1996 Fender Ritchie Blackmore Stratocaster ST72-145RB Olympic White, Japan MIJ

$ 2099.99

Up for sale, a 1996 Fender Ritchie Blackmore Signature Stratocaster model ST72-145RB in exceptional condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original premium padded “Gig Case” and Fender-branded strap. This particular Blackmore is an upscale Fender Japan model produced during the golden age of “Made in Japan” production, particularly rare and offering the incredible attention to detail and the premium fit and finish work for which Fender Japan is known.

A British guitar player who cut his teeth on Joe Meek sessions before joining Deep Purple and eventually founding the heavy metal genre-bending band Rainbow, Ritchie Blackmore is a guitar pioneer in every respect, and his signature model Strat reflects the need for easy playability and powerful sounds much meatier than one typically expects. Tonewoods include an alder body, maple neck and rosewood fingerboard with graduated scalloping.

Pickups include a substituted pair of DiMarzio DP117 pickups (the middle “pickup” is not part of the circuit, mounted flush with the pickguard and out of the pick path), and these pickups offer hum-free performance with a broad low end that’s warm and tight. Trebles are smooth and glassy, and the pickups are voiced to remain articulate when paired with heavy gain. This Blackmore Strat weighs 7lbs 11oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and spot-on intonation.

The maple neck has a slender C-shaped profile carve with round shoulders and lightly rolled fretboard edges, measuring .795” deep at the 1st fret and .945” at the 12th. The rosewood fretboard has graduated scalloping; less pronounced at the nut, with deep asymmetrical valleys further up the fretboard and deeper on the treble side. The stock slender fretwire is flawless, retaining its full factory height and well-rounded crowns. This guitar plays cleanly up the 25 1/2“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The nut measures 1.650” (42mm) in width. The large ‘70s-style headstock sports Blackmore’s signature, fitted with the original Schaller-made Fender “F” tuners which turn smoothly and hold pitch as they should. The “Made in Japan” text and N-prefix serial are present above the three-bolt “F” neck plate.  

All of the electronics function as intended, with a three-way pickup selector switch (Bridge, Bridge Neck, Neck), Master Volume knob, and individual Tone knobs for each DiMarzio single coil. The chrome-plated hardware is notably clean, including the jack cup and bridge with block saddles. Plastics include the three-ply white pickguard paired with black knobs and pickup covers.

The gloss Olympic White finish shows a touch of yellowing in the clear coat, and this Strat is an extremely well-kept example, with cosmetic wear limited to a handful of pinhead-sized dings on the lower bout perimeter and a few minor marks and faint scratches in the clear coat on the body as a whole. The smooth ambered gloss on the neck profile is flawless.

The original premium heavily padded Fender “Gig Case” is included, along with the original strap and recessed strap locks.