Today, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) and the Fender Custom Shop (FCS) announce the latest addition to its ‘Stories Collection’ which highlights cult-favourite Fender® instruments that have been modified in the hands of legendary artists. A nod to one of the industry’s most storied session guitarists and to the merits of Landau’s imaginative altered guitar specs, FMIC is honoured to present the Stories Collection Michael Landau Coma Stratocaster® guitar and the FCS Limited Edition Michael Landau “Coma” Stratocaster® guitar.
“I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to work with Fender and the Custom Shop to help artists around the world get their hands on a Coma Strat®. I’ve used this guitar for the majority of my life and it’s definitely my most personal guitar.” said Michael Landau. “The sound, the weight and the body contours fit me like a glove – this guitar has always felt like home to me. Not to sound overdramatic, but I should probably be buried with the Coma guitar, we’ve been through a lot together.”
The “Coma” Stratocaster®s story begins at Sol Betnun’s Musical Instruments in 1974, a guitar shop in the heart of Hollywood, where during one of Landau’s many visits, a 1959 Stratocaster® caught the young guitarist’s eye. The original finish had been stripped and the pickups were swapped out. To his surprise, the modded guitar played like a dream. After Landau recognised that there was freedom that a customised instrument afforded him, he wanted to see what would happen if he pushed the modifications even further. The ’80s were the days of rock stars with one name – Bono, Sting, Prince, Flea. Landau admired all of them so during a fun night of debauchery with pals in the late 80s, he decided that he, too, should have a one-word name to joke with his friends about in a fun way. In a flash of inspiration, the name “Coma” magically appeared to him. The name didn’t stick with Michael, personally, but as soon as he wrote it on that red-stained ’59 Strat® with a black sharpie, that guitar became the Coma guitar forever.
Over the years and throughout Landau’s incredible career playing guitar for the likes of Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, and Miles Davis, the “Coma” has seen numerous changes. Pickups were swapped, bridges were replaced. Countless modifications have been made during Landau’s 49 years of Coma ownership. Adorned with a Coma Red finish and equipped with two new custom Fender Noiseless™ and a new custom CuNiFe Wide Range pickup on a tortoiseshell pickguard, the “Coma” Stratocaster is Landaus favourite version of his beloved Stratocaster®.
Although the “Coma” was painstakingly altered to fit Landau’s personal specifications, it can easily be added to any player’s arsenal. The version of “Coma” recreated in the Fender® Stories collection represents the guitar as it exists now. Electronics include custom-designed ML Noiseless Strat® neck-and-middle pickups and a custom Wide Range humbucking pickup in the bridge position. Hardware includes a 6-screw vintage-style Stratocaster® tremolo with a cold-rolled steel block, a custom ML-spec neck, Fender® ClassicGear™ tuning machines and the signature faded Coma red satin lacquer body complete with a Floyd Rose® route. The Michael Landau Coma Stratocaster® wears its rich history on full display, truly representing a vital artist that’s always in transition. Also included is a Coma booklet written by Michael Landau himself, a Coma sticker set, custom strap, Coma pick tin (with limited-edition Michael Landau picks), a roll of PTFE plumbers tape for the tremolo, and a custom Coma-embroidered hardshell case.
“It’s our goal to preserve the narrative and spirit that these heavily modified guitars carry around with them,” said Justin Norvell, Executive Vice President of FMIC Products. “The imperfections and personalisations are what make this Stratocaster® part of guitar history and with this Custom Shop Replica and Fender® Stories Signature model, we’re giving players everywhere the chance to make history of their own.”
