Sultana, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Troy Van Leeuwen, but the company’s CEO Andy Mooney has revealed that there’s one high-end signature that never came to fruition: David Gilmour.
Speaking to Guitar World, Mooney was on the topic of collectable gear when he revealed how the Pink Floyd legend’s iconic white #0001 Stratocaster was one of his “holy grail[s]”, and how he wanted Fender to do an official Custom Shop replica.
“Through a mutual friend I developed a relationship with Alan Rogan who was the guitar tech for many greats … he gave me a copy of the [Tony] Bacon And [Paul] Day History of Fender … I whimsically decided I would collect every guitar in the book and I’ve been doing that since 1984.
“I had about 30 or 40 before I started at Fender. My holy grail from that book was the #0001 David Gilmour Strat. I tried to convince David for many years to at least give me access to it so we could do some Custom Shop replicas but he was never willing to do it.”
The guitar itself is a 1954 white Stratocaster with an ash body and an anodised gold pickguard, and a gold-plated tremolo. Its name comes from its serial number stamp, which despite being #0001 does not indicate it’s the first Strat ever made – more likely a showpiece made for a special occasion or an employee. It’s a truly collectable item in any case, and if those details aren’t enough to convince you of that, last year it sold for $1,815,000 at auction.
Mooney cited this as one of the likely reasons Gilmour didn’t lend it to the Custom Shop: “Now I know why [he didn’t lend it], looking at how much that guitar went for. I bid on it actually! I played it at Christie’s when they put it on a roadshow along with his black Strat. So at least I got to touch it and play it… but sadly that one will never make it into the collection!”
Mooney also reflected on how the American Professional II series arrives in what’s set to be a record year for Fender. The pandemic has seen a growth in guitar sales for the brand, as well as a huge increase in the number of people learning the instrument through Fender Play – when the brand offered the learning system for free for 90 days, a million users signed up.
“Those were predominantly brand-new players, who were younger on average than the original Fender Player users and more diverse, with a higher percentage of females,” he said. “And they bought a lot of gear across the entire network. It turned out to be a really significant business initiative for us.”
Relatedly, Mooney didn’t think much of the narrative of the “death of guitar” – calling the controversial Washington Post article from a few years ago “the definition of fake news”.
Similar to our own response on the matter, he cited the ever-expanding ways in which players are using the guitar as a rebuttal to the idea of the instrument ever being ‘dead’. “There’s this whole wider spectrum of players who are using guitars in ways we would never have thought of,” he said. “I think that’s great. It opens up a bigger funnel for new people coming into the industry.”
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