NAMM 2020: George Harrison's psychedelic Rocky Stratocaster reborn as Fender Custom Shop eyeful

Fender George Harrison Rocky
(Image credit: Future)

NAMM 2020: Fender has taken the wraps off of one of its most desirable recreations yet, the George Harrison Rocky Stratocaster Custom Shop.

The work of Master Builder Paul Waller, the Strat is the result of painstaking micro-measurement and backwards engineering. The body, neck (with a rare asymmetrical “C” profile), pickups and wiring have all been meticulously emulated. 

Harrison first acquired the original Sonic Blue Strat in early 1963, during the Beatles' Help sessions, roadie Mal Evans having been despatched to grab one each for Harrison and John Lennon.

Harrison’s guitar, serial number 83840, sported a decal from  from “Grimwoods; The music people; Maidstone and Whitstable”, and Help! was the first time a Strat had featured in the legendary band's recordings.

Sometime in 1967, Harrison painted the guitar himself, and the newly psychedelic axe's most high-profile outing was in the I Am The Walrus segment in that year's Magical Mystery Tour movie.

By December 1969 Harrison had also painted “Bebopalula” on the upper body, “Go Cat Go” on the pickguard and “Rocky” on the headstock. All of his daubings, and that original Grimwoods decal, are reproduced here. 

Fender George Harrison Rocky

(Image credit: Future)
Will Groves

I'm lucky enough to be MusicRadar's Editor-in-chief while being, by some considerable distance, the least proficient musician on the editorial team. An undeniably ropey but occasionally enthusiastic drummer, I've worked on the world's greatest music making website in one capacity or another since its launch in 2007. I hope you enjoy the site - we do.