Sunday, May 15, 2011

Graffiti Yellow 2001 Fender Stratocaster

2001 Graffiti Yellow Fender Stratocaster

I'm the proud new owner of a somewhat rare and special 2001 Stratocaster.  It comes in the not-so-common color of Graffiti Yellow.  Supposedly in the mid-80s Jeff Beck asked Fender to make him a guitar the same color as the hot rod in the movie American Graffiti.  As a result, Graffiti Yellow.  This color was used from 1987 until the early 1990's on some high end Strats called the Stratocaster Plus.  Graffiti Yellow Strats were made in very limited numbers, and eventually it was no longer offered as a standard color.  It still is not available to this day.

In 2001, the state of South Dakota had a special promotion in their state lottery in which approximately 100 Graffiti Yellow Strats were given away.   I'm not sure how you could win one.  Did you have to scratch on a ticket or what?  There is this video of a tv commercial that apparently ran in South Dakota at the time.  The commercial says 100 are to be given away, but on the back of mine there is a plate saying it is number 14 of 115.

There is evidence not all these guitars were given away in the lottery.  For example, there is this summer of 2006 newsletter (scroll down to page 2) from the South Dakota lottery referring to a man winning a "leftover" lottery stratocaster at a Sioux Falls Canaries minor league hockey game.  So 5 years after the lottery they were still handing them out. 

These lottery Stratocasters were all made in Graffiti Yellow and were manufactured at the Fender Custom shop in Corona, California. The Custom shop does not make any of the regular manufacturing run versions of the the Strat.  They make things such as expensive one-of-a kind highly decorated guitars, or special order guitars for famous musical artists.  They also tackle special jobs such as the 115 guitars needed for the lottery giveaway. 
Wasting no time trying it out!

I got mine through an EBay auction.  I was bidding on it while Lyndy and I were on vacation in Mexico.  I bid a couple times from the laptop in the hotel lobby, and I cast what was ultimately the winning bid on an iPod Touch from a ferry riding back to the mainland from Cozumel Island.  The ferry had free wi-fi access.  I got a little bit lucky because I was actually outbid, but the winning bidder ended up backing out of it, so it fell to the second highest bidder, which luckily was me.  It was shipped to me by UPS from Minneapolis, MN.  So in ten years it hadn't moved very far from South Dakota.

The guitar looks like it has barely been played at all.  Luckily, whoever won it in the lottery was not much of a guitar player.  I bought it from a pawn shop/estate type dealer in Minneapolis who sells a lot of used guitars.  It originally had white pickup covers and volume/tone knobs, but like I did with my blue Strat, I switched them to black.  So out of the 115 of these made, mine may well be the only one with the black trim look to it.

I only had it for a couple of days, long enough to spend literally less than 10 minutes strumming it (mainly to see if all the pickups worked, etc.) and the chance came to really break it in.  My band Lo Pan's Revenge played at one of the parties held for Evan and his high school graduation (see next blog entry).  I took the new yellow Strat to the show and ended up playing it for more than half the songs without really having spent any time getting used to it.  The result?  It played and sounded great!

The Graffiti Yellow Strat makes it's debut!


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    You must be running out of space for all your guitars!

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