There are not many guitars that are said to be worth $2 billion, but one with an audacious title — the Hitmaker — is just that.
If you haven’t heard the twang of Nile Rodgers’ Hitmaker guitar then you’ve likely spent the last few decades living in an isolationist doomsday cult.
Calling your guitar the Hitmaker is certainly a bold claim, but it is not without substantial evidence to back it up.
The 69-year-old New Yorker’s white 1960 Stratocaster is, without exaggeration, one of the most-heard instruments in the history of modern music.
His label once calculated that $2 billion dollars worth of recorded music had been created using the iconic instrument.
That’s because he used this one guitar almost exclusively over his 50 years as a pop music legend — on hits like Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” & Chic’s “Good Times.”
Nile’s funky tone and style became built into the DNA of Hip-Hop, as his riffs were sampled on foundational records like Rapper’s Delight and classics like Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems.
His reputation as a producer, songwriter and guitarist made him the one to call when a major artist needed a hit record. David Bowie did so to create the Billboard #1 “Let’s Dance” in 1983. 30 years later Daft Punk would tap Nile for the Billboard #1 “Get Lucky.”
The Hitmaker is heard on both of these records and virtually all of Nile’s best known projects, and now is being honored with his own Fender Signature model — a tribute to The Hitmaker.
Retailing at a whopping $4999, it certainly makes a statement.
For a start, the box alone is cooler than most guitars. The custom and vintage style case comes with the word “Hitmaker” embroidered on the interior — and makes you look like some sort of rock god before you’ve even played a note.
Inside, a gorgeous mirrored pickguard reflects your ugly mug back at you and allows you to shine a light into unsuspecting audience members’ faces.
But it’s not all about looks with the Hitmaker.
Fender claims the pickups are voiced to accurately replicate the quack, chime and bell-like clarity of the original guitar.
While Nile is known for his funky “chucking” style on the higher strings, the guitar’s five
way switching means it is beautifully diverse in its range.
Blues riff tones on the lower end sound so fat they are verging on morbidly obese, while — unsurprisingly — the twangier high notes sound poppy and punchy in your earlobes.
It’s an eye and ear-popping tribute to a man who redefined the game and has every right to name his ax by its glorious title.
Fender releases new pedal line
Fender has also just dropped a seriously cool new line of effects pedals that take your guitar tone into outer space.
Designed by in-house tone guru Stan Cotey, the Hammertone pedals deliver a massive array of sounds in compact form with high-quality hardware and player-friendly features.
Featuring expert-designed analog and digital renditions of classic effects – Overdrive, Distortion, Fuzz, Chorus, Delay, Reverb and more – these compact pedals deliver gig-worthy tones at a pretty decent price. They retail between $199-$229 each.
The overdrive, fuzz and distortion pedals are fairly versatile — giving you just a warm light buzz to punch up your tone on one end all the way through to a face-melting crunch on the other.
The most surprising pedal from Fender is the Metal tone which gives you an aggressive and dynamic distortion that doesn’t sound processed but simultaneously sounds clear and in-your-face heavy.
The other effects like delay and chorus do what they say on the tin, and they’re decent quality for the price.