The new Fender Ed O’Brien Signature Stratocaster is certainly an interesting guitar, especially as the Radiohead guitarist has opted not to have his name emblazoned all over it! This model sees a few neat features that augment the classic Strat design.
Outfitted with a Sustainer pickup system and a Seymour Duncan JB Jr humbucker in the bridge, this model is not your run-of-the-mill Stratocaster. Another factor that sets this guitar apart is the ‘10/56 V’ neck profile with narrow jumbo frets. Until now, this neck shape has not appeared on anything outside of the Fender Custom Shop.
With Ed playing a ‘mutilated’ Fender Clapton Strat for many years, he must have wanted that V profile, so it makes sense that he has opted for this more unusual neck shape, a far cry from the standard C profile that many artists use on their signature models.
The sustainer neck pickup is controlled by an on/off switch with an intensity knob for control and three-position switch which adjusts between ‘fundamental only’, ‘harmonic only’ or ‘blend’ modes. This could give you hours of fun and is powered by a single 9V battery which lives in a cavity on the back of the guitar.
I have a Fernandes Sustainer in one of my guitars and love it. It makes for a great tool both live and in the studio, especially when combined with delays and other effects pedals that let you build landscapes of sound. This Sustainer Strat, as it is named, will come in white with a maple neck and has a subtle neck plate adorned with a Flower of Life neckplate, rather than having Ed’s signature or name anywhere on the guitar.
We reckon it’s a Mexican-made Stratocaster as the price point is so low. With all those nice ‘custom’ features, it looks on paper to be an excellent buy. Ed has been seen wielding one of these guitars at recent gigs and so it looks like he is getting a lot of use out of this new model already and has been road testing it extensively.
RRP GBP 949 due out 14th November
Fender main site