Definitive Spec - Edge's 1973 Black Strat (circa 83-84) - U2 Feedback

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Old 01-13-2015, 08:19 PM   #1
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Definitive Spec - Edge's 1973 Black Strat (circa 83-84)

Hello All,

I've seen a few different posts on a few different sites, but I'm yet to see anything that seems all that definite:

Does anyone know the specifications of The Edge's 1973 Black Strat during the 83-84 period?

For example: I've seen some discussion over the exact number and position of the DiMarzio pickups, the tremolo that is used and so on...

Does anyone know the exact spec?

Also, does anyone have any clear pics of this 'weapon of tunes' on file, from this particular period?

Thanks to all,

Will
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:28 PM   #2
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I'm not going to really tackle with full-on specs and so on, but I'm pretty sure that his guitars weren't that modded; what I mean is that all discussion about DiMarzio pickups and so on isn't so relevant as these weren't used that long. The tremolo system is regular synchronized trem (read this: U2’s The Edge Talks Guitars, Gear, and Techniques | Jas Obrecht Music Archive)
It is safe to assume that his original "Blackie" was pretty much stock 1973 strat with no mods. Every time it says "custom pickups" in the recent interview/magazine article, that means that Dallas or whoever rewound those pickups to accommodate for the oldness, not to significantly change tones. Sorry for the long post.
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Old 01-14-2015, 03:52 PM   #3
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If the all-black is the 1973, as Dallas has stated, there have been mods. They didn't come in all black in 1973. That started around 1975-1981 (black on black).

I don't think that the all-black "Blackie" of the last few tours is the original.

One of the Black White Strats seems more likely to have been the original, as the original (and the black and white in question) had/has brass saddles.

I think this one might be the 1973/original Blackie





Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack_Again View Post
I'm not going to really tackle with full-on specs and so on, but I'm pretty sure that his guitars weren't that modded; what I mean is that all discussion about DiMarzio pickups and so on isn't so relevant as these weren't used that long. The tremolo system is regular synchronized trem (read this: U2’s The Edge Talks Guitars, Gear, and Techniques | Jas Obrecht Music Archive)
It is safe to assume that his original "Blackie" was pretty much stock 1973 strat with no mods. Every time it says "custom pickups" in the recent interview/magazine article, that means that Dallas or whoever rewound those pickups to accommodate for the oldness, not to significantly change tones. Sorry for the long post.
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Old 01-14-2015, 04:36 PM   #4
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I think that what's original about Blackie could be only the body and neck, and those electronics could be switched out. But didn't Dallas said that black strat in 360 tour is original 1973 strat in Musicradar article in 2009-ish? I think that the bridge could've been replaced for stability.
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Old 01-16-2015, 10:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack_Again View Post
I think that what's original about Blackie could be only the body and neck, and those electronics could be switched out. But didn't Dallas said that black strat in 360 tour is original 1973 strat in Musicradar article in 2009-ish? I think that the bridge could've been replaced for stability.
Anything is possible.

But if the 360 'Blackie' is THE 'Blackie', it was probably altered before Edge got it, as all black wasn't a 1973 option - unless the original owner got it special ordered.
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Old 01-18-2015, 09:13 PM   #6
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Sorry to aks, but isn't the all black strat from 79?
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Old 01-19-2015, 04:56 AM   #7
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83-84 Era of the 1973 Strat

Hi All,

From what I've been reading on this forum and a handful of articles is that the The Edge's first guitar is a 1973 dated Fender Stratocaster.

The guitar was purportedly played in the same specification that it was purchased in: i.e. Black body, black pickguard.....and so on.

Theory is that (either) the guitar was a custom order or that the original pickguard was swapped sometime from 1976 upto the day The Edge walked into that store and bought it. This would have been in the era when real rock guitars 'just had to be' all black (think: The Knack). So much was Fender was having trouble keeping up with demand for black strats in this period that they repainted existing stock!

If the pickups were replaced, theory is that they were probably replaced at the same time (by the previous owner) when the pick guard was replaced.

What were those pick ups and how many? Claims are varied; extending from just one pick up being changed to all three being replaced with DiMarzios.

Then there are the saddles...

Keep in mind, the era that I'm focusing on here is 1983 - 1984....

Does anyone have any clear pics of the guitar from this period? (I can't see the details clear enough from the footage from Live at Red Rocks).

Any thoughts in regards to the pickups during this period?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

Will
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Old 02-04-2015, 07:42 PM   #8
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Up!
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Old 09-25-2020, 10:13 PM   #9
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just found this thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkmoon_269 View Post

Keep in mind, the era that I'm focusing on here is 1983 - 1984....

Just re-hashing this post from a few years' back as it seems though it remains unresolved.

First of all, I love Dallas and all, but you have to take what he says with a pinch of salt. After reading many articles and viewing many youtube videos with him commenting on Edge's gear, he is mistaken half the time. I'm not sure if this is intentional or perhaps one too many bong hits, but he's simply been wrong on many occasions. Furthermore, he wasn't around pre-1987 so I doubt he has all the details to the War/UF setup during 1983-1984.

Second of all, if you know any history of Fender 70's strats, there are some "tells" with regard to defining which period the guitar is from. For this particular purpose, let's look at the head stock decals. Fender put the serial number on the back plate until 1975 and then moved it up on the headstock underneath the "Fender" logo afterwards. Furthermore, Fender strats up until 1975 also had an "Original Contour Body Patented" decal on the headstock after "Stratocaster". The ones after 1975 don't have this circular decal.

Now if you look at all the photos of Edge's performances during the War/UF tour, including the iconic Live at Red Rocks and even Live Aid performances, he's using a 70's strat with serial number on the headstock without the "contour body" decal. This puts the guitar clearly post 1975.

Now you may be wondering whether it is 1979 like many others have purported. It's not. How can you tell? 1979's had a slightly altered "Fender" decal where it had a gold border. This made the whole "Fender" logo look more "noodley" and thin and less bold. The photos of Edge's headstock show the "Fender" logo in bold, so this puts his famous "Blackie" squarely in the 1976-1978 era.

As for pickups, I think the interviews with the Edge regarding his recently issued signature strat around the Dimarzios are self explanatory.

Hope this clarifies. In conclusion, I'd say a 1976-1978 is more the "iconic" U2 Edge "Blackie" guitar, and not a 1973. Now I could be mistaken, but I would not be surprised if the photo of the black and white 70's strat a few posts up in front of his rack is this same "Blackie" but went through a pickguard change along with a Floyd Rose installation/removal (as evidenced by the holes near the nut on the headstock). At a minimum the guitar is definitely post 1975 so clearly not a 1973 as Dallas mentioned. This is definitely the same guitar used in R&H Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet as well as 360 Fly, even the U2 for Aslan video, on quick check/examples. From my research, the 1973 strat that most folks speak of appears to surface during the JT era, as you can see him use that guitar on R&H Pride, Bad, etc. The slightly ironic part is that the quintessential "Streets" from R&H was played on a guitar that's not even a Fender Stratocaster. It's a Danvel/Nelson custom strat.

Anyway, if you're after that early U2 pre JT and War era strat, find yourself a 1976-1978. (And yes, they came stock black/black).



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