Pete Townshend Strat Update!

sjm-l-oslsun-0813-18You don’t have to go any further than this very blog to know Pete changes his stage setup frequently, but recent times have brought a simple, unusual change to Pete’s stage guitars.

At the Outside Lands festival (perhaps earlier), Pete was sporting a series of his usual Strats, with a new feature.

Above the piezo volume knob behind the trem system, his Strats now feature an emory board, on which Pete can be seen sharpening his pick during the set!

 

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Mark Knopfler’s Pre-CBS White 1964 Fender Stratocaster

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One of the benefits of being one of the best selling songwriters, not to mention most famous and idiosyncratic guitarists, of the last hundred years is that Mark Knopfler has his pick of vintage instruments.

This is his white Strat. A 1964 Fender, in “too-good-to-be-true” condition.

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This Strat toured with him on the Sailing to Philadelphia tour in 2001, being used for different songs at different times, and was one of the principal instruments in the recording of that album. It can be heard playing the lead parts in both the title track and “The Last Laugh” on the record.

 

For the more recent “Tracker” album, the guitar was set up for slide for the song “Lights of Taormina”

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Note the cheeky “Money for Nothing” reference in the design on Mark’s slide!

Apart from it’s clean appearance, the most interesting detail on this guitar would appear to be the small ‘catch’ which has been installed on the pickup selector switch.

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One would assume the switch is still the original 3-way selector, and this small ‘catch’ is to hold it in the in-between bridge/middle position.

To hear Mark talk about this guitar, check out the mini-documentary “Tracker: A Track By Track” on YouTube!

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Roger Waters’ Black Fender Stratocaster

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During the “Us and Them” Tour, Roger has been playing what appears to be a vintage Fender Stratocaster on a few tracks. There isn’t much information online, but it’s clearly a well-worn instrument, which if it’s a genuine Fender, suggests either a custom shop model or a real vintage instrument. There doesn’t seem to be a CS logo in pictures, so my bet would be on the latter.

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The small headstock and Transition logo suggest a 60’s instrument, earlier than the large headstock came in (very late ’65). To my knowledge, Fender don’t produce anything like this guitar at the moment.

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UPDATE 10/10/2017

Gus Seyfert, who worked on “Is This The Life We Really Want”, and toured on the “Us and Them” tour with Roger, often posts gear pictures on his Instagram page.

https://www.instagram.com/gusseyffert/?hl=en

It would seem that both this Stratocaster and the interesting bass I posted about a little while ago belong to him.

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Andy Fairweather Low’s Stratocasters

401px-Andy_Fairweather-LowIn his career as one of the most reputable session guitarists in the world*, Andy Fairweather Low has used many different guitars. From the late eighties/early nineties, as a part of Eric Clapton’s (and in 1991, George Harrison’s) band, he used Eric Clapton signature guitars with Lace Sensors almost exclusively, but he has since stated in interviews

“I never got on with the lace sensor pickups. I found some old humbuckers and actually, some new P90s. I like the sound they make.”

I have yet to see any evidence of his P90 guitars, but for a long period beginning in the late nineties, he was often seen with some Eric Clapton Strat’s, heavily modified with these Humbuckers.

There is little more to be said about these guitars, except that he appears to have had at least five different versions, two each in Black and Olympic White, fitted with either one or two Humbuckers, and a red version with three, as seen at the ‘Concert for George’ .

AFL

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For anyone interested in seeing and hearing his Black Strat in action, check out his amazing solo in ‘Money’ from Roger Waters’ ‘In the Flesh – Live’ DVD.

