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Old 03-05-2016, 06:52 AM
WordMan is offline
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David Gilmour's Legendary #0001 Strat - really a '54?


David Gilmour of Pink Floyd famously has a Strat with the serial # on it's neck plate of #0001. It is discussed as a 1954 - not likely the true first production Strat, since they stamped the neck plates with numbers and tossed them in a box; so it was assumed a worker pulled it out. But one of the very first Strats, with a custom gold pickguard, etc. Huge wow factor.

Here is link to a site with what I see as the "known story": http://www.gilmourish.com/?page_id=259

Quote:
The neck is signed “TG 6.54”, referring to Taddeo Gomez June 1954 and the body has a handwritten signature “Mary 9.28.54”, referring to Mary (this could very well be Mary Lemus, a Fender factory employee. Mary began work at Fender in 1954 as an assembler, eventually becoming a final assembly supervisor – thank you Mike Rego) September 28. 1954.

According to Guitarist journalist David Mead, who examined the guitar for an article in 1995, the ash body is indeed white although it might appear to be aged Olympic White, pale green or even blue-ish on some pictures. The guitar features an anodized gold 8 hole 1-ply pickguard, custom gold plated tremolo system and output jack and Kluson Deluxe tuners. The pickups appear to be original 1954 Fenders with a 3-way pickup switch (the 5-way switch didn’t surface until the mid 70’s).

David explained to Guitarist in 1986 how he got his hands on the guitar: ”Eventually Phil wanted to borrow some money to buy a house, so I blackmailed him! I said the only way I’d lend him the money to buy the house, was if he sold me the white Strat…”. This must have been sometime around 1976-77. Apparently, the guitar had originally belonged to Leo Fender who gave (or sold) it to Seymour Duncan. Duncan later sold it to Phil in the mid 70’s for $900.
However, I get a newsletter email from Fretted Americana, a super-pricey vintage guitar shop in CA. In this week's email, they are selling a Limited Edition replica of the Gilmour 0001 Strat. But they offer a VERY different history of the original guitar:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fretted Americana newsletter
Here is the correct story regarding David Gilmour's actual guitar that this one is based on...

"This is one of those folklore legends that has taken on a life of its own. Here's the real story - and it's actually a tale of two guitars. In 1976, right before he started Seymour Duncan Pickups, Seymour was doing guitar repair at Jensen's Music, here in Santa Barbara. While he was there, a guy from Nipomo, California named Richard Green brought a '57 Strat to Seymour to fix and refinish - he wanted the new color to be see-through root beer, like Bonnie Raitt's guitar. Seymour remembers the original color as a light mint green; probably the same finish Fender used on some lap steels.

Seymour sent the body to his friend and colleague Wayne Charvel for refinishing. Wayne was an authorized Fender repairman. But Wayne couldn't refinish the body because the dings and nicks were too deep for a see-through finish. So Wayne used another Fender body, which he sprayed see-through root beer, and he sent it back to Seymour. (Back in the '70s, when you sent a neck or body to Fender for replacement, the practice was to saw the original in half and throw it away. However, in this case, the original body wasn't destroyed...)

The original neck went to another Santa Barbara repairman Phil Kubicki who refinished it. It eventually made its way back to Seymour who re-plated the hardware gold, put the guitar back together (with the new body) and returned it to Richard Green. The neck plate said serial number #0001, but Seymour knew it wasn't accurate since Fender didn't do solid color finishes back then.

Some time later, Seymour was visiting Wayne's shop and saw the original '57 body and bought it to use for a test guitar he was building. Seymour bought a '57 maple neck from Kubicki for $85 and he bolted it onto the '57 body. He wound some '60s replica pickups and used the guitar as a test bed. Eventually, he sold the Frankenstein guitar to a guy named Phil Taylor who in turn sold it to David Gilmour for $600. The neck plate said #0001; but like Richard Green's, Seymour believed it to be non-original. Keep in mind, this was long before the vintage guitar craze had started; and was 15 years before the first Antiquity pickup was ever sold.
So Gilmour's Strat is a '57 Parts-o-Caster with a set of Duncan's in it. Similar to the legendary guitars Duncan built for Jeff Beck from various parts and Duncan's handmade, pre-production pickups. Wonderfully cool, but not a one-off first-year-of-production custom Stratocaster.

Now I wonder if the #0001 Gilmour guitar actually has TG '54 written on the butt of the bolt-on neck, or if the penciled initials are faked. These days, relying on pencil writing on an old guitar is dodgy at best.
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:57 AM
Enter the Flagon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post

However, I get a newsletter email from Fretted Americana, a super-pricey vintage guitar shop in CA. In this week's email, they are selling a Limited Edition replica of the Gilmour 0001 Strat. But they offer a VERY different history of the original guitar:
Huh. Presumably, this comes from Seymour Duncan, since it's hard to imagine why anybody would make that story up - unless, of course, Phil Taylor felt the need for a little revenge.

Quote:
Now I wonder if the #0001 Gilmour guitar actually has TG '54 written on the butt of the bolt-on neck, or if the penciled initials are faked. These days, relying on pencil writing on an old guitar is dodgy at best.
Yeah, now that these old guitars are worth more than a mansion in Toledo, there's lots of incentive to put counterfeit examples on the market. Apparently, even new guitars aren't immune:

How to spot a fake: Gibson warns of counterfeit guitars sold in USA

And if you're going to pencil somebody's initials into a guitar neck, who better than Tadeo Gomez? You could probably establish a religious cult around this guy among Strat aficionados, with all the members wearing a pencil behind each ear.



Anyhow, next time I find myself having lunch with David Gilmore, I'll try to refrain from bringing this subject up.
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Old 03-05-2016, 12:35 PM
WordMan is offline
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I actually know Seymour Duncan, and was pleasantly surprised when he remembered me when I encountered him years later. A great guy. Oh yeah, to be clear, I have no problem believing that the Fretted Americana story is more correct and that Seymour would say something if wasn't. He also did a TON of custom work back then, including the infamous "Tele-Gib" Telecaster routed and fitted with a couple of humbuckers that Jeff Beck famously used on Blow by Blow's Cause We've Ended as Lovers.

And yeah, Tadeo Gomez is one of those names that Fender geeks say in hushed tones. Another is Abigail Ybarra, who hand wound pickups back in the day. Her inconsistencies were considered to have an effect. She was doing custom winds very recently for a big surcharge at the Custom Shop. Kinda silly.

And yes, Fenders are the worst for counterfeiting. As they say, it amazing how many more Fender Custom Color guitars from the '50's and 60's survived than were actually produced .
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