Fender has unveiled a production line replica of Nile Rodger’s Hitmaker Stratocaster. Rodgers’ Olympic White model is a Fender Stratocaster like no other, modded just how he likes it, and featuring a tone that has resonated not only with the Chic guitarist himself but with the record-buying public at large.
Rodgers’ Hitmaker Stratocaster is one of the most legendary electric guitars of all time, not to mention one of the most commercially successful. It didn’t get its nickname for nothing. Fender has done the arithmetic, and puts the value of all the songs recorded by Rodgers on the Hitmaker in the region of $2 billion. Not bad.
Of course, that’s testament to Rodgers the guitar player, who set the table for disco and funk with Chic, and become the first name out the Rolodex when any blue chip artist needed some impeccable chops, invention and tone for hire. There’s good reason why David Bowie had Rodgers in the studio for the Let Dance sessions.
The guitar, however, is pretty special too. “Everybody who’s playing a Strat, their Stats have a certain vibe,” said Rodgers. “My Strat plays … I don’t know how to explain it. I’ve bought more than 200 of these things trying to find one, and the only way I could find another one is Fender had to make it.”
This new model follows some eight years after Fender released a relic’d Custom Shop model in 2014, and is a lot more affordable. It has a solid alder body with a 1960 silhouette, a little more compact and contoured than your typical Strat of that era, finished in Olympic White.
The original Hitmaker’s Olympic White colour was an aftermarket refin by Rodgers himself, and this new model looks the part with its chrome-plated brass pickguard.
It has a custom ’59-profile neck comprised of a single piece of maple, with its 9.5” radius fingerboard topped by medium-jumbo frets. Signature appointments can be found on the headstock front and back, and the neck plate is stamped with “The Hitmaker”.
The Hitmaker Strat has a trio of custom single-coil Strat pickups – think “quack and chime” – that are controlled by dials for master volume, with tone pots for the neck pickup and middle/bridge pickups, plus the five-way blade-style selector switch. The White Speed control knobs, again, look cool, but the Hitmaker is nothing if not a perfect blend between the practical and the aesthetically pleasing.
Rodgers has no need for a vibrato and so we have a six-saddle hardtail bridge here. Further tuning solidity is on hand by way of a set of locking Sperzel tuners. The Nile Rodgers Hitmaker Stratocaster ships in a deluxe hard-shell case with an embroidered Hitmaker logo and as with all good signature guitars in its class, it comes with a certificate of authenticity.
It is available now, priced £2,449, and just think – you'll make it all back in hit records... Maybe. For more details, head over to Fender (opens in new tab).