 

*Andy has played with the likes of Bob Dylan, Roger Waters, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Elton John, Jimi Hendrix, David Crosby, The Band, Richard and Linda Thompson, Dave Gilmour, The Who and Pete Townshend, BB King, Joe Cocker, Steve Winwood, Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, Jimmy Page, Ronnie Lane, Linda Ronstadt, Roddy Frame, Emmylou Harris, Joe Satriani, the Bee Gees, Jeff Beck, The Impressions, Lonnie Donegan, Ringo Starr, Steve Gadd, David Sanborn, Benmont Tench, Warren Zevon, Charlie Watts, Mary J. Blige, Dave Edmunds, Georgie Fame, Bonnie Raitt, Otis Rush, Phil Collins, Van Morrison, Gerry Rafferty, Chris Rea, Buddy Guy, Chris Barber, Jackson Browne, Bill Wyman and Sheryl Crow, amongst others.

George’s Bangladesh Stratocaster (Update)

I recently saw this video of John Lennon and George Harrison recording John’s ‘How Do You Sleep’, and noticed an interesting footnote to my earlier post about the Bangladesh Concert Strat.

It seems George’s Strat of choice for the sessions was very likely the Bangladesh Strat before it was sanded to it’s natural finish.

Let’s take a look at the info we have.

  • The Bangladesh Concert took place in August of 1971, recording on Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ (on which ‘How do You Sleep’ appears) finished by early July of the same year. Consistent with George having time to strip the finish between the two.
  • The sonic blue Strat in the video has a maple neck, and a mint green 3 ply pickguard, an uncommon combination indicating it comes from the crossover period between Fenders white single ply, maple neck combination and the rosewood boards which were to become standard later. The Bangladesh Strat shares these features.
  • The Strat isn’t set up for slide at the CFB as this one is here, but it would be when George taped his Dick Cavett Show performance on Nov 23 with the sanded Bangladesh Strat, so George was known to use it for slide, and seems to have favoured the instrument during this period.
  • The spacing of the 12th fret markers on the fretboard is consistent between both.
  • This Strat has the same strap as the Bangladesh Strat.

So, if my suspicions are accurate. Not only have we identified that the CFB Strat was originally sonic blue, we’ve determined that the finish was stripped between George’s recording sessions for ‘Imagine’ (probably ending early July) and the final CFB rehearsal on July 31!

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Guitar of the Day 06/12/2015

Snowy White’s Gibson Les Paul Goldtop.

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Many people know Snowy from his work in other bands such as Thin Lizzy, or for his work with Pink Floyd and Roger Waters over the years. Whether in his capacity as a backup guitarist or as a solo performer in his own right, his Goldtop was always by his side.

The instrument has undergone many changes, some of which are:

  • New Wiring
  • New Bridge (Gift from Peter Green)
  • Refret
  • Out of phase pickup selection. (Originally via a toggle switch on the back, now changed to a pull/push pot in the bridge tone position.

After 45 years of service with Snowy, the guitar was auctioned in early 2015, selling for almost US$95,000.

Premier Guitar did a fantastic interview with Snowy (as well as the other guitarists) during Roger Waters’ “The Wall Live” tour, as part of their “Rig Rundown” series, which you can find here.

Guitar of the Day 27/11/2015

George Harrison’s Bangladesh Stratocaster

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In the prevailing mood of my week, I’m going to continue with another George-related post.

Not much information is available on this Strat as George, to my knowledge, was only once seen publicly with it outside the Bangladesh concert and rehearsals. This was when he played slide on it during the performance of the song “Two-Faced Man” by Gary Wright and the Wonder Wheel on Dick Cavett’s show, before giving a lengthy interview.

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The guitar appears to be a late-fifties to early sixties model Fender Strat, as it has a transitional combination of a maple neck and a 3-ply pickguard.

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Since George rarely talks about acquiring new Stratocasters, it’s possible (but by no means confirmed) that this guitar was the one gifted to him by Clapton when the latter was in the process of building “Blackie”. Clapton brought back six Strats from a US tour and gave one each to George, Pete Townshend and Steve Winwood, taking the best parts of the remaining three and putting them together to make “Blackie”.

According to George, he personally stripped the finish from this Strat accounting for it’s bare wood appearance. He later claims to have given the stripped Bangladesh Strat to Spike Milligan, who identified a sunburst Fender as the bangladesh Strat during a later interview , suggesting a refinish.

This post has an interesting part 2 HERE.

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