Fender releases George Harrison ‘Rocky’ Stratocaster replica

George Harrison “Rocky” Stratocaster
(Image credit: Fender)

Following its announcement at NAMM 2020, Fender has now officially released its faithful recreation of George Harrison’s ‘Rocky’ Stratocaster, as made famous by its appearance in The Beatles’ 1967 Magical Mystery Tour film.

Harrison’s guitar was originally a Sonic Blue Strat, purchased in 1965 and still bearing the decal from the music store it came from: ‘Grimwoods; The music people; Maidstone and Whitstable’.

In 1967, Harrison gave the guitar its dayglo paint job, and by December 1969, he had painted ‘Bebopalula’ on the body, ‘Go Cat Go’ on the pickguard’ and ‘Rocky’ on the headstock.

As you can see below, the original finish remains for the most part on the rear of the guitar.

In creating this new model, Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Paul Waller examined and measured the original guitar and its pickups to create a meticulous replica, right down to the ‘Grimwoods’ decal.

Other noteworthy specs include 21 vintage-style frets, a vintage-style Synchronized tremolo, nitrocellulose lacquer finish, a two-piece select Alder body and rare 5A Flame Maple neck with a 1960 Oval “C” shape and 7.25” (194.1 mm) radius.

Fender has also released a video that goes in-depth on the making of what Waller calls “one of the more difficult” replicas to come out of the Custom Shop.

Just 100 ‘Rocky’ Stratocasters will be released, and feature single coils hand-wound by now-retired Fender pickup legend Abigail Ybarra, who was hand-winding around the time Harrison’s 1961 original Strat was released.

This meticulous attention to detail comes at a price, of course: the George Harrison ‘Rocky’ Stratocaster costs $25,000/£23,099, and is available from today.

See Fender for more info.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.