The Story of the “Reach Out to Asia” Stratocaster
On December 26th, 2004, disaster struck in many nations along the Indian Ocean coastline after a massive earthquake recorded at 9.0 on the Richter scale occurred, with an epicenter not far from the coast of Indonesia. What followed were devastating tsunamis that caused unimaginable damage and death tolls in countries like Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and more.
In the weeks and months that followed, many people all over the world came together to lend aid to the victims of this natural disaster. The music industry of course was not just going to stand by and watch, and many iconic artists came together in support of the charity Reach Out To Asia and their aid efforts in the aftermath.
The fundraiser was organized by Bryan Adams, and it was signed by Adams along with 18 other artists including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Brian May, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend, Mark Knopfler, Ray Davies, Liam Gallagher, Ronnie Wood, Tony Iommi, Angus and Malcolm Young, Paul McCartney, Sting, Ritchie Blackmore, and Def Leppard.
As a gesture of unanimous support, the artists all signed a white Mexican Standard Fender Stratocaster, and in 2005 it was auctioned off in Qatar for the massive sum of $2.8 million to Sheikha Mayassa Al Thani, with proceeds donated to Reach Out To Asia.
By the way, the going rate for a brand new Mexican Standard Fender Stratocaster in 2004 was just $350, with the signatures and goodwill sentiment coming up with a value millions of dollars higher. None of the artists had ever even played the guitar, but it was for a good cause as the charity was able to help many people with the funds raised.
At the time, this $2.8 million sale price made the Reach Out To Asia Stratocaster the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction. However, it has since been topped by David Gilmour’s Black Stratocaster, which sold for $4 million in 2019, and Kurt Cobain’s Martin D-18E, which sold for $6 million in 2020.