Fender has announced it will release a limited-edition Custom Shop Stratocaster designed in collaboration with Who guitarist Pete Townshend.
The model is based on the modified Eric Clapton Signature Stratocasters that Townshend has used on tour since the late Eighties. Townshend’s mods include a Fishman Powerbridge piezo system to help him recreate the acoustic guitar sounds so integral to much of the Who’s material, as well as a blend knob to balance the levels between the acoustic and electric signals.
The Pete Townshend Signature Strat features a set of three Lace Sensor Gold single-coil pickups and standard Strat specs, including a maple fretboard and a soft V neck profile.
In a new video announcing the guitar, Townshend explains that he’s been a fan of Stratocasters since childhood, when he saw the U.K. guitar instrumental group the Shadows perform. Shadows guitarists Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch were both Strat players.
“I just remember thinking it’s a perfectly proportioned, beautifully balanced design in every respect,” Townshend says. “And then when you pick one up to hold it, you know that thing about it being contoured to the body? It really is.”
Regarding his modifications, Townshend says that when he mixes the piezo pickup signal with the other pickups, “you get this singing, you get extra harmonics,” he says. “So I can have kind of a dirty Pete Townshend kind of sound…but with this kind of zing in it.”
Fender’s Custom Shop is producing just 75 Townshend Stratocasters. The guitars will ship to select instrument dealers starting in September or October.
For more information, watch the video below, and visit the FenderCustomShop.com.