It's been dubbed 'the world's most successful guitar' and was once valued at $2bn but just what does make Nile Rodgers' Hitmaker so special?
'Today I Experienced Real Fear' wrote Nile Rodgers on his blog in October 2013. For a man who has faced cancer and fought it, that's quite a statement.
Thankfully for those of us who count ourselves among his millions of fans, that fear wasn't health-related. To Rodgers though, it was every bit as important: the loss of his beloved Hitmaker Strat.
Arriving home one morning, Rodgers realised that he'd left the Hitmaker on the train. 'I felt like a parent who'd lost a child. I was terrified,' he explained.
'This is the one guitar I can't live without. It's never let me down. It's played on so many records, at so many concerts, and even comforted me after the death of my CHIC band co-founder Bernard Edwards, who's dead body I discovered right across the hall from my hotel room. The loss of my guitar gave me that same type of Fear. Paralyzing Fear. Devastating Fear.'
Fortunately, with the help of a friendly ticket agent and police captain, Rodgers found the Hitmaker, lying in its case in a train yard. You can read the full blog post here; it's clear just how much this guitar means to Rodgers, but why?
Lots of guitar players have a favourite guitar, and many of them have used the same guitar at gigs for many years, but few feel the kind of love and attachment that Rodgers does. Perhaps the answer lies not in the guitar itself, but in the music created with it. From last year's Get Lucky, which Rodgers wrote with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams you can trace a thread all the way back to Chic's Le Freak, stopping off on the way at the likes of Diana Ross' I'm Coming Out, Sister Sledge's We are Family, and Chic's Good Times. Many of those were composed with Rodgers' Chic band mate and friend, Bernard Williams. Williams' untimely death is perhaps another reason for Rodgers' attachment to the Hitmaker.
The guitar itself combines a 1960 Fender Stratocaster body with a 1959 neck. It has a maple fingerboard and, according to Fender is 'exceptionally light in weight.' It's hallmark, though, is that well-worn white finish and chrome plated pick guard.
The monetary value attributed to the Hitmaker is clearly moot (though $2bn is pretty good for a guitar bought as a trade-in at a small shop in Miami Beach), because there's no chance that Rodgers could be persuaded to part with it.
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