The "Machine Head" Strat from Dec 1971.

The "Machine Head" record from Dec 1971 was a milestone in Deep PurpleĀ“s history. So the main guitar which was used by Ritchie during this recording session, becomes legendary. For the session, two Strats were at the ready - the rather new early 1971s sunburst one-piece maple neck with skunk stripe and unlacquered fretboard and the older black maple neck as a backup. The 1971s sunburst had an unintentional special feature by the Fender factory. The facts: this 71s guitar neck was yet fitted with a 4-bold neck screw but with a skunk stripe. But at the headstock, it was not fitted with a bullet like a regular 71s Fender Strat. Above the nut was a walnut spot, furthermore only one string tree was installed instead of two and with the "WITH SYNCHRONIZED TREMOLO" logo. This neck was obviously a mix from the specs of a 70s Strat neck with some details from the new 71s Strat necks. Or in other words, this 71s neck should have a bullet and a 3-bold tilt-neck attachment. Remember, exact during this time (early 1971), Fender switched the neck design from 4-bold to the 3-bold adjustable neck and a few other features regarding the neck. I assume that there are several existing transition-solutions, to use the existing stock of already produced necks.

Ritchie used this "Machine Head" Strat as his main guitar between early 1971 and early 1973. This axe was used at the Beatclub show (Sept 71) and the Machine Head recording session (Dec 71) until summer or autumn 1972. Then during a heavy showcase, this fine guitar was rather damaged by Ritchie at the headstock. Nevertheless, Ritchie played this guitar until early 1973. Than the axe was finally destroyed by Ritchie and was replaced by a newer 1972s sunburst Strat with a scalloped, lacquered fretboard. This guitar carries all specs of a standard 72s Fender Strat like a bullet truss-rod at the nut and 3-bold tilt-neck.

71s Strat Beat club show autumn 1971
Ritchie's '71s Strat, Beat Club show Sept.'71, in full detail
One-piece maple neck with skunk stripe
'71s neck with 4-bold neck screw and skunk stripe
Machine Head recording session Dec 1971
Ritchie playing the 71s axe, beside to see to old black Strat
The 71s Strat in Machine Head session in detail
The 71s Strat in Machine Head session in detail, clear to see the walnut spot and the WITH SYNCHRONIZED TREMOLO Logo
Machine Head session,'71s sunburst Strat, with full details at headstock
The '71 Strat, now in the BBC Radio 1 "In Concert" show, 9 March 1972 - London, Paris Theatre.
Early 71s Strat in summer 1972, still with full headstock
Now the 71s sunburst with damaged half headstock
The half headstock axe in action
'71 sunburst Strat, damaged headstock, 3. Feb 1973 in Denmark, Veljby Risskov Hallen, Aarhus. Ritchie´s Denmark picture with friendly permission of Torben Skott
'71 sunburst Strat, damaged headstock, in early 1973. You see also Roger's heavy modded Rickenbacker bass with the two slanting mounted Jazz-Bass pickups.
Zoomed detail at damaged headstock in 1973
Now, the end of the 71s Machine Head one as backup for showcase in 1973
Here a pic from www from this ultra-rare early 1971s, 4-bold, skunk stripe, one-piece maple neck with walnut spot
The neck date of this ultra rare 1971s

My special credit to Eddie from www.eddievegas.com, an extra-fine Fender special shop, for his friendly permission about the pics about this ultra-rare Strat neck. Here, Eddie's full picture gallery about this neck.