Ritchie Blackmore’s first Strat was bought from Eric Clapton’s roadie for £60

Ritchie Blackmore’s first Strat was bought from Eric Clapton’s roadie for £60

Ritchie Blackmore’s First Strat

Ritchie Blackmore, the iconic guitarist known for his work with Deep Purple and Rainbow, has a long-standing relationship with the Fender Stratocaster. However, this connection might never have happened if it weren’t for a chance encounter involving Eric Clapton.

In a recent interview with Guitar World, Blackmore recounted how his journey with the Stratocaster began in 1969. At the time, he was living in Acton, London, with his Deep Purple bandmates. One day, Clapton’s roadie visited their house, bringing along a Stratocaster.

Before this, Blackmore primarily played a Gibson ES-335, which can be heard on Deep Purple’s 1969 track “Emmaretta.” However, the neck of his Gibson began to bow, prompting him to seek a new guitar. The roadie offered to sell Clapton’s old Strat for £60, a deal Blackmore quickly accepted.

Considering inflation, £60 in 1969 is roughly equivalent to £842 or $1,075 today. Despite the modest price, this purchase marked a significant turning point in Blackmore’s career. He described this moment as his “initiation into playing a Strat.”

Blackmore’s collection of guitars has since expanded, but the Stratocaster he bought from Clapton’s roadie holds a special place in his heart. This guitar played a crucial role in shaping his sound and style, which became synonymous with Deep Purple’s iconic albums like “In Rock” and “Machine Head.”

Even today, Blackmore’s Stratocasters are not just relics of the past. They feature prominently in his current band, Blackmore’s Night. Tracks like “The Last Musketeer” from their 2021 album “Nature’s Light” showcase the unique tones that only a Stratocaster can produce.

Blackmore’s journey with the Stratocaster began with a simple transaction, but it had a profound impact on his musical trajectory. The guitar he bought for £60 became a cornerstone of his sound, influencing countless musicians and solidifying his place in rock history.

Reflecting on this pivotal moment, Blackmore acknowledges that his career might have taken a different path if not for that fateful encounter. The Stratocaster he bought from Clapton’s roadie was more than just an instrument; it was a catalyst for his evolution as a guitarist.

Over the years, Blackmore has continued to innovate and experiment with his Stratocasters. His modifications, such as scalloped fretboards, have become trademarks of his unique style. These customizations have been replicated in signature models released by Fender, allowing fans to experience a piece of Blackmore’s legacy.

One of the most notable guitars in Blackmore’s collection is his 1974 Fender Stratocaster. This guitar, with its scalloped fretboard and distinctive look, became his go-to instrument during the recording sessions for Rainbow’s 1976 album “Rising.” It remains a key part of his arsenal, used both in the studio and on stage.

Another significant Stratocaster in Blackmore’s collection is the 1968 model he acquired shortly after his first Strat. This guitar was instrumental in creating some of Deep Purple’s most iconic tracks, including the legendary riff for “Smoke on the Water.” It even survived the infamous Montreux Casino fire that inspired the song.

Blackmore’s dedication to the Stratocaster is evident in his meticulous care and customization of his instruments. His signature models, produced by Fender, capture the essence of his unique sound and style, allowing fans to connect with his musical legacy.

In conclusion, Ritchie Blackmore’s first Stratocaster, bought from Eric Clapton’s roadie for £60, was more than just a guitar. It was a turning point in his career, shaping his sound and influencing generations of musicians. This humble purchase became a cornerstone of his musical journey, solidifying his place as one of the most iconic guitarists in rock history.

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