NAMM 2013: Fender launches Ritchie Blackmore Tribute Strat

The Strat that launched a thousand (imitation) riffs
The Strat that launched a thousand (imitation) riffs

NAMM 2013: Fender is giving guitarists the world over the chance to recreate one of the most famous riffs of all time on a guitar that's a gnat's wing away from the one Ritchie Blackmore wrote it on.

The Custom Shop Ritchie Blackmore Tribute 1969 Stratocaster Light Relic might not have the snappiest of names, but we'll forgive it, primarily because the all-black Strat is the answer to any Deep Purple loving guitarist's dreams. This guitar was built to play Smoke On The Water the right way.

For more information, visit the official Fender website.

Fender press release

Though unassuming at first glance, Ritchie Blackmore's infamous Black Fender Stratocaster guitar was the vehicle for one of the most famous riffs in the history of rock 'n' roll - "Smoke on the Water," the proverbial "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" of rock guitar.

Due to that fact, the Fender Custom Shop is extremely proud to bring the instrument to life by introducing a very special limited edition instrument, the Fender Custom Shop Ritchie Blackmore Tribute 1969 Stratocaster Light Relic® guitar. Limited to 2013 production, the guitar is a meticulously crafted replica of the all-black Fender Stratocaster Blackmore played with Deep Purple in the early '70s, including their breakthrough album Machine Head and the band's greatest hit.

While Machine Head was released in 1972, "Smoke on the Water" wasn't released as a single until May 1973. The single reached number 4 on the Billboard pop singles chart in the U.S. and was a hit propelling the album into the top 10 all over the world. Centering around a four-note arrangement, the guitar riff has become one of the most popular primary riffs guitarists attempt while learning the instrument. Though usually played incorrectly, the riff is played using "all fourths" rather than the typical power chord arrangement beginners find easy to learn. The song has been on countless lists over the last 40 years since its release, including Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time," VH1's "40 Greatest Metal Songs" and Q magazine's "100 Greatest Guitar Tracks."

Deep Purple broke out of Hertford England in the late '60s and, alongside Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, are considered pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock. The band was once listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" and have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. Deep Purple have recently been nominated for a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2013.

The Fender Custom Shop Ritchie Blackmore Tribute 1969 Stratocaster Light Relic guitar features a lightly worn Black urethane finished two-piece alder body; a '69 "U"-shape maple neck with a 7.25" radius, medium jumbo frets, Micarta nut and Schaller tuners; custom '69 Strat pickups hand-wound by legendary pickup winder Abigail Ybarra, a vintage synchronized tremolo complete with Ritchie's distinctive custom ¼" arm, and three-way switching. In addition, each Blackmore guitar includes an exclusive "Tribute" decal on the back of the headstock, four-bolt neck plate with "F" and serial number, certificate and Black Tolex case with orange lining and a "Fender Amp" logo.