After Special Part I with Ben Granfelt`s Fender 2007 Namm Special-63 Custom Shop Stratocaster. (look below for that article), he will show us his Daphne Blue 1963 Fender Startocaster. All Live Pics by Peter Schepers.

The story of my -63 Strat. My other passion besides playing guitar is martial arts. I have a second degree blackbelt in Karate and a first stripe blackbelt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In the -90s I was teaching Karate for higher belts in Hombu the Karate club of the University in Helsinki. One of the brownbelts and a good friend of mine Harri Moilanen suddenly told me he no longer plays guitar professionally and wondered if I’d like to use one of his guitars…. I had no idea he even played guitar but said ”yes, I’ll check it out” thinking it would be an Ibanez or something similar. But to my schock and suprise it was a Daphne Blue -63 Fender Startocaster! The frets were pretty worn out so I immidiately had it refretted with Dunlop 6100 frets. 2 of the pickups were originals of which one was rewound. The bridge pickup was a DiMarzio hs3 if I remeber correctly. I changed all pickups to Kloppmans in early 2001. Now I’ve since then owned and tried plenty old Strats ranging from -56 to -65. We’re talking about 30+ Strats!

This one is a one of a kind and mine forever now. It came to Finland from France with Harri in the early -90s I believe. At that time he thought it was a refin and I believed so too when I got it. I used it quite a lot in Wishbone Ash 2001-2004 and it was on all my albums from ”All Want To Be” ( 2001) onwards. A lot of my guitarist friends used to tell me that it sounded bigger than my custom shop Strats with a humbucker in the bridge position, many wanted to buy it. Since it wasn’t mine yet only on loan from Harri I decided to make an offer and buy it from him. He told me he payed around 5500 Finnish Marks for it ( just under 1000 eurs) so I made him an offer of 6000 eurs which he happily accepted. We both made a good deal I think. Some time in 2008 or 2009 I had a gig in Oldenburg in Germany where they also have a Vintage Guitar Show which we decided to attend. I had some friends there who said bring your Strat… so I took it with me. Up to this point I’d had it with me on almost all gigs and tours. The experts at the VG Show ( I believe my good friend Andreas Kloppman was one of them) took a close look at it to check it out. After some speculating and silent whispering they came to the conclusion that it was an original Daphne Blue factory colour over a sunburst finish. During the early -60s Fender had so many sunburst bodies done that when they introduced the new ”custom colours” they just resprayed the sunburst bodies. ”What does this mean I asked ?” Well, it ment that it’s value doubled to around 12,000 euros!

My first reaction was something like ”Holy Shit! I can’t take this on the raod anymore!” After this the guitar stayed at home and only made some occsional appearences in Finland on gigs. It was still one of my main recording guitars and I wrote a lot of songs on it. It was my main guitar on ”Kaleidoscope” along with a Tyler Burning Water and my Les Paul but not on the road. In 2010 I got divorced and it hit me quite hard so combined with a burnout I stopped touring to spend time with my young kids and recharge my emotional batteries.

In 2011 I sold it to my friend Ari Saarela who at that time lived in Dubai. He knew my situation and said let’s make a contract where he was the owner and I was the keeper. It was a genuine helping hand to someone in need of help and I’m forever in gratitude to Ari for it. I ended up selling my collection of old Strats ( a -57, -58, -61 , -62, and a -64) during the next 4-5 years, It hurt but since I didn’t gig as much and when I did it was with Los Bastardos Finlandeses which wasn’t exactly a ”Strat” band. I consider the time spent with my kids a better investment. In 2014 I regrouped my band and we released ”Handmade” and started to tour again. The -63 Strat was used in writting some of the songs and the recording sessions but not on the road. I paid Ari back the same year and we tore up the old contract. In 2016 I released the album ”Another Day” and you can see the Strat on the cover infused with a Bonsai tree. It pretty much summed up what the guitar meant to me. If I remember correctly I sold it in 2018 to finance the recording of the album My Soul To You. That really hurt but there was no other option since I was financing the recording/production myself. Fast forward to march 2021… As we all know Covid 19 fucked everything up, no gigs, no work, restrictions, uncertanty about the future etc…. times were mega shitty! Luckily I was approched by Juha Tolonen and Petri Matero who wanted to open a new guitar shop in Helsinki and wanted me as ”shop manager”. They had a special consept and the opening hours were perfect for me, thursdays-fridays 12-17 and saturday 12-15. Check out the shop here Not long after the opening the guy who bought the Strat walks in and wants to sell it through our shop…. I was devastated… here was my favourite Strat close but yet so far away with a price tag of 14500 eur!

Everyday I’d walk in to the store I’d see the guitar, pick it up until the first customer would walk in… I played it a lot!! And felt miserable for having had to sell it earlier, my mistake! A lot of people came in to try it out after the word got around that it was for sale again… but with that price tag and the Covid times no ”real” player had that kind of money, me included. One day late april 2 young blues players ( when I say young I mean 30+! ) walked in and were really serious about buying it, even Juho Pitkänen a young Finnish guitar hero came in ( he was very close to buying it back when I was selling it) to try it out. I was in a confused state and very uncomfortable with the situation on this friday evening, was this it? the final goodbye? When the guys left and I was about to close the shop for the day I put a sign saying RESERVED! on the Strat… not knowing how I was gonna deal with the situation but I knew I couldn’t let the guitar go.

The next morning on my way to work my phone rang with a numder I didn’t recognise… I answered: ” Hello, is this Ben Granfelt?” ” Yes” ” This is ( I’ve since forgotten the name ) from Nordea Bank, are you happy with how we have handled your affairs during these times? Is there something we can do? Would you need a loan?” I go; ”Let me think for a second….. YES Please !” In may this year the guitar became mine again. Since then the guitar has been with me on every gig and it will be in the future too. I think this was faith and it was ment to happen that the guitar is back with me again.

Guitar Special Vol.4 mit Ben Granfelt

more from Ben Granfelt on

Ben Granfelt Band – Blue Notez Club Dortmund 22.10.2021



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