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A Shower of Brilliance - RT's '59 Stratocaster (Update!)
4/28/2005 (updated 4/29/2005)

Leo Fender 's Electric Guitars

are on display at the Fullerton Museum of Art through May 22, 2005.

Collection includes Richard Thompson's '59 sunburst Stratocaster,
serial #38309, with a maple '55 neck.

The 1959 Stratocaster here toured the world with British singer/songwriter Richard Thompson, but it’s traveled much farther than that. Possibly no guitarist since Jimi Hendrix (with whom a young Thompson jammed in a London club) has expanded the vocabulary of the instrument as much as Thompson, or said as much with it. As a teen, he was a founding member of Fairport Convention, which pioneered British folk-rock by electrifying centuries-old tunes. For a quarter-century since then, this Strat was Thompson’s chief electric guitar, including being the tool used for the harrowing guitar work on 1982’s Shoot Out the Lights, which Rolling Stone magazine and other pundits rate as one of the best rock albums ever. The guitar has been called on to perform Scottish hornpipe numbers, Cajun reels, Middle Eastern modalities, stomping rock tunes, experimental soundscapes, and was coaxed nightly into recon missions beyond the borders of musical imagination. As you’ve perhaps noticed, this has resulted in a bit of wear and tear on the guitar.

Thompson purchased it in 1971 on London’s Denmark Street, having used a mid-‘60s Strat before that. “When I started playing Fenders in 1968, it was unfashionable because everyone in England was playing Gibsons and trying to get a big, fat sound like Eric Clapton had in Cream. I just wanted a little more bite,” he recalls. He replaced the neck with a 1955 one after ten years because he literally wore the first one out. The original bridge was another casualty.


(text from guitar exhibit)
Fullerton Museum Center

photo presented by Strat Collector News