That was the year: 1988

Mark Knopfler performs at a concert for Nelson Mandela, circa 1988 © Neal Preston/CORBIS

Another trip back into the GT archives, this time to see what was going on in the world of guitars, music and world events in the late '80s...


PRS introduces their Classic Electric (CE Bolt-On) Guitar with alder body, maple neck with 24 frets and dot inlays, PRS Vintage pickups with volume and tone controls and a three-way rotary toggle selector. It captures the imagination and with various tweaks along the way will remain in production.

Premier Mikhail Gorbachev initiates the Perestroika program of economic restructuring of the Soviet Union; a massive concert held in Wembley Stadium celebrates the 70th birthday of the imprisoned Nelson Mandela and reawakens awareness of his plight; the first transatlantic telephone cable using optical fibres is completed and Microsoft releases Windows 2.1.

New bands to emerge include The Traveling Wilburys, Nine Inch Nails, The Smashing Pumpkins, Deftones, Barenaked Ladies, Massive Attack, Mr Big, Bad English with Neal Schon and John Waite, and Seymour (who later change their name to Blur). The Cars disband, Fish leaves Marillion and Bon Jovi takes a break.

Ibanez reveals their amazing new Jem77 FP Floral Pattern finish on a basswood body with matching headstock. The rosewood board features a red stemmed and green leafed Tree Of Life inlay and the HSH arrangement of pickups are pink in colour and made by Dimarzio. It also features an EDGE Trem and Top Lok III and is the instrument of choice for Steve Vai.

Nurses strike for higher pay and more cash for the NHS; ferry workers strike; the BBC's first Red Nose Day raises £15 million for charity; and Margaret Thatcher becomes the longest serving British prime minister of the century.

New arrivals include Rihanna, Adele, Alexandra Burke, Aston Merrygold (JLS), Leon Jackson and the ginger wizard, Rupert Grint. Departing this world are fourth Gibb brother Andy, Son House, Roy Orbison, Nico, Billy Daniels and comedy actors Roy Kinnear, Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey. Ferrari automobile founder Enzo Ferrari dies aged 90.

Two people are crushed to death during the Guns N' Roses set at the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington; Depeche Mode play to 80,000 at the Rose Bowl stadium LA; Canadian singer Celine Dion represents Switzerland in the Eurovision Song Contest held in Dublin and wins.

Hamer launches The Californian guitar with a double cut mahogany body, hockey stick headstock, 27 fret rosewood fingerboard, slanted single-coil and humbucker pickups and a Floyd Rose vibrato. A set-neck Custom model with Seymour Duncan pickups is also available.

Big selling albums from Pink Floyd (Delicate Sound Of Thunder), Robert Plant (Now And Zen), Van Halen (OU812), U2 (Rattle And Hum), Iron Maiden (Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son), Eric Clapton (Crossroads), The Beatles (Past Masters 1 and 2) and AC/DC (Blow Up Your Video).