Build Your Own: Nile Rodgers 'Hitmaker' Stratocaster

Build Your Own: Nile Rodgers 'Hitmaker' Replica

Potentially the most iconic guitar of all time, Nile Rodger’s ‘Hitmaker’ is named as such, for it’s appearance on countless hits throughout the decades. Rodgers has wielded his legendary Stratocaster with Chic, Sister Sledge, Duran Duran, David Bowie, Jeff Beck, Michael Jackson… the list goes on!

Now it's your turn to build your own ‘Hitmaker’ and take it on its own unique journey! Fingers crossed it brings you as much success as Rodgers!

The ‘Hitmaker’ holds a particularly special place in the history of Northwest Guitars too; it was one of the first guitars we gave away in our competitions. Our replica was painstakingly created and reliced to faithfully emulate the Hitmaker, both visually and sonically.

And now it returns for a new chapter, as the second feature in our ‘How to build’ series. We’re going to take a look at the story and history of the Hitmaker, the parts you need to build it, and how you could relic it to match Rodger’s 50 years of wear and tear. 

The Hitmaker, Making History!

The ‘two-billion-dollar-guitar’ has been played by Rodgers for 50 plus years, featuring on everything from Sister Sledge’s disco hit, ‘We Are Family’ to Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’. The impact Rodgers and his Hitmaker has had on the pop music landscape is undeniable, it’s easy to argue that he is one of, if not the most important guitarist in music history. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, let’s take it back to the 70s.

In 1973, Rodgers picked up a 1960 Strat at a music shop in Miami Florida. Not quite happy with it, he stripped the original finish and repainted it to match his hero, Jimi Hendrix’s Olympic White Strat, as seen at Woodstock. He also added a chrome plated brass scratch plate and easy-to-spin speed knobs for quick volume control.

Similar to Clapton’s ‘Blackie’ we discussed in our previous installment, the Hitmaker is a bit of a mongrel, with a ‘60s body and a ’59 neck, it’s truly unique to Nile Rodgers and embodies the spirit of his unique play style.

Build Your Own

Building a replica of your favourite guitar is a pursuit many guitarists undertake, so if you're favourite is the Hitmaker, we're here to guide you along the way! We'll take you through all the parts you need, why they're important to the Hitmaker and offer some alternatives to suit your own version of the build!

Olympic White Hardtail Body

The foundation of your very own Hitmaker, our Strat compatible body is built with precision and durability in mind! The classy Olympic White finish and comfortable contours will age gracefully, just like Rodgers' Hitmaker.

Over time, Rodgers' Strat has taken a substantial beating, so if you're going for the relic look, our nitro bodies are ideal!

Whether you decide to artificially relic your body, or allow it to take knocks over the years - the nitro finish will age beautifully!

Maple Stratocaster Neck

This thin C Profile Neck is designed for ultimate comfort and playability, but for that extra bit of authenticity - you could sand down the back of the neck a couple of millimeters to match the wear and tear of the real deal!

Fender Custom '69 pickups

The heart of your Hitmaker, these Fender pickups will give you that classic Strat sound! Rodgers' iconic tone has developed over the years and these classic pickups are the ideal starting point!

Fender Classic Hardtail Bridge

For supreme stability, this 6-saddle classic bridge allows for perfect intonation. Rodgers' iconic style of playing relies heavily on a stable bridge and perfectly intonated saddles.

Sperzel Chrome Locking Tuners

One of our most popular tuning machines, these Sperzels maintain pitch-perfect tuning with ease. However, if you’d prefer to keep it 100% Fender - their F Locking Tuners are a fantastic alternative!

Fender Chrome Plated Brass Scratchplate

A huge part of the Hitmaker's aesthetic, this Chrome Plated Brass Scratchplate supplied by Fender adds that extra slice of style! Or alternatively, you could pick up one of our silver Anodized Scratchplates for that all NWG build!

Everything Else

To finish off your Hitmaker build, we’ve got Speed Knobs, String Ferrules, and all the electronics you need! Our Deluxe Strat wiring kit is the perfect drop-in solution for your replica!

A Road Warn Relic

Now we come to a crossroads, would you like to artificially relic your replica, or would you prefer to do it naturally by gigging it for the next five decades?

If that second option sounds like too much of a commitment, we’ve got you covered with our ‘How to relic’ guide! You’ll want to have some reference photos handy, so here are some from our very own 'Hitmaker' replica!

Final Thoughts

We hope you find this blog helpful in your pursuit of recreating this iconic guitar! If there’s a particular guitar you’d like to see in the next installment email us at: with your suggestions and if you have trouble locating any of the parts needed this build or are looking for suitable alternatives, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Happy building!

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