Paul Kossoff’s 1957 Fender Stratocaster

Paul owned a white Fender Stratocaster in the 70s. The guitar was seen during the music video for the song “My Brother Jake” filmed in 1970,  and later on on the cover of Kossoff’s first solo album “Back Street Crawler”.

At the time of Paul owning it, the guitar was finished in white and featured a maple neck and three single-coil pickups.

Back Street Crawler - Paul Kossoff
Back Street Crawler – Paul Kossoff (released in 1973)

Gone to Dave Murray

After Paul’s death, his Strat somehow ended up on sale through an English magazine called Melody Maker. It attracted the attention of Dave Murray, who at the time was about to be auditioned for Iron Maiden. He paid around $1,400 for the guitar and went on to record most of the early stuff he did with Iron Maiden using it as his main axe.

It used to belong to Paul Kossoff of Free. I bought it in 1976, a year after he died. I saw it advertised in an English magazine called Melody Maker, and I went down and checked it out. I got the serial numbers to make sure that it was his guitar!

I paid about $1,400 for it, which in 1976 was quite a bit of money. But I didn’t care. I just sold everything I had so I could get it. And I used it from then on. It just felt like I was holding a piece of magic because he used this guitar

Dave Murray – original source needed

Even though Dave checked the serial numbers for the accuracy of the previous ownership, the guitar somehow didn’t feature a white finish anymore but was painted black.

Also, the body was allegedly dated to the early 60s. This would mean that Kossoff actually had a Parts-caster, or that someone swapped the bodies from a white to a black one at some point. Since Dave doesn’t seem to mention or explain anywhere whether he did this, or whether the guitar was already like that when he got it, we’re left to speculate.

A theory that could potentially explain why this guitar features parts from a couple of different models, is that Paul Kossoff could’ve acquired it from Eric Clapton. Eric bought a couple of Stratocasters in the early 1970s and used what he thought were the best parts of each guitar to assemble his ultimate guitar, now famously known as “Blackie”.

Since Paul was affiliated with Clapton, he could’ve ended up with a guitar that was assembled from the remaining parts, but it is commonly agreed upon that all the guitars that Clapton bought that day were mid to late-50s models. Since we know that Paul’s Strat allegedly featured a body made in the 1960s, this theory doesn’t really hold water.

Mods, Pickups

All the electronic mods present on the guitar right now were done by Dave himself. He installed a DiMarzio PAF humbucker in the neck, left the original Strat single-coil in the middle, and put a DiMarzio Super Distortion in the bridge position.

Paul Kossoff/Dave Murray Stratocaster

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