It’s always a magnificent moment when art and science come together to form a greater entity, and today I’m going to share with you the story of such magnificence in the being of my new Black Strat — the David Gilmour of Pink Floyd famous Black Strat — that I just purchased from Troy Benns at Wildwood Guitars.  The beauty to be held is down below.


David Gilmour is one of our greatest guitarists. 


He knows how to make his black Stratocaster bend a mood and blend beliefs into a whole new way of interacting with the world. 

That is the mark of a great musician and the brand of a red-hot mystical talent: Gilmour leaves us greater than he found us.

You would think a guitar is just a guitar.  It’s just a cobbling
together of wood and hardware and electronics and that each one made is
no different than the one that came before it.

I have learned,
thanks to the intervention of Troy Benns, that not all guitars are
created equal. 

There are both subtle and drastic differences between
identically crafted guitars that the eye rarely catches but that a trained ear and hand can always
discern.

When I decided to buy my David Gilmour Fender Black Strat — the standard NOS version, not the relic’ed one that replicates David’s actual guitar — Troy offered to play the Gilmour Strats he had in stock at Wildwood to find a “Killer” one for me.  

It was then I understood the value of having your own Guitar Guy on your side and on scene.  Troy could do what my eyes on the Wildwood website could not:  Hear the tone and feel the vibration of the various Black Strats in stock.

Troy chose a killer Black Strat for me, and when it arrived yesterday, I was awestruck.  Here’s part of the email I shot off to Troy:

The Gilmour arrived today, Troy.

I am shocked and stunned.

Can’t stop playing it. It looks, feels and sounds absolutely eerie. That’s precisely what guitar should do: Transform you.

You not only picked a killer Gilmour for me, you found a divine one. I was toodling around with it right out of the case and I said out loud to myself, “This sounds so fantastic and loud.” Then, I realized… the guitar wasn’t plugged in! This guitar is so well-made AND LOUD it sings in the essence of its wood like an acoustic without amplification! It is soooooooo easy to play. Shocking!

I should buy two of these Gilmours because this one is just that good — but I know I’d be tempting The Gods to try to replicate my luck with this one. The difference between this Black Strat and my Custom Shop Clapton is huge. In every way — playability, case candy value, neck, body, pups, string, action — the Gilmour stuns the Clapton out of the water. Shocking! I now have a new all-time favorite guitar and I’ve played it less than half a day.

Yes, I was hyperbolic and breathless — I still am! — but wait… I wasn’t done.  Here’s part of the follow up reply I sent to Troy a few hours later in the day:

The guitar amazes. It’s like it controls me and teaches me how to
play it. Shocking. The EJ [Eric Johnson] strat you sold me [last week] is very close for that
kind of directed musicianship, but the Gilmour is truly something out
of this world. Scary good. I thank you again and again for taking
the time to find the right one for me and them embedding bits of your
talent in the wood.

So there you have it: My Gilmour Black Start plays me instead of me playing it — and that is an experience few people in the world are ever able to live once — let alone along a lifetime of plucking strings that vibrate wood.

I’m grateful to Troy Benns for taking extra time and effort to find me the right guitar and I also thank Fender and David Gilmour for letting us ordinary mortals in on the secrets of The Black Strat.

I have now learned to tell Troy what guitar I want and then let his hands and ears do the choosing for me. 

The proof is in the playing and with my Black Strat there’s no stopping the promise of greatness the guitar offers me in my own hands.  This David Gilmour Strat is my blessing in black.

24 Comments

  1. Another bravo for you, David. The guitar sounds impressive. I am a Pink Floyd longtime fan for sure. It’s good you got such a great stratocaster.

    1. Hi David,
      Thanks so much for your review both of the Gilmour NOS stratocaster and of Troy/Wildwood Guitars. I was so impressed by what you wrote that I mirrored your footsteps (emailed Troy, got the deal I wanted) and just went down to Louisville (50 minute trip) to meet Steve and play the strat that Troy picked out for me. You were “right as rain”, and my new guitar will be set up by their tech on Monday, and in my hands on Tuesday:) Can’t wait…but wanted to thank you first! Jon

      1. Hi Jon!

        Welcome to Scientific Aesthetic and thanks for your excellent comment!