From headstock to bridge, the Fender Custom Shop’s made-to-order instrument is a handcrafted replica brimming with customised features. At the heart of the “Coma” are a unique set of pickups designed to Landau’s specifications. Custom wound noiseless 4th generation single coil pickups occupy the neck and middle position and offer that classic Stratocaster® bell tone with none of the hum. In the bridge is a beastly CuNiFe® wide range humbucker that delivers midrange bite and can cut through even the thickest fuzz. The beautifully worn red-stained alder body tells the tale of a well-loved guitar that’s seen countless studios and stages across the world, marked with faded hand-drawn artwork and tattered stickers that not only optimize this instrument’s playability and performance but start a conversation. Finished in a nitrocellulose Coma red stained lacquer and laboriously reliced by the Custom Shop’s Master Builder Todd Krause, this guitar is as eye-catching as it is a dream to play. Landau knows better than anyone that every guitar tells a story and this gorgeous Custom Shop Stratocaster® is a veritable novel.
“Landau poured so much of himself into the Coma,“ said Mike Lewis, Vice President of Product Development and Fender Custom Shop. “And we worked endlessly to capture that same passion with this Custom Shop Model and that meant more than just a one-to-one replica. The craftsmanship and care our team employed in order to create this instrument helped translate the magic that can only come from a beloved and well-used guitar.”
Michael Landau “Coma” Strat celebrates Landau’s iconic career in music. A guitar holds memories that last beyond a lifetime. Introducing the Stories Collection: Michael Laundau “Coma” Strat, a limited edition Fender Custom Shop guitar that celebrates Landau’s iconic career in music.
For technical specs, additional information on new Fender products and to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com and www.fendercustomshop.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender and @FenderCustomShop.
Stories Collection: Michael Landau Coma Stratocaster® guitar ($5,199.00 AUD)
Throughout his session work and solo career, Mike’s constant companion, workhorse, canvas and muse has been a 1959 Stratocaster® called “Coma.” Michael found the Coma, already modified, at a local L.A. guitar shop when he was 16. The refinished body and swapped-out pickups gave him all the permission he needed to customize the instrument throughout his career to match his evolving style and meet the needs of round-the-clock studio sessions. The distinctive, half-stripped Coma Red finish and permanent marker “Coma” graphic make it unmistakable, but the guitar has had several different incarnations over the years, hosting a wide variety of pickups, electronics, hardware configurations and bridges.
The version of “Coma” recreated in the Fender® Stories collection represents the guitar as it exists now. Electronics include custom-designed ML Noiseless™ Strat® neck-and-middle pickups and a custom Wide Range humbucking pickup in the bridge position. Hardware includes a 6-screw vintage-style Stratocaster® tremolo with a cold-rolled steel block, a custom ML-spec neck, Fender ClassicGear™ tuning machines and the signature faded red satin lacquer body complete with a Floyd Rose® route. The Michael Landau Coma Stratocaster® wears its rich history on full display, truly representing a vital artist that’s always in transition. Also included are a “Coma” sticker set, custom strap, Coma pick tin (with limited edition Michael Landau picks) and a custom Coma-embroidered hardshell.
Fender Custom Shop Limited Edition Michael Landau “Coma” Stratocaster® guitar ($15,000.00 USD)
For decades, Michael’s go-to guitar was his 1959 Stratocaster® which became affectionately known as “Coma.” This guitar has evolved along with his playing style, morphing from a Floyd Rose® equipped super Strat® with an on-board boost circuit to its current state as an HSS model with custom-voiced Noiseless™ Strat pickups and a custom Wide Range Humbucker. The beautifully worn red-stained alder body tells the tale of a well-loved guitar that’s seen countless studios and stages across the world, marked with faded hand-drawn artwork and tattered stickers.
Additional features include: ’60s Oval “C” Neck Back-Shape; 7.25″ Radius; 21 Narrow Tall (55095) Frets; Vol/Tone/Tone Wiring with 5-Way Switch; ClassicGear™ Tuning Machines; Bone Nut; Single Butterfly String Tree; Deluxe Hardshell Case; “Coma” Strap; Certificate of Authenticity, “the Story of Coma” booklet written by Michael himself.
The Michael Landau “Coma” Stratocaster is the latest installment in Fender’s Stories Collection, highlighting cult-favorite Fender instruments that have been modified in the hands of legendary artists.