Mike Oldfield’s Pink Fender Stratocaster

strat_1961_1Frequently spoken of by the man as his favourite guitar, Mike Oldfield owned this Strat from 1984 to 2007.

It is a 1963 Strat, serial number L08044, in fiesta red (visibly a very pink looking red, perhaps due to finish fading, perhaps due to a non-factory refinish either before or after original sale) over sunburst. During the time it was owned by Mike, it was used on 15 albums, and consistently for live work and music videos as well.

Mike has been known to use modified guitars (his 1959 sunburst Strat has an extra two way switch between the original pickup selector switch and the middle tone, a common mod for extra pickup combinations), But it seems from pictorial evidence that this is a completely stock Stratocaster, with the exception of the fact that the volume knob has apparently been exchanged for one of the tone knobs, perhaps because the numbers have worn off the volume.

It was reportedly last used during rehearsals for the 2006 Night of the Proms in Antwerp (this is borne out by photographs of these rehearsals), before it was sold via Chandler guitars to a fan for 30,000 pounds.

The pictures below are in chronological order, and show that the Strat picked up a little more cosmetic damage while in regular use by Mike. More pictures are available at http://tubular.net/instruments/



“To France” video, 1984


“Tricks of the Light” video, 1984


“Tricks of the Light” video, 1984


“Tubular Bells II” Premiere, 1992


“Tubular Bells II” premiere, 1992


“Tubular Bells III” premiere, 1998


“The Millennium Bell” Premiere, 1999


Night of the Proms rehearsals, 2006



My new album “Flowers” will be coming out shortly, and as the process nears an end, you can follow my Instagram page for some sneak peeks and updates. Not to mention a lot of other content to compliment the material on this blog.

Shortly releasing my new album "Flowers". Here's a quick sample! #flowers #newrelease #guitar #slide

A post shared by Thomas Williams (@thomaswilliamsmusic) on

Pete Townshend’s Guitars at Desert Trip


I’ve talked about Pete’s Lace Sensor Stratocasters before, but this year has marked a more substantial change up in his guitars than we’ve seen for about twenty five years!

Gibson recently reissued a Pete Townshend signature Les Paul deluxe, and Pete has been playing one of these onstage, fitted with two Gibson mini-humbuckers and a piezo acoustic pickup.




Even more interesting however, according to the official tour blog, in early September, Pete received some new Strats!

“Pete now has a pair of new Fender Stratocasters made with Gibson “mini-humbucker” pickups, the pickups he used throughout the 1970s. This gives his modern Stratocaster style has a bit more of that old WHO sound. In the olden days, Gibsons were naturally heavier and nastier than Fender guitars, but modern electronics have made Pete’s current Fenders superstrong, and wide-ranging beasts. He has a dozen sounds he gets from just working the guitar itself. He’s also been a proponent of an “acoustic” sound from the guitar; his electric guitars have a special pickup that simulates the strummy sound of an acoustic guitar. He likes to mix the two quite often, and has had this setup for many years now. It’s a unique thing that almost no one else is doing consistently.”*


*You can read the blog at https://www.thewho.com/september-11-2016-oberhausen-arena-hall-oberhausen-germany/

30 Days, 30 Albums – My Albums.

30 albums in 30 days is the challenge. These are my albums chosen in no particular order, other than what I felt on the day.

01 – Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon – 15/09/2016

02 – Elvis Costello, All This Useless Beauty – 12/09/2016

03 – Mike Oldfield, Tubular Bells – 13/09/2016

04 – Roger Waters, Amused to Death – 14/09/2016

05 – St. Vincent, Strange Mercy – 15/09/2016

06 – Pete Townshend, White City: A Novel – 16/09/2016

07 – The Shins, Wincing the Night Away – 17/09/2016

08 – Pink Floyd, The Wall – 18/09/2016

09 – George Harrison, All Things Must Pass – 19/09/2016

10 – Elvis Costello, Mighty Like A Rose – 20/09/2016

11 – Pink Floyd, Animals – 21/09/2016

12 – Mike Oldfield, Amarok – 22/09/2016

13 – Dire Straits, Love Over Gold – 23/09/2016

14 – The Who, Quadrophenia24/09/2016

15 – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Whiplash – 25/09/2016

16 – Pink Floyd, The Final Cut – 26/09/2016

17 – Eric Clapton, Pilgrim 27/09/2016

18 – Tom Petty, Greatest Hits – 28/09/2016

19 – The Beatles, Live at the Hollywood Bowl – 29/09/2016

20 – St. Vincent, St. Vincent – 30/09/2016

21 – The Books, The Way Out – 01/10/2016

22 – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – 02/10/2016

23 – Elvis Costello, This Years Model – 03/10/2016

24 – Roger Waters, The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking – 04/10/2016

25 – John Mayer, Born and Raised– 05/10/2016

26 – Sting, The Last Ship – 06/10/2016

27 – Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach, Painted From Memory – 07/10/2016

28 – The Shins, Port of Morrow – 08/10/2016

29 – Mike Oldfield, Ommadawn – 09/10/2016

30 – Pete Townshend, The Iron Man: The Musical – 10/10/2016

30 Days, 30 Albums – The Challenge


I have recently begun a 30 days, 30 albums challenge, in the hope that somehow it will help me mix and master my new album, which I hope to complete in the same period.

