John Graham Mellor, better known by his stage name Joe Strummer, was the
co-founder, lyricist, rhythm guitarist and lead singer of the English punk
rock band The Clash.
Strummer's main guitar throughout his career was a 1966 Fender Telecaster
that originally came in a three-color sunburst with a white pickguard.
Strummer acquired the guitar in middle of 1975 while playing with 101ers.
After joining the Clash, the guitar's body and pickguard were refinished in
grey auto primer and then painted black. By 1979, the word NOISE was
stenciled on the upper part of the body, a rastafarian flag sticker was
placed at the horn of the pickguard, and an "Ignore Alien Orders" sticker
was placed above the bridge. By the release of Give ‘Em Enough Rope the
guitar was fitted with a bridge with individual saddles and the original
Kluson tuners were replaced with later model tuners and a large question
mark was spraypainted on its back. The guitar would remain in this
configuration throughout his career with the addition of different stickers
on its body. The guitar's black paint became worn down due to Strummer's
playing and on many places the original sunburst finish and bare wood shines
through, except for the square where Strummer taped his setlists. The Fender Custom Shop has created a Joe
Strummer tribute Telecaster with a reliced flat black finish. Strummer is
naturally left-handed, but learned to play guitar right-handed, he has
attributed this as a drawback and claimed it caused him to be underdeveloped
as a guitarist, although his style of playing is unique to him.