This one is one of the most famous David Gilmours Stratocasters.
History Behind "0001"
Although stamped with the #0001 serial number, it’s not the first ever-made Stratocaster. The unusual colour and the gold hardware indicate that it might be a showpiece made for a special occasion or for an employee.
David explained to Guitarist in 1986 how he got his hands on the guitar:
Eventually Phil wanted to borrow some money to buy a house, so I blackmailed him! I said the only way I’d lend him the money to buy the house, was if he sold me the white Strat…
This must have been sometime around 1976-77. Apparently, the guitar had originally belonged to Leo Fender who gave (or sold) it to Seymour Duncan. Duncan later sold it to Phil in the mid 70’s for $900.
The alternate theory about the guitar’s origins
There was some discussion about the #0001 Strat’s origins in 2004 on the Seymour Duncan forum that seemed to stir up some controversy. According to Seymour Duncan, there were two guitars with the #0001 serial number and David’s guitar is a “frankenstein” consisting of several different parts. Apparently, in 1976 a guy named Richard Green wanted Duncan to repair his 1957 Strat. Duncan shipped the body to Charvel but it was too worn and full of scratches and it was replaced by a random, similar body and sprayed see-through root beer. The neck went to repairman Phil Kubicki, who refinished it and Duncan fitted the neck to the “new” body and returned it to Richard Green. The guitar had a #0001 serial number on the neckplate. Later, Seymour got the original body at Charvel’s, slapped on a random 1957 neck that he’d bought from Phil Kubicki, wounded new 1960’s replica pickups and sold it to Phil Taylor. This guitar also had a #0001 serial number on the neckplate.
So to sum it up, according to Seymour Duncan, David’s #0001 Stratocaster has a 1957 light mint green ash body and a 1957 neck, from to two separate guitars, and the pickups are custom ‘60s Duncans. Seymour also insists that he actually didn’t sell it to Taylor but to Alan Rogan (Pete Towsend’s long time guitar tech), who then sold it to Phil. The neck could have been a 1954 but Seymour remembers that it had a ’57 neck with cigarette burns just above the nut, which David’s indeed has.
Whether or not this is the true story of David’s guitar or not is not for me to decide. There are very few sources and although Seymour Duncan might have a good memory, there are some holes in his “theory”, not least because David Meads examination of the guitar in 1995 reveals strong evidence of it being a genuine 1954 model. Phil Taylor also seems to deny the theory insisting on that Seymour is confusing the “frankenstein” with another guitar.
One can also raise the question, why did Seymour only want $900 for it when he sold it to Taylor if it indeed was the #0001 Strat? Was it a symbolical price between friends or the fact that the vintage guitars phenomenon wasn’t an issue at the time? If one look at it the other way, baring in mind that Seymour knew it was a “fake” then why did he sell it for $900, which in those days was a bit too much for a seemingly ordinary guitar made up from different bits and pieces?
Nevertheless, David’s #0001 is a unique guitar in it self and while many collectors keep their items behind glass or in storage, David uses the Strat frequently and even more so during the last couple of years. The guitar was last featured on a photo session by Ross Halfin in 2006.