by Jef | 5,0 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 3 Minutes
Fender George Harrison’s Rocky Stratocaster- Should you invest?

Fender George Harrison’s Rocky Stratocaster- Should you invest?  ·  Source: Fender

Fender George Harrison Rocky Stratocaster

Fender George Harrison Rocky Stratocaster  ·  Source: Fender


In 1967, George Harrison stayed up late one night, grabbed some day-glow paint and nail polish and re-decorated his Fender Stratocaster in a ferociously psychedelic colour scheme. That guitar later featured in famous Beatles videos and telecasts, becoming an iconic guitar in its own right. At NAMM 2020, Fender displayed a recreation of Rocky, as the guitar was nicknamed. Rocky is now being offered in a limited Custom Shop run that’s retailing for – hold on to your hats – €26,000! Can it possibly be worth that kind of asking price? Let’s take a closer look. 


Fender George Harrison’s “Rocky” Stratocaster

Fender first unveiled this model during Winter NAMM. The announcement got a lot of people excited, as it’s one of the more famous guitars in rock history. “The Rocky Stratocaster has been recreated to perfectly emulate George Harrison’s signature sound and voice,” says Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Paul Waller in the Fender press release.

Back in 1967, George Harrison took a brush and some day-glow paint and went to town on his 1961 Fender Stratocaster. The result was Rocky, a Strat that has become nearly as famous to guitar players as his all-Rosewood Telecaster. If you’re a Beatles fan you will more than likely be aware of this brightly coloured guitar. It featured in the live worldwide telecast of “All You Need is Love” in June 1967, as well as the “I Am the Walrus” segment of Magical Mystery Tour.

With that kind of history, this is likely so be a sought-after guitar. Now factor in the small production run as part of Fender’s Dream Factory Series, meaning it will only ever be available in this run of 100 guitars released worldwide. The result will no doubt be a highly collectable instrument.

Recreation of George Harrison’s “Rocky” Stratocaster in the making

Recreation of George Harrison’s “Rocky” Stratocaster in the making

The Price!

Which brings us to… the price. It’s in the ballpark of $25,000! I’m not going to mince my words: I think this guitar is hellishly overpriced. Even if I had a few million kicking around, I wouldn’t be tempted. Yes, I get that the rarity value is driven by the small production run of the guitar, but even then it doesn’t quite add up.

The formula here seems to be as follows: take a 1961 reissue Custom Shop Stratocaster template, match it to some measurements taken from the original and adjust as needed. Then recreate a haphazard paint job, which doesn’t look very complex.


Now add some pickups hand-wound by Abigail Ybarra. Sprinkle on some Grimshaw decals to match those on the original, added by the dealer who sold the original guitar. Does that add up to $25,000? Whatever way you stack it, it looks like there’s a lot of profit in this run of guitars.

Master Built George Harrison “Rocky” Stratocaster with Master Builder Paul Waller

Master Built George Harrison “Rocky” Stratocaster with Master Builder Paul Waller

Should you invest?

I am sure that this guitar will be exceedingly collectable. Yes, it recreates George’s famous one-of-a-kind acid-fuelled creation. But as a guitar to play, this package doesn’t makes a lot of sense to me. As far as I can see, there’s not much more than a paint job and some nice pickups on a vintage specified Strat on offer here. But there is high chance that these will sell out quickly and become highly sought after by collectors. If you like to invest in musical instruments, this could be a guitar to take a punt on.

RRP: GBP 23099 / EUR 26549

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  • Recreation of George Harrison’s “Rocky” Stratocaster in the making : Fender
  • Master Built George Harrison “Rocky” Stratocaster with Master Builder Paul Waller: Fender
Fender George Harrison Rocky Stratocaster

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3 responses to “Fender George Harrison Rocky Stratocaster to cost €26,000 – should you invest?”

    Per-Anders Karlsson says:

    This guitar is a lot more famous than the Rosewood Telecaster. George called the Rosewood Telecaster his least favourie Beatles guitar. He Said it sounded to bright and was to heavy. Another time he Said it sounded horrible. George have away the Rosewood Telecaster to Delany Bramlet the same year he got it (1969). And since I have never seen George Harrison with a Telecaster. Seems he did not like them. The Stratocaster on the other side was his favourite guitar from 1957 untill he died. He could not find a Stratocaster in England at that time as They were very rare Then. So he bought What was most like a Stratocaster, a Futurama. At one point in Hamburg he was going to buy a Stratocaster from a person Who has one, but woke up to late and the guitarist in Rory Storm and the Hurricanes got it before him. This scarred George for life as he really wanted a Stratocaster. In December 1964 he finally got his Stratocaster and it was his main guitar with the Beatles from January 1965 untill They brooke up 1970. So the Rocky Stratocaster is deffinitely the guitar George used most When recording songs with the Beatles. Its in nearly all songs Where he plays electric from the Help Album to Let it Be. Thats why it is so iconic. A side note. Its pretty pathetic of Fender to Reissue the guitar George thought was the worst guitar he ever used, the Rosewood Telecaster. He had never used a Telecaster before and never used one again.
    Kind regards
    Per-Anders Karlsson
    Stockholm, Sweden.

      Pete says:

      The Fender Rocky Stratocaster was used on about 80 % of the Betles songs. The Fender Roosewood Telecaster George called ” The worst guitar he had ever played” was the least used Beatle guitar. George used the Roosewood 2 weeks for the Let it be Sessons. Then gave it away to Delany Bramlet immidiately. 2 years after Georges death At the end of 2003 Olivia buys the Roosewood Telecaster on auction from Delany Bramlet and lets Fender produce it as a way to make money. George would have spun in his grave. The guitar he least of all wanted to Endorse gets endorsed. The Fender Roosewood Telecaster was ordered by Paul McCartney as he thought it would sound Good on Let it be. Besides Georges comment on the Roosewood Telecaster as ” the worst guitar I have ever played” I have seen other quotes by George calling it ” the worst gigging guitar ever”, ” my least favourite Beatle guitar” and ” It sounded too bright and was too heavy”. George was never seen with a Telecaster again in his career. Georges favourite guitar from 1957 untill his death was the Fender Stratocaster. So Fender made him the wrong guitar. James Burton did not like his either and sent it back. What Eric Clapton thought about the Roosewood Telecaster I dont know. But Clapton has played Telecasters his whole career. He started out with a Telecaster in Yardbirds and used Telecasters between 1963 and 1966 exclusively before changing to Gibson Les Paul. But Clapton used the Telecaster a lot for recording and stage work in the seventies and eightiees, he continued to use it on practicaly all albums after that for a song or two. So still in 2020 Clapton uses a Telecaster from time to time. The Stratocaster he uses is not a real Stratocaster, its a hybrid of a Stratocaster and a Les Paul. He can easily get the hunbucking sound of a Les Paul by turning on a switch. This was to not need to carry a Stratocaster and a Les Paul to every show But to bring only one guitar.

    Mark Moule says:

    My advice is to get one rom Rob Burger guitars in St. Cloud US.
    He will source a Fender Strat and do an amazing paint job on it. I have one and it’s amazing.
    And most of all it’s a fraction of the cost

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