Johnny Marr shares a closer look at his bonkers 9-pickup Fender Stratocaster

Johnny Marr
(Image credit: Johnny Marr/Instagram/YouTube)

When Johnny Marr announced his all-new double album, Fever Dreams Pts 1-4, and celebrated the news by releasing the record’s lead single, Spirit, Power And Soul, many were taken aback by the Smiths hero’s exciting new project.

However, six-string-keen individuals tuning in to witness Marr’s new outing were even more surprised by the electric guitar he employed for the song – an absurd, totally bonkers nine-pickup Fender Stratocaster.

Making its debut in the Spirit, Power And Soul music video, Marr’s eye-catching axe bamboozled viewers, striking awe and an element of intimidation into the hearts of keen guitar players around the world.

After the dust settled, there was one question on everyone’s lips: when can we see more of the nine-pickup Strat?

Now, due to “popular demand”, Marr has shared an up-close shot of his new model to social media, allowing us to gaze upon the beastly, SSSSSSSSS-configured six-string in all its glory.

Dubbed the “Spirit Strat”, Marr also took the opportunity to respond to a fan who enquired about its unorthodox pickup pairing, revealing the nine pickups “all feed into each other” to make “one giant one”.

One giant humbucker with nine coils, or nine single coils wired in series? That’s just one part of the puzzle – we’ve yet to even begin unpicking the 18 toggle switches littered across the pickguard.

Nonetheless, there are a few familiar features, including the suspected master volume and tone controls, which are a friendly sight amongst the rest of the mind-bending appointments.

It would take one truly brave soul with an incredibly impressive memory to wield such a complex-looking axe and operate the absurd switching system – one capable of executing numerous nimble-fingered mid-gig switch flicks with pinpoint accuracy.

So, are we about to see one of the wildest Fender signature guitars to ever be released? Or is Marr’s new model merely meant to be admired from afar, as opposed to wielded by mere mortals? 

Whatever the answer, the Spirit Strat should come with a disclaimer – that thing does not look safe for the faint of heart.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.