Having written, produced, and performed on recordings that have sold more than 500-million albums globally, Nile Rodgers always had his beloved 1960 Stratocaster along for the ride. Affectionately dubbed the ‘Hitmaker,’ this guitar features unique modifications and an unmatched pedigree that helped create decades of legends.
With vintage-inspired feel and tone, this maple neck offers snap and excellent playability when paired with a warm 9.5”-radius maple fingerboard.
Voiced to accurately replicate the quack, chime and bell-like clarity of the original Hitmaker, these pickups will channel Nile’s unmistakable tone.
A beautiful finish exactly matches the one Nile sprayed on the guitar himself after he acquired it in the early days of Chic.
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.
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.
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.”