Greco Strat with a stoptail bridge - Rick Derringer signature model?

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Well-known member
May 29, 2012
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Here's a guitar that I didn't end up buying, despite it being right up my street.

I collect unusual, rare, unique and downright weird Greco SE Strat copies. I have amassed about 15 of them by now, and I've developed quite a keen sense for which oddballs actually came out of Greco's "Order Made Guitar" system and which are exotic owner mods. But with this one, I just wasn't sure. I couldn't think of a reason for anyone to neither order nor mod a guitar to these specs.

It's a Sept 1975 Matsu-made guitar, probably based on a SE-600. It's in Dakota(ish) Red with matching headstock. And a Les Paul Junior-style "lightning" stoptail bridge. That's right, not a Strat hardtail, not even stoptail + ABR, but the most primitive electric guitar bridge out there.

Looking at it, I found it hard to believe it was modded. It just seemed too well-made, with no trace of a trem bridge rout having been filled in and painted over, which is actually pretty hard to do, even for a pro. The matching headstock with the period-correct logo could have been achieved using aftermarket decals, but how long have they been around, like 15 years? This thing looked old, and anyway, most people would have slapped a Fender decal on it after going to all this trouble.

But most of all, it seemed unprecedented. Most guitars with really unusual specs are based on some rockstar's modded instrument or a seriously obscure original model, but I'd never seen anything like this one. So, I kept cool, thought of the possible resale value (basically nil if it turned out to be a modded guitar) and backed down when the bidding went too high.

Aaaand the other day, a friend of mine sent me a scan of an ad (or possibly a poster) promoting Rick Derringer's debut solo album "All American Boy" from 1973. In which he is holding a red Strat with matching headstock and a stoptail bridge. It's actually the same guitar he holds on the record cover, but both the headstock and the bridge are obscured in that photo. It has Tele barrels, not Strat knobs like the Greco, but close enough.

So, it seems likely some hardcore Rick D fan ordered a copy of it. It could also be part of a small batch made for some retailer, but I can't find another, or even a reference to one, anywhere else. Since the minimum order seems to have been 40 instruments, you can usually find more if you dig deep enough.
And sure, it could still have been a owner's mod. But would it really have said Greco on the headstock if it was?

Either way, I'll keep looking. And I'll take the risk and buy the next one. I mean, I need to find out, right? :cool:





that is the most bizarro and different Strat animal ever

you should have purchased it just for the WEIRD factor alone and particularly so, since you collect SEs

thanks for sharing that
Found this Instagram post about the original guitar, and it turns out it's got more rock star sweat on it than most. It was up for sale in 2020. Apparently, Derringer never actually owned it, but pretty much everyone else did. :)

I wish I'd had this info when the Greco came up for sale. But there you go.


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    Rick D stoptail sail.JPG
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that is the most bizarro and different Strat animal ever

you should have purchased it just for the WEIRD factor alone and particularly so, since you collect SEs

Well, thanks for rubbing that in. 😂

I know, I know, I should have trusted my gut, it hasn't let me down so far. But this one just seemed so unhinged somehow, weirdly disconnected from any (then) known original guitar or modding trend. I just wish I had happened upon the Derringer guitar before I saw the Greco.

I'm usually pretty philosophical about losing out on guitars. "Next!" is the operative word, but I'm honestly not sure there even is another one.

Oh well.
Just curious, was the body routed for a trem? I can't tell from the pictures.
I've no idea. I see no signs of it, but then again I can't see any body piece joins either. I've no doubt that a guitar manufacturer or a pro luthier could do the job right, but if it was factory making a custom-order guitar, I suppose they would just go with a body blank and leave that production step out.

And yeah, I've been asking myself the same question... while kicking myself for not being in a position to check it out. :confused:
Either way, Winter modding the original for slide playing makes the stop tail make a lot more sense.
did a bit of research on the original 1959 Strat that was converted to the stop tail spec during Johnny Winters ownership and it does look like it originally had a tremolo

Front on pick guard is signed Rick Derringer '93 and on the back, on the belly cut, it is also signed Rick Derringer '93.
The back has a tremolo cover in place and below that, toward the neck plate, there is another plastic cover with two screws, looks to likely be for a 9 volt battery.


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