Fender and Transport for London are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Stratocaster guitar and London’s famous Routemaster bus. The two companies are partnering on a bus emblazoned with Stratocaster imagery, which will serve London’s 24 bus route, and 25 limited edition Stratocaster guitars, which incorporate key design features of the iconic double-decker.

Fender released the Stratocaster in 1954. Daringly innovative, it was a revelation at the time. Among guitarists it has become an icon, the quintessential electric guitar – one of the world’s great musical instruments. Many famous guitarists, including Buddy Holly, Hank Marvin, Pete Townsend, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Ritchie Blackmore, John Frusciante and Jeff Beck have used it to create some of the most memorable moments in music history.

The Routemaster double-decker bus, a pioneering design, was developed by Associated Equipment Company (AEC) in 1954 and remained in production until 1968. The Routemaster saw continuous service in London until 2005 and currently remains on two heritage routes in central London.

ender Stratocaster emblazoned Routemaster
Routemaster emblazoned with Stratocaster imagery (click for larger image)

Justin Norvell, Vice President of Marketing for Fender:

There is an inexorable link between Fender and iconic British music from The Yardbirds and The Who to bands like The Clash, Blur and more. Our histories and futures are intertwined, and this Routemaster bus is a fantastic way to honour that musical and historical connection.

Routemaster outside London Transport Museum
Routemaster outside London Transport Museum (click for larger image)

Fender and Transport for London kicked-off celebrations with an event that took place on 19 August 2014 at the London Transport Museum in the Covent Garden Piazza, featuring the bus, live music and limited edition Stratocaster guitars.

Speaking at the event, Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said:

We are delighted to celebrate the 60th anniversary of two design icons in such a unique way. The bus network has played a crucial and unsung role in London’s rich musical heritage for many decades – transporting thousands upon thousands of music lovers to gigs at venues right across the city every week – and, perhaps even more importantly, getting them home safely after those amazing performances they will never forget.

Fender have produced 25 limited edition “Routecaster” guitars which celebrate key design features of the Routemaster bus. In addition to replicating the Routemaster’s distinctive red livery, the Transport for London (TfL) ‘Roundel’ appears on the headstock and the scratchplate design is based on the double-decker’s ‘moquette’ seat fabric. The stripe across the body echoes the gold badge that appeared on the front of Routemasters. The limited run will be available from the London Transport Museum Shop from mid September 2014, at £899.

The Stratocaster-inspired Routemaster will serve the number 24 bus route – London’s ‘musical heritage route’ – visiting Camden (the home of the Jazz Cafe and Roundhouse), Denmark Street (known as ‘tin pan alley’), and Oxford Street, where the legendary 100 club has entertained music fans for decades.

Ding, ding. All aboard!

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