Though it's seldom used these days, and has made only occasional appearances on record, it's a special guitar to me; my first Fender.
It was bought second-hand for me by my dad sometime during my final year at school (1997), with the deal being that I would spend my next holiday working for my dad's business to repay the debt. It was well worth it.
I'd dreamed of owning a red Fender Stratocaster ever since watching Mark Knopfler playing "Sultans of Swing" on one sometime in the 80's, and then even more after David Gilmour used a red Strat on Pink Floyd's live video "Pulse".
As far as specs go, it's a 1995 Standard Stratocaster, made in Mexico, and finished in crimson red metallic. When I got it, the original pickups had already been swapped out for a set of Fender Lace Sensors, in red (neck), silver (middle) and blue (bridge) as was the popular combination at the time.
The first mod I did to this (or indeed any) guitar was to fit a bridge pickup activating switch. This allows for up to seven different pickup combinations to be selected, instead of the standard five. At the time I did this mod, I thought that the more different sounds that were available on the guitar made it more versatile and therefore better. These days, I tend to feel the opposite is true, and will usually mod my guitars to have less (but more useable) options available. Even so, the seven way switching is still installed on big red.
The next mod is much more recent. Having spent a lot of time over the past few years using Strats fitted with genuine single coil pickups, I had become a little dissatisfied with the red and blue Lace Sensors which mostly resemble the sound of humbuckers. The solution was to fit a pair of gold Lace Sensors in the neck and middle position and move the silver to the bridge. This combination sounds much better and much more "Stratty" to my ears.
This guitar has rarely been used on record, though Dave has made sure it has appeared on each of our albums even if only briefly. The one time I recall using it in the studio is on the track, "A Tower of Silence" being played using a screwdriver as a makeshift bow and slide at the same time (it can be clearly heard at the start of the track before the piano enters).
Thanks again for reading and as always, let me know if there's any of the band's gear that you're curious about.