Fender has pressed the big green button and sent its limited edition Custom Shop reproduction of Mike McCready's 1960 Stratocaster to dealers worldwide.
As signature electric guitars go, this one is at the upper end of the price scale, with $15,000 needed to prise one from your local Fender dealer. You had best be quick, too. Only 60 pieces are in existence.
Let's see what you get for your money. Firstly, you get a heavily relic'd and stunningly accurate repro of his 1960 Strat. The big story behind this guitar, which is being released to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the release of Pearl Jam's Ten, is that for nearly three decades McCready was labouring under the illusion that this was a 1959 model. He even got the year tattooed on his wrist.
McCready's equipment manager and luthier knew it was a 1960 model, but it was only when Fender Master Builder Vincent Van Trigt was putting this special replica together that he found out.
Let McCready's story be a cautionary tale for those looking to permanently mark themselves in honour of a vintage instrument – the scarred quality of one's financial position after buying the thing should be enough to remember it by.
Nonetheless, this new signature Strat sure bears testament to the restorative powers of the Fender Custom Shop.
Fender and Van Tigt has gone to town with this. Look at the guitar above and look at McCready with the original below. Its uncanny. Every effort has been made to make it feel and sound like the original.
The McCready Strat has a trio of custom Josefina hand-wound single-coil pickups to match the original, and these are connected to a five-way switch and a vintage wiring loom that includes a treble bleed tone capacitor.
It has a two-piece select alder body, with a bolt-on flat-sawn flame maple neck that's carved into a 1960 “oval C” profile and topped with a flat-lam rosewood fingerboard with 21 vintage frets.
Completing the picture you've got a three-ply vinyl pickguard, vintage-style synchronized tremolo with Callaham bridge block, vintage-style tuning machines, a bone nut, plus a wing string tree.
Inside the deluxe hardshell case you'll find a strap, polishing cloth, and a certificate of authenticity. Will we ever see an affordable McCready signature Strat? Who can say. But if you point your cursor to the Fender Custom Shop, you can metaphorically press your nose against the shop window and dream.