In 1955, musician Howard Reed Jr. walked into the McCord Music Company of Dallas, Texas and ordered a Stratocaster, with one special caveat – that it be Black, instead of the standard Two Color Sunburst. This request inadvertently made history, resulting in the creation of one of the earliest known Black Stratocaster guitars and the beginning of a custom color tradition that Fender continues to this day. In 1958 Reed joined famous rockabilly group Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps, using his custom Strat onstage as his primary guitar. The sound of this Black Stratocaster was heard all over Texas on “The Big D Jamboree” – a radio show on the local CBS affiliate.
Reed also wanted to make sure audiences knew who he was, so he used stick-on letters to add his initials to the upper bout of the guitar, an act that seems to be something of a tradition among Texas guitarists. After Reed’s passing in 1981, the guitar was displayed at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum from January 1998 through May 2013 and now resides in a private collection.
Here are the details: Black, Masterbuilt by Dennis Galuszka, One piece Ash body, 1954 U shaped flatsawn Maple neck with a 7.25” radius fingerboard and vintage size frets, Custom Shop handwound ’55 single coil pickups with the vintage wiring, Six saddle American Vintage synchronized tremolo and Fender/Kluson tuners, 7.8 pounds, With hardshell case