Go Inside the Creation of the Fender Custom Shop's George Harrison "Rocky" Stratocaster

(Image credit: Fender)

Every January, 'round about NAMM time, the Fender Custom Shop treats guitar nerds to a bonanza of mouth-watering, bold new creations that often set the guitar universe abuzz with excitement.

This year, Fender didn't disappoint, with a head-turning lineup of custom instruments headlined by the George Harrison "Rocky" Stratocaster, a far-out, exacting replica of one of the Beatle's all-time favorite, most oft-used guitars.

For the build, Fender Master Builder Paul Waller examined the original "Rocky" in exacting detail and recreated the body, neck - which features a rare asymmetrical “C” profile - pickups, wiring and even Harrison’s famous paint job to the letter. 

You can get an inside look at the fascinating build process in the new mini-documentary below.

First acquired for Harrison by Beatles roadie Mal Evans during the 1965 sessions for Help!, "Rocky" was originally a '61 Strat with a Sonic Blue finish. In 1967 however, Harrison decided to give the guitar a psychedelic uplift.

“During ’67, everybody started painting everything, and I decided to paint it," Harrison said when discussing the guitar in an interview. "I got some Day-Glo paint, which was quite a new invention in them days, and just sat up late one night and did it.” 

Harrison would go on to use the guitar for the remainder of The Beatles', and his own, career, further marking the guitar as his own by painting “Bebopalula” on the upper body, “Go Cat Go” on the pickguard and “Rocky” on the headstock in 1969.

The Fender George Harrison "Rocky" Stratocaster is available now - in a limited run of 100, and featuring single coils hand-wound by now-retired Fender pickup legend Abigail Ybarra - for an even $25,000.

For more info on the guitar, stop by fendercustomshop.com.

Jackson Maxwell
Associate Editor, GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.