George Harrison “Rocky” Stratocaster is probably one of the most copied Stratocasters. So I had to have one. This guitar started out as a Fender Sonic Blue Strat Partscaster that I built. The “Rocky” paint job done by a real pro, Rob Burger from Burger Guitars who has painted this theme thousands of times. See the entire build process and history of George Harrison’s “Rocky” Strat here.
I wanted a great playing and sounding guitar, NOT just a wall hanger. I PLAY all my guitars. No cheap parts, period correct, authentic looking and plays great.
History of “Rocky” Stratocaster
The “Rocky” Stratocaster started out as a Sonic Blue Fender Stratocaster that was purchased in England. George’s FIRST Fender guitar.
George Harrison and John Lennon decided to get Stratocasters sometime in late 1964. So they sent out roadie, Mal Evans, saying ‘Go and get us Strats.’ And he came back with two of them, pale blue ones.” Ironic that the Fender company would given them ANYTHING they wanted for free, but they still ended up purchasing their first Fenders!
These Stratocasters were used extensively on the album the Beatles were making at the time, Rubber Soul. Most notably on the song Nowhere Man which John and George played the solo in unison.
“Rocky” was born!
According to George “everything was more colorful in the 1960s” so he ended up painting the guitar with Day-Glo paint (new at the time) with a brush. He also used some of his first wife’s, Patti Boyd (later, Layla) nail vanish and naming the guitar “Rocky.” George did not think it was a great paint job and surely had no idea just how iconic it would become.
George never parted with his first Stratocaster. It remains today in the possession of his family, and is the most colorful guitar in the George Harrison collection. Basically it is priceless.
“If I’d had my way, the Strat would have been my first guitar,” Harrison said. “I’d seen Buddy Holly’s Strat … on the Chirping Crickets album cover, and tried to find one. But in Liverpool in those days the only thing I could find resembling a Strat was a Futurama. It was very difficult to play, (the strings were) about half an inch off the fingerboard … but nevertheless it did look kind of futuristic.”
Custom “Rocky” Strat specs:
- Sonic Blue Fender MIJ (Made in Japan) relic body
- Custom Musikraft old style Fender licensed neck
- 25.5 Standard Fender Scale with 21 Frets
- Nut Width: 1-11/16 (42.85mm) with Slotted Bone Nut
- Drilled for 11/32 Vintage Kluson Style Tuners
- Vintage Single Acting Adjust @ Heel Truss Rod
- Birdseye Premium
- Rosewood Slab with 9-1/2 Radius and Medium 6105 Nickel Silver
- Real Aged Clay Dots
- 12th Dots: Wide – Pre ’64
- Real Aged Clay Side Dots 2mm
- Semi Rolled Edges and Medium C .83 X .92 Back Profile
- Aged Kluson Tuners
- Custom neck plate with serial number 83840 to match George’s Rocky
- Fender ’57/’62 Stratocaster pickup set, 5-way switch, Fender wiring and pots
- Fender Mint pickguard
Side-by-side comparison with “real” Rocky Strat.
George Harrison playing the “Rocky” Guitar
The George Harrison Guitar Collection