David Gilmour’s 1983 Fender Elite Stratocaster

This is one of the guitars that David hand-picked while trying out a bunch of Fenders at their UK warehouse in Enfield, Middlesex. Compared to the other guitar, this guitar didn’t see much stage light and was primarily carried as a backup during the 1984 About Face tour (if you happen to come across any footage of David using the guitar, please post it in the comments). From that point on, it remained in the studio.

From the factory, the guitar came equipped with three Alnico 5 single-coil pickups with solid plastic covers and an internal dummy coil for hum cancellation – which David seems to have kept. It also came with a Freeflyte tremolo system, which David replaced at some point in the late 80s with a Kahler 2300 series locking tremolo. At the same time, he replaced the original neck with a Charvel-made 22-fret flame maple neck.

Everything I used on this tour was brand new. I used a Vintage Series Strat on stage. I didn’t want to take the old ones on the road. They get damaged and stolen too regularly. I tried out between thirty and forty guitars and picked a couple of good ones, as they do vary enormously. The red Strat is out of the box. The black one has the bottom string tuned down to D and uses a Kahler tremolo system.

David Gilmour – Guitar for the Practicing Musician, 1985

The guitar was sold in 2019 through Christie’s auction house for $112,500.


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