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Fender Ed O Brien Signature Stratocaster Overview by GAK

Ed O’Brien’s ambient, ethereal and orchestral guitar style is an essential part of the sonic identity of Radiohead. Fender partnered with this groundbreaking player to create the EOB Stratocaster — an instrument as unique as his sound. This inspiring guitar is perfect for creating lush, layered soundscapes and finding your own creative voice. The EOB Stratocaster offers a wide palette of tones thanks to its Seymour Duncan JB Jr. humbucking bridge pickup, Texas Special™ single-coil middle pickup and Fernandes Sustainer unit in the neck position.

The Sustainer works some technical magic to create near-infinite sustain on one or more strings, making it easy to achieve thick, textured sounds. The Sustainer’s controls include an on/off switch, intensity control and three-position switch to select the mode: Fundamental-only, Harmonic-only or Blend. A mix of modern and classic, this Stratocaster features a 6-saddle vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge, vintage-style tuning machines, a “10/56 V” neck profile, 21 narrow-jumbo frets, a synthetic bone nut and a special neck plate engraved with a custom “Flower of Life” emblem.

The EOB Stratocaster is the perfect tool for players looking to find their own creative voice. For more than half of the songs played the recent Radiohead tour, Ed O'Brien has wielded a shiny new white Fender Stratocaster. According to a fan who attended one of the Roundhouse gigs, Ed has two identical white Strats (allowing him to alternate between them for different tunings).

Ed’s main guitar has been a Stratocaster of some sort since the band was still called On A Friday. His main instrument since 1996 has been a black Fender Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster, which he fitted with a Fernandes Sustainer System circa-2002. Since then, it has been referred to as Ed’s “Sustainer Strat”, and its sustaining capabilities were made use of heavily on Hail to the Thief, In Rainbows, and The King of Limbs.

The new guitar appears to be the Sustainer Strat’s successor. The instrument is fitted with a white Fernandes Sustainer Single Coil Driver in the neck position. Fernandes currently don’t offer a white Sustainer Driver in their kits, but it is found in most of their Retrorocket series guitars. The bridge pickup is not one found any sustainer kit. The small paired pole pieces make me think that it’s a Seymour Duncan Lil ’59 or Seymour Duncan JB Jr. Rather than the Lace Sensor Gold (which was the stock pickup on Ed’s 90’s Eric Clapton Strat) in the middle position, this guitar features a very nondescript white Strat-style pickup – perhaps a Fender custom shop pickup?

Interestingly, the instrument looks brand-new and bears the Fender emblem on its headstock, but has its output jack mounted the side of the guitar. Ed converted his previous sustainer Strat from a Fender production model, but currently Fender only produces Stratocasters with front-mounted output jacks (aside from the bizarre Sergio Vallin instruments). As such, this guitar seems to be a custom build by Fender for Ed, especially when you consider Ed’s visit to the Fender Factory in July 2014. We can only hope that Fender puts out the instrument as a new artist signature model (although swapping the middle and bridge pickups on a Fernandes Retrorocket Elite would give you a very similar instrument).

So far this tour, Ed has used the new Strats on nearly every track from A Moon Shape Pool – the exception being being The Numbers, on which Ed uses his Gibson ES335 – as well as for a host of old songs including Planet Telex, Street Spirit, Paranoid Android, Lucky, The National Anthem, Kid A, Pyramid Song, Idioteque, 2+2=5, The Gloaming, Myxomatosis, All I Need, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, Reckoner, Videotape, Bloom, Morning Mr Magpie, Lotus Flower, and Separator.

  • Series: Artist
  • Body Material: Alder
  • Body Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
  • Neck: Maple, 10/56 “V” Back-Shape
  • Neck Finish: Satin Urethane Back with Gloss Headstock Face
  • Fingerboard: Maple, 9.5” (241 mm)
  • Fingerboard: 21, Narrow Tall
  • Frets: Black Dot (Maple)
  • Position Inlays: Synthetic Bone, 1.650” (42 mm)
  • Tuning Machines: Nut (Material/Width): Vintage-Style
  • Scale Length: 25.5” (648 mm)
  • Bridge: 6-Saddle Vintage-Style Synchronized Tremolo
  • Pickguard: 3-Ply Parchment
  • Pickups: Duncan JB Jr. (Bridge), Texas SpecialTM Single-Coil Strat (Middle), Sustainer Driver (Neck)
  • Pickup Switching: 5-Position Blade: Position 1. Bridge Pickup Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup Position 3. Middle Pickup Position 4. Middle and Neck Pickup Position 5. Neck Pickup
  • Special Electronics: Active Sustainer® Driver/Pickup Powered by 9-Volt Battery
  • Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone, Intensity Control, Active Sustainer® On/Off Switch, Fundamental/Harmonic/Blend Switch
  • Control Knobs: White Plastic
  • Hardware Finish: Nickel/Chrome
  • Strings: Fender® USA 250L, NPS (.009-.042 Gauges)
  • Case/Gig Bag: Deluxe Gig Bag



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  • Mr ian stephens


    What fantastic guitar you definitely get what you pay for brilliant sound great feel and a pleasure to play the pick ups are amazing the sustain pick sings like an angel

  • Nick Charlesworth


    Wonderful guitar! Great neck and really cool pups. I'll probably go up to10s to increase tuning stability but otherwise I'm really pleased with it.

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