I’m only a few days in, but I strongly recommend the challenge. It’s only by doing something like this that I remember just how little time I manage to devote to actually listening to music, and just how much I actually enjoy it. So if you feel like you need a similar epiphany, it’s an easy way  (I gather the rules don’t necessarily state that the days have to be consecutive).

I’m going to keep this site updated with the list as I go, and you can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/lapelcelery/ if you want to keep track of what I’m listening to in a more visually appealing way… Maybe you’ll get some ideas of your own!

Finally, below is a sample of the pre-master copy of the first track from the new, upcoming album “Flowers”. Enjoy!

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman?”

A review of sorts…


If you already recognised physicist Richard Feynman from his picture, then you’re probably already sold on this post. If you’re not familiar with his life and work at all, then you’re exactly who this post is meant for.

In much the same way as another of my personal heroes Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman has become a hugely iconic figure (putting aside the considerable and numerous achievements and accolades of his working life) as a populariser of not just his own fields of study, but of the appeal of interest, passion and intelligence in general.


To keep a long story short, I’m not particularly fond of review writing. The temptation is too strong to be overly verbose and I nearly always feel like I come across as an egotistical and attention-seeking writer in retrospect.

But once in a while a book, an album or something else that’s just so damn good makes me suspend my self-doubt for long enough to write down just enough words to recommend it to everyone else.

This is a particularly strong example of one of those times.

I find it hard to come upon books (read: authors) which speak to me. This is a particular problem in the field of fiction, so I often find myself reading biographies.

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” isn’t really a biography. It’s a collection of personally dictated stories from Feynman’s life (as told to author Ralph Leighton). And yet it gives such a good insight into his mind that you’d be forgiven for thinking he’d written it down. Come to that, given the astonishing nature of his life, you’d also be forgiven for thinking it was fiction!

I won’t go on, because it would be too easy. I could rave about this book. I have. If you have a passing interest in anything, you will love this book. Every story is a gem. It speaks of a man’s true passion for understanding everything about the world we find ourselves in, and it’s infectious. And if anybody reading it has an experience in their life which has anything approaching the retelling value of just ONE of those in this book, then that story will surely be told many times, to many people.

There’s not much more to say. Five Stars. Full marks. The best book I’ve ever read that I can call to memory, fiction or otherwise.

And if you’re still umming and ahhhhing, pick a story from the book at random (you can find it online), and read it. You’ll go on to read many more. Or skip to a random point in the following video. You’ll like him. He’s Richard Feynman.

Hank Marvin’s Custom Shop Stratocasters

Hanhankk Marvin is inarguably one of the most influential guitarists of all time. The Shadows remain a British institution and comfortably beat out the Beatles and the Stones for the title of the first British Pop Rock band.

But then, they did have a secret weapon.

Hank Marvin’s unique guitar style, the centerpiece of the bands sound, has influenced any guitarist you’d care to mention, from Mark Knopfler to David Gilmour, George Harrison to Pete Townshend, Jeff Beck, the list goes on.

And no wonder he was the first in Britain to develop such a sound. He was the first person in the UK to use a Stratocaster.


Hank’s use of the whammy bar broke new ground for guitarists everywhere, and in more recent years, he has adapted his main instruments to aid this by improving tuning stability.


Fender has released several Hank Marvin signature models, beginning in the early 90’s.

Hank apparently didn’t get along with the Lace Sensors in the earlier models, but lately he’s been exclusively using a more exclusive run


This is the “Fender Custom Shop Limited Edition Dealer Select 1959 Custom Red Stratocaster”. Developed in 2009 by Fender, it is a direct copy of the original Strat Cliff Richard bought for Hank to use in the 50’s.

In “Flamingo Pink” with gold hardware, a birdseye maple neck, and a neck profile and hand-wound pickups to copy the originals, it’s essentially a signature model without the signature on the headstock.


Hank however has made a few modifications. The guitars he now uses have a graphite nut, Fender noiseless pickups, locking tuners, a VML easy-mute tremolo arm, and either graphite string trees or none at all.

It’s a beast of a guitar. But for the purists who prefer the original, Bruce Welch still plays it in the Shadows alongside Hank’s newer model!