Object of the Day

Sting's Fender Stratocaster

October 2

This black-bodied Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitar was owned by rock icon Sting, who turns 68 today. Sting bought the guitar in Manny's Music Store in New York City in 1978, and wrote many of his hits, including "Message in a Bottle," on the instrument. He donated the guitar to the Smithsonian in 2017.

Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitar, used by Sting


1978 Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitar used by Sting. Serial number S908109. The guitar has a black body and a light wood neck. The guitar has 2 knobs for tone and one for volume. There is a patch where the paint has worn on the back from "buckle rash" aka Sting's belt buckle rubbing on the back of the guitar.

Sting (Gordon Sumner) purchased the guitar new at Manny's Music Shop in New York City in early 1979. It was his first professional-quality electric guitar, and it is the instrument with which he wrote the songs for the final four studio albums by his rock band, The Police. The guitar featured in his recordings and rock n roll performances in the United States, as well as when collaborating with some of the most significant jazz musicians of their day, including Branford Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland, and Darryl Jones. The guitar featured prominently on Sting's solo U.S. tours during the mid-late 1980s with this ensemble, and it features in "Bring on the Night," the 1985 documentary that probes his work with American jazz musicians.

Rock star Sting organizes and performs at benefit concerts for such causes as human rights and rainforest conservation. He joins many American celebrities in contributing their talent and star power for causes.

Currently not on view
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation
date made
Credit Line
Gift of G. M. Sumner
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 39 in x 12 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in; 99.06 cm x 31.75 cm x 11.43 cm
Object Name