I recently watched on YouTube an excruciating interview between George Harrison and Dick Cavett.
Dick asked George - ' So what did you say when you last met John? '
George replied 'Hi'
Dick said ' So what did John say in reply ?'
George 'He said Hi back.'
I was reflecting afterwards that had Dick asked George which guitar he most enjoyed playing over the years, he might have had a more rewarding interview - and it would have certainly been far more interesting! I reckon George would have said ' Rocky' which was his 1965 Fender Strat used on all albums post 'Help' and famously painted in 1967 using Day-Glo paint