With only 40 available worldwide, the Last Waltz Strat is going to lead the way in Custom Shop’s most prestigious instruments to date. Luthier extraordinaire Todd Krause has taken the iconic bronze axe of The Band’s Robbie Robertson, and studied it relentlessly to recreate this one of a kind beauty.
Robbie took his old ’58 Strat and modified it to suit his personal tastes, whilst suiting his individual playing style. The most notable feature of this guitar is it’s body finish, which was controversially obtained by dipping into liquid bronze. This resulted in a thin bronze skin, allowing the wood grain to show through without tarnishing the guitars tone in any way.
Many consider Robbie’s Strat to be one of the first “HS” Strats, which was thought up entirely by himself. He often found that the middle pick up got in the way of his picking, which is why he usually opted for a Telecaster. He removed the middle pickup and swapped it out for a left-handed single-coil, then re-positioned it next to the bridge pickup. This in turn acted as a humbucker, and resulted in the popular “HS” pickup configuration.
The guitar was famously pictured in Martin Scorsese’s rockumentary “The Last Waltz”, which is largely considered one of the greatest concert films of all time. The film was dubbed as the The Band’s last ever show, and featured dozens of high profile musical guests. Two years later, the Scorsese directed documentary was released, capturing all of the concerts magic with interviews and added studio footage.
Fender Masterbuilder Todd Krause has recreated this iconic Strat, and built a replica to match it as it was in the “The Last Waltz”. Every element has been replicated as accurately as humanly possible, be it the wear beneath the neck, or the tone capacitors and knobs to the same tension as the original.
New for Spring 2017, the limited BFR model is now equipped with a mahogany tone block, an exquisite AAA figured maple top, a butter-like roasted birdseye maple neck and Luke’s staple on-board 20bd boost. Each guitar ships with a signed backplate by Mr. Lukather himself, as well as a hand-signed certificate of authenticity.
Steve Lukather is arguably one of the most renowned session guitar players on the planet. Whilst also being at the focal point of rock outfit Toto, he’s contributed to more than 1,500 albums with the likes of Michael Jackson, Earth Wind & Fire, Elton John and Ringo Starr. Many will argue that he’s often overlooked as one of the best, but his abilities on the guitar are extraordinary, not to mention his vocal and songwriting capabilities.
For the last 20 years or so Music Man have worked with Steve, resulting in his line of ‘Luke’ signature models – which have been a constant in his arsenal since the first release. The Luke III is the latest and greatest of his signature models, most of the appointments staying the same – but with a set of Custom DiMarzio pickups replacing the EMG HSS setup.
Every once in a while a guitar is announced that gets the whole industry talking. Whether it’s a reissue of a common favourite, something that a company hasn’t done before, or most commonly a signature model for a big name player. The man in question has gone from a choice pick amongst blues enthusiasts, to a stadium filling, household heart-throb. When John Mayer made the big switch from Fender to PRS, everyone’s first question was, “what signature model are they going to release?”. After a few rumours and leaked prototypes, the Super Eagle was born – and none could have predicted its magnificence.
“Just like with the first edition Super Eagle, you’re literally getting the same guitar that is in John’s rig. It’s been an honour to help create a tool that John can use to work with Dead & Company and beyond.” – Paul Reed Smith
Fast forward a year, and the first edition of the Super Eagle has passed into folklore. Lots of questions were asked if Mayer had the status to warrant an £11,000 signature instrument, but its outstanding sales slapped the faces of every single naysayer. The beauty of the Super Eagle is that it’s exactly what John uses onstage, and has used for the majority of rock outfit Dead & Company’s 2016 and 2017 world tour. All of his specifications and requirements were met by Paul Reed Smith, and after much deliberation it was time to introduce phase two.The Super Eagle II is very closely modelled on its predecessor, with a few notable tweaks and changes to set it aside from the original. The scale length measures in at a longer 25.375″, and is loaded with specially-wound 58/15 JM Treble & Bass pickups with a Narrowfield JM pickup in the middle position. The back of the guitar is a gorgeous once piece, Private Stock slab of curly maple which is truly a sight to behold. African Blackwood replaces Brazilian Rosewood for the fretboard and headstock veneer, and paua birds and green ripple abalone are used for the inlays. To round-up a truly phenomenal instrument, the Super Eagle II is finished in a sophisticated and unique Hemp Green finish.
This guitar is testament to PRS’ exceptional quality, and pushes the boundaries on artistry, design and materials. The level of detail achieved by both PRS and John Mayer, highlight both their determination to achieve unparalleled tone, playability and detail.