Syd Barrett’s Selmer Futurama III

This was Syd’s first electric guitar which he bought for £25 sometime in the early 60s – probably around 1961. This guitar came about a year after Syd bought his first acoustic guitar, which was a Hofner, and about the same time he formed his first band called Geoff Mott and The Mottoes.

Since there are no photos of Syd playing this guitar, everything that follows is based on pure speculation, and on the guess that the guitar was made sometime between 1959 and 1961.

Syd’s Hofner Futurama was at that time the closest you were able to come to a Fender Stratocaster on a small budget. The guitar was made in Czechoslovakia and imported to the UK starting in 1959 and was often advertised as “the most advanced guitar on the market” – an easy claim to make considering the low amount of competitors on the UK market at the time.

As far as the specs, the guitar was equipped with three single-coil pickups and a tremolo. It was most likely finished in sunburst, since most Futurama guitars at that time were, and it featured a maple neck with a Strat-shaped headstock.

Our guess is that Syd sold this guitar before leaving for London in the summer of 1964 to study painting at Camberwell College of Arts. There is some debate going on whether the guitar was Futurama II or III model, but we tend to believe Roger Waters who said that Syd played the latter.


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