As I write this, David Gilmour’s Black Strat has just broken all records for guitar auctions, selling for $3,975,000 (including buyer’s premium) at Christie’s in New York. The auction, which comprised 127 guitars from the Pink Floyd legend’s collection, generated a massive $21 million – much of which will benefit each and every one of us as David has chosen to donate the proceeds to ClientEarth, a charity fighting against climate change. It’s an extraordinary act of generosity and, in the case of the Black Strat, proof that a heavily modified instrument can take you a long way.
If tweaking and modding guitars is your thing, this month’s magazine will serve you well. Aside from 45 indispensable pro tips and fixes that will help keep your guitar playing and sounding its best, we also share pearls of wisdom from Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Brandi Carlile guitar tech, Earnie Bailey. Meanwhile, our in-depth interview with Rodrigo y Gabriela also sees us go stage-side to talk to the techs who keep the duo’s unconventional nylon-string rigs running smoothly on the world’s biggest stages.
Elsewhere, we wind the clock back to the birth of the ultimate modular and modifiable electric guitar: the Stratocaster. Now 65 years old, this mid-century modern design icon is still the benchmark – just ask Macmull Custom Guitars, a company that has gone further than most in pursuit of vintage Fender tone. I get to grips with two of the boutique brand’s dazzling creations and try very hard to persuade myself that I don’t need another guitar. Good luck with that, right?
Inside the issue
Whether your number-one is a sticker-covered, blood-splattered road warrior or a much-cherished heirloom, one thing’s for sure: sooner or later, every guitar needs a little TLC. Before you pick up the phone and arrange an expensive trip to the luthier, this list of simple fixes, mods, upgrades and general maintenance tips might save you some money and help you sound better into the bargain.
We have The Beatles to thank for the popularity of the sunburst Casino, but this custom-colour model from the psychedelic era is a collectible delight.