Fender Custom Shop recreates George Harrison’s famous Rocky Stratocaster

Subscribe to Mixdown Magazine

Fender Custom Shop recreates George Harrison’s famous Rocky Stratocaster

George Harrison mightn’t be the first guitarist to come to mind when you think of a Stratocaster, but the Rocky model is one that holds a special spot in the hearts of many a Beatles fan. During the recording sessions for Help! in 1965, Harrison and John Lennon purchased a pair of 1961 Sonic Blue Stratocasters for use on the album, with Harrison in particular taking quite an affinity towards the myriad of tones offered by his new guitar. 


Years later, Harrison took to his Strat with dayglo paint and decorated its body and neck with a psychedelic paint job to coincide with the height of hippy mania, which he debuted in 1967 for an international broadcasted performance of ‘All You Need Is Love’.


After using the guitar for a number of other performances with the Beatles and as a solo artist, the Rocky Stratocaster came to be known as one of Harrison’s most unique and iconic instruments, and it’s this legacy that the Fender Custom Shop aim to uphold with this new reproduction.



Crafted by acclaimed Master Builder Paul Waller, the George Harrison Rocky Stratocaster features an identical build and paint job to Harrison’s own model, with the Custom Shop being granted rare access to the original Rocky in order to ensure both the tonal and aesthetic qualities of each model was identical to the original.


On top of featuring a two-piece select alder body and rare AAAAA flame maple neck, the Custom Shop Rocky Stratocaster boasts a trio of vintage 1961 hand-wound pickups from Abigail Ybarra, the legendary pickup technician who is deemed responsible for crafting many of the brand’s best pickups from this era.


Elsewhere, the Rocky Stratocaster features a rare asymmetrical oval C-shaped neck profile with a 7.25″ radius, as well as a six-saddle synchronised tremolo, 21 vintage-style frets and a nitrocellulose lacquer finish.


However, all this toil does come with quite a hefty price-tag attached to it: if you’re keen to get your mitts on one of these Rocky Stratocasters, you best be prepared to contend with the eye-watering sum of $41,699. Suffice to say, this one’s not meant to be hauled around from gig to gig any time soon. 


“The Rocky Stratocaster has been recreated to perfectly emulate George Harrison’s signature sound and voice,” said Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Paul Waller. “A big part of owning a guitar and playing one is finding your own voice and creating your own sounds with the instrument. That’s what I call a guitar player’s voice.


“George initially customised his 1961 Stratocaster based on his musical influences in the ‘60s, such as the semitones of the sitar and the slide solos he incorporated into his solo music. That became a large part of his voice. Capturing that, and honouring that special moment in time, is what makes this guitar so important.”



Head on over to Fender for further details.