        I’m so glad you were able to mirror my excellent experience with Troy at Wildwood.

        Please come back and give us a full review of your guitar when you have it in hand and have played it a bit!

        1. Hi David,

          Thought I’d keep you up to speed on my new D.G. strat…in a word it’s “incredible”! Not only does it have an incredible appearance, but more importantly it has wonderful action (low but absolutely no string buzz) and the the tone is what I had hoped for (thank you Troy)! Got a chance to meet Steve, the owner of Wildwood, and visiting he and his store (crammed full of vintage guitars) in person was something any guitar player would treasure. The only hard thing is to settle on buying any one guitar:)

          This is a guitar I already look forward to playing for years to come…thanks for the heads up David.

          As always,
          Jon

          1. Hi Jon!

            Thanks for popping back in with your update! I’m thrilled to learn you like the guitar. It will definitely serve you well. You pick it up and start playing, and you get that gorgeous Gilmour sound every time. I’m glad the action is low and fast. That always helps!

            I’m jealous you got to meet the Wildwood bunch in person! Luck you! SMILE!

            You’re right that settling on a single guitar is tough. I think I have like 10 around me now, and I’m not done yet! Heh!

            Have you decided on a strings set yet? Will you go with the Gilmour Blue? Or the DR Pure Blues? Or something else? I’ve reviewed all those strings on my Boles Blues blog, so head over there for more information if you’re looking for some inspiration.

            Be sure to keep coming back to give us status updates on your guitar. Your connection to it will only grow better and deeper over time.

  2. An all black guitar is something curious and special, Gordon. I love black guitars because they’re mean and they have depth of being that challenges you to match their measure when you choose to pick one to play. As for me playing — sharing the sound of this Black Strat would be wondrous — but my talent is not yet up to my own expectation.

  3. The guitar has such a “come hither” look David, that even a person like me who doesnt know how to play…wants to hold it…
    it’s just the “musical” me speaking I guess.
    Sometimes the moment you see an instrument you automatically know the sound will be fabulous…this guitar looks like one.

  4. Having the right instrument is so important, Katha. Going for a cheap guitar that doesn’t play well can really damage an amateur’s aspirations and forward progress. That’s why I always recommend parents buy an excellent quality instrument for their kids because the difference in tone and focus of intention is better in a higher priced instrument and the child will likely stay on the musical path longer if the sound is right. If things turn bad — then the resale value for a better instrument will be in play instead of trying to get rid of a cheap instrument that no one wants to buy second hand.

  5. I agree.
    I am just curious – can you customize it? Would love to hear the sound of it…
    Guitar is one of favorite instruments – there is something in the tone that I find fascinating.

  6. It’s a great guitar, Katha. There are two versions: A “road worn” version that mimics David Gilmour’ exact guitar in look, wear, and feel — it’s “beat up” looking — and a cheaper NOS (New Old Stock) version that I have that is “un-relic’ed” and looks brand new.
    Yes, you can certainly customize the guitar but with these Artist Series guitars from Fender you are buying a guitar with the same sound and set up the artists uses. Play with a Gilmour guitar and you sound — without having to do anything extra — just like you’re the guitar player in Pink Floyd.
    That said… Gilmour is only Gilmour and the rest of us are pretenders… but here’s a YouTube video of a guy using the NOS version:


    Here’s the official Fender website that celebrates the guitar:
    http://www.fender.com/gilmour/home.php

  7. Wow, David, thanks! What a fascinating sound – love it!
    I dont think one can come out without buying anything after having a look at the website…

  8. The sound is certainly unique and magnificent, Katha. It’s so special that you really can’t reproduce it in another guitar without using external pedals to help form the sound and create the tone.
    You’re right that the Fender website dedicated to David Gilmour is beautiful, entrancing, and fantastic. It is also convincing and not all Fender artists get that sort of dedicated experience treatment — which tells you how much Fender is beholden to, and in love with, Mr. Gilmour.

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