Black stratocaster and David Gilmour

The term “Black Stratocaster” typically refers to a specific black-colored Fender electric guitar model that gained significant fame and recognition through its association with British musician David Gilmour, the guitarist of Pink Floyd. Here’s some information about the Black Stratocaster:


The origin of the specific black Stratocaster guitar known as the “Black Strat” can be traced back to its manufacturing by Fender in the late 1960s.

The guitar itself is a vintage Fender Stratocaster model, which was originally produced by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) in the mid-1950s. The Stratocaster, commonly referred to as the “Strat,” quickly became one of the most iconic and widely used electric guitars in the world.

David Gilmour acquired this Fender electric guitar in 1970, and it soon became his main instrument for recording and performing with Pink Floyd. The guitar underwent several modifications and customizations over the years to suit Gilmour’s preferences and playing style.

While the Black Stratocaster originated as a standard production model by Fender, its fame and significance primarily stem from its association with David Gilmour and its prominent role in Pink Floyd’s music. The guitar’s distinctive black finish, customized features, and Gilmour’s masterful playing contributed to its iconic status and its identification as the “Black Stratocaster.”

Also Read:

10 Best Guitar Bridge Models on the Market

Epiphone Acoustic Guitar Models: Classic Sound with a Contemporary Twist

TONEX AI machine Amp modeling Pedal

10 Must-Have Guitar Accessories to Elevate Your Playing

Eventide H90 MAX Harmonizer Multi Effects Pedal review

10 Best Guitar Pedal Boards

Hughes and Kettner Amps

David Gilmour’s Black Stratocaster

David Gilmour acquired his black Stratocaster in 1970, and it became his primary guitar for recording and performing with Pink Floyd. Over the years, Gilmour customized and modified the guitar to suit his preferences and playing style.

Modifications: Gilmour made various modifications to the guitar, including replacing the original neck with a custom neck featuring a larger profile and a 21st fret, installing a black pickguard, adding a bridge pickup tone control, and changing the electronics to incorporate additional pickup combinations.

Sound and Tone: The guitar is known for its distinctive and iconic tone. It has been featured on numerous Pink Floyd albums and iconic tracks like “Comfortably Numb” and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” The guitar’s combination of single-coil pickups, versatile switching options, and Gilmour’s playing technique contribute to its unique sound.

  1. Legacy: The Black Stratocaster is considered one of the most famous and recognizable guitars in rock music history. Its association with David Gilmour and its appearance on countless Pink Floyd recordings and live performances have elevated its status as a legendary instrument.
  2. Auction and Philanthropy: In 2019, David Gilmour auctioned off his collection of guitars, including the Black Stratocaster, for a charitable cause. The sale broke records, with the Black Stratocaster becoming the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction, raising millions of dollars for climate change initiatives.

While the term refers specifically to David Gilmour’s modified Fender Stratocaster, many guitarists and enthusiasts have sought to recreate its look and sound, resulting in various Black Stratocaster replicas and tribute models in the market.

Modifications of the Black Stratocaster

blankThe guitar associated with David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, has several unique aspects that set it apart from other Stratocaster guitars:

  1. Custom Modifications: Over the years, David Gilmour made various modifications to the Black Stratocaster, tailoring it to his playing style and tonal preferences. These modifications include changes to the pickups, wiring, tremolo system, and more. These alterations give the guitar its distinct sound and versatility.
  2. Electronics and Pickup Configurations: It features a unique pickup configuration. It has a combination of single-coil and humbucking pickups, including a Seymour Duncan SSL-5 in the bridge position, which contributes to its rich and versatile tone. Gilmour also added a mini-toggle switch that activates the neck and bridge pickups simultaneously, providing additional tonal options.
  3. Signature Sound: The guitar is known for its distinctive and iconic sound, which has been heard on numerous Pink Floyd albums and Gilmour’s solo work. The guitar’s tonal characteristics, responsiveness, and Gilmour’s masterful playing style contribute to its recognizable and emotive sound.
  4. Live Performances: The guitar has been Gilmour’s main guitar for many years and has been extensively used in live performances. It has played a pivotal role in delivering Gilmour’s signature guitar solos and captivating performances, becoming an integral part of the Pink Floyd sound.
  5. Historical Significance: The Black Stratocaster has been featured on several landmark Pink Floyd albums, including “The Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Animals,” and “The Wall.” Its unique place in music history and association with iconic songs make it a cherished instrument among fans and guitar enthusiasts.

Overall, the combination of its custom modifications, unique electronics, signature sound, and its association with David Gilmour’s musical legacy makes the Black Stratocaster a highly sought-after and distinctive instrument in the guitar world.

Life Performances

blankThe Black Stratocaster, belonging to David Gilmour, has been used in numerous live performances, particularly during his tenure with Pink Floyd and his solo career. Here are some notable live performances where the Black Stratocaster has made appearances:

  1. Pink Floyd’s “Pulse” Concert (1994): The guitar was prominently featured throughout Pink Floyd’s “Pulse” concert, which was recorded live at Earls Court in London. Gilmour showcased his exceptional guitar skills and iconic solos, including the unforgettable rendition of “Comfortably Numb” played on the Black Stratocaster.
  2. “Live 8” Concert (2005): As part of the historic “Live 8” benefit concert held in Hyde Park, London, Pink Floyd reunited for a special performance. Gilmour played the Black Stratocaster during their set, delivering captivating performances of songs like “Breathe,” “Money,” and “Wish You Were Here.”
  3. Gilmour’s Solo Tours: The guitar has been a constant companion during David Gilmour’s solo tours. It was prominently featured in his “On an Island” tour (2006) and “Rattle That Lock” tour (2015-2016), among others. Gilmour mesmerized audiences with his virtuosic playing and the distinctive sound of the Black Stratocaster.
  4. Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” Performances: During Pink Floyd’s live performances of “The Wall” album, Gilmour relied on the Black Stratocaster for his unforgettable guitar solos. Notable shows include the original “The Wall” concerts in 1980-1981 and the massive “The Wall Live” tour from 2010 to 2013.
  5. Other Collaborative Performances: The Black Stratocaster has been played by Gilmour during various collaborative performances and guest appearances. Notable examples include his appearances with Roger Waters, performances at the Royal Albert Hall, and guest spots with other artists such as Paul McCartney.

These are just a few examples of the live performances where the Black Stratocaster has been showcased.