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Fender's first ever widely available signature model, the Eric Clapton Stratocaster, went into production in '88.
After retiring his famouse Blackie Strat in '87, Clapton spoke to Fender about a new guitar. His Signature Strat featured a deep V neck, Lace Sensor pickups and a mid-boost circuit, and the Clapton Strat was an instant hit, paving the way for the hundreds of signature models that have followed since.
In fact, in the same year Fender followed with another signature model, the Yngwie Malmsteen Stratocaster, which featured Malmsteen's famed scallopedfingerboard.