Fender Nile Rodgers Hitmaker Stratocaster® – Olympic White
Nile Rodgers has written, produced, and performed on recordings that have sold more than 500-million albums globally. Every hit record he’s produced has shared one essential element: the used 1960 Fender hardtail Stratocaster® Nile bought in a Miami music shop. Rarely is a single guitar so inseparably identified with its owner as The Hitmaker.
The Hitmaker features a 1960 alder body that is uniquely smaller and more contoured than a typical vintage Strat. The beautiful Olympic White lacquer matches the finish Nile sprayed on the guitar himself just after he acquired it in the early days of Chic. The custom ’59-profile one-piece maple neck has a 9.5” radius fingerboard, medium jumbo frets and a satin finish. A “Nile Rodgers & Chic” logo adorns the back of the headstock and a custom Hitmaker logo is stamped into the neck plate.
The Nile Rodgers Hitmaker single-coil Strat pickups are voiced to accurately replicate the quack, chime and bell-like clarity of the original Hitmaker. Other features include a hard-tail string-through bridge with period-correct bent-steel saddles, an eye-catching mirrored chrome-plated brass pickguard, locking Sperzel® tuners and a set of white speed knobs. The guitar also comes with a vintage-style case with Hitmaker-embroidered interior and a custom certificate of authenticity.
-Slim Alder body with unique contours
-Olympic White lacquer finish
-Custom headstock logo and Hitmaker neck plate
-Custom Nile Rodgers Hitmaker Single-Coil Strat Pickups
-Vintage-style hard-tail Strat bridge
-Sperzel® locking tuners
*CUSTOM CONTOURED ALDER BODY
Featuring a unique alder body, slightly smaller and more contoured than a standard Stratocaster, this detailed recreation of Nile’s original Hitmaker provides a comfortable playing experience.
*OLYMPIC WHITE LACQUER FINISH
Originally a sunburst model, Nile chose Olympic White lacquer to refinish the Hitmaker. Fender’s Olympic White lacquer finish offers vintage-accurate looks that will age gracefully and allow the wood to breathe, letting the instrument’s true character shine.
*CUSTOM NILE RODGERS HITMAKER SINGLE-COIL PICKUPS
Voiced to replicate the vintage single-coils in Nile’s original Hitmaker, these custom Strat® pickups deliver the quack, chime and bell-like clarity needed to get Nile’s famous tones.
*CHROME-PLATED BRASS PICKGUARD
The Fender Nile Rodgers Hitmaker features a chrome-plated brass pickguard, delivering stand-out looks to match the original.
*HARDTAIL STRAT® BRIDGE
An uncommon feature in vintage instruments, the hardtail string-through body bridge delivers tight, solid tones with extra body and sustain perfect for funk rhythm.
*SPERZEL LOCKING TUNERS
Like the original Hitmaker, this model features Sperzel locking tuners for quick string changes and improved tuning stability.
Body Finish:Gloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer
Neck Construction:4-Bolt Standard
Neck Finis:Satin Nitrocellulose Lacquer Finish with Gloss Headstock Face
Neck Shape:1959 “C”
Scale Length:25.5″ (648 mm)
Fingerboard Radius:9.5″ (241 mm)
Number of Frets:21
Fret Size:Medium Jumbo
Nut Width:1.625″ (41.3 mm)
Position Inlays:Black Dot
Truss Rod:Vintage-Style Butt Adjust
Truss Rod Nut:Vintage-Style Butt Adjust
Bridge Pickup:Hitmaker Nile Rogers Strat®
Middle Pickup:Hitmaker Nile Rogers RWRP Strat®
Neck Pickup:Hitmaker Nile Rogers Strat®
Controls:Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), Tone 2. (Bridge/Middle 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
Bridge:6-Saddle Strings-Through-Body Strat® Hardtail with Bent Steel Saddles
Tuning Machines:Sperzel® Locking
Pickguard:11-hole Chrome Plated Brass
Control Knobs:White Speed
Neck Plate:4-Bolt Serialized with Custom Hitmaker Logo
Strings:Fender® USA 250L Nickel Plated Steel (.009-.042 Gauges), PN 0730250403
Case/Gig Bag:Deluxe Limited-Edition Hardshell with Embroidered Hitmaker Logo
Included Accessories:Deluxe Hardshell Case, Strap and Certificate of Authenticity.
Nile Rodgers – Decades of Hits
Over the past 40-plus years Nile Rodgers has penned, played and produced a vast wealth of hit songs, starting with “Le Freak” and “Good Times,” the era-defining late-’70s smashes by the band he co-founded, disco powerhouse CHIC.
Innumerable session, writing, production, arranging and film music credits commenced in the 1980s and continue today, with Rodgers making essential contributions to work by David Bowie (Let’s Dance, 1983), Diana Ross (Diana, 1980), Debbie Harry (Koo Koo, 1981), Madonna (Like a Virgin, 1984), Mick Jagger (She’s the Boss, 1985), Al Jarreau (L is For Lover, 1986), Steve Winwood (Back in the High Life, 1986), B-52’s (Cosmic Thing, 1989), Michael Jackson (“Money,” 1995) and many others.
More recently, Rodgers and the Hitmaker contributed to 2013 blockbuster albums True by Avicii and Random Access Memories by Daft Punk, including the latter’s Grammy-winning smash, “Get Lucky.”
It’s a challenge to keep up with just how many songs he’s impacted by now, but what is known is most of the songs in his vast catalog were created with the help of the “Hitmaker,” a unique 1960 Stratocaster with a 1959 neck that Rodgers fortuitously happened upon in a Miami Beach, Fla., in 1973.
“I didn’t really think of myself as a hitmaker, but I think of my guitar as having the sound to give any track that I play on a better than even shot of being a hit,” Rodgers said.
THE EARLY YEARS
Rodgers grew up in New York (the Bronx, Alphabet City, Greenwich Village) with jazz records permeating the walls.
He also had an interest in classical music and became a proficient flute and clarinet player in the school orchestra before he finally decided to pick up the guitar in earnest as a teenager and teach himself how to play through a Beatles songbook.
By the time he was 19, Rodgers was working as a session guitarist and had scored a gig with the Sesame Street touring band. But it was joining the house band at Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater that truly elevated his game.
There, Rodgers encountered the world’s biggest R&B artists — Aretha Franklin, Betty Wright, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Maxine Brown, Ben E. King and many others. It was there where he also met bassist Bernard Edwards, with whom he would form Chic in the mid-1970s.
RISE OF THE HITMAKER
Not only did Rodgers and Edwards change the game with CHIC, they also became the hottest producing team after bringing Sister Sledge’s 1978 album, We Are Family, to the top of the charts.
Of course, we all know now that Rodgers and his Hitmaker have never stopped since.
To pay homage to Rodgers’ indelible contributions to musical history — and the exciting projects he undoubtedly has coming in the future — Fender is releasing a faithful recreation of the Hitmaker.
Featuring a lacquer Olympic White finish that accurately mimics the color he sprayed on it himself in a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. Its custom ’59-profile one-piece maple neck boasts a 9.5” radius fingerboard, medium jumbo frets and satin finish, while Nile Rodgers Hitmaker single-coil Strat pickups are voiced to accurately replicate the quack, chime and bell-like clarity of the original instrument.
For an artist who has a top billing amongst the influencers of modern music, this guitar is the only one to recreate his signature sound.
“Everybody who’s playing a Strat, their Strats have a certain vibe,” he said. “My Strat plays … I don’t know how to explain it. I’ve bought more than 200 of these things trying to find one, and the only way I could find another one is Fender had to make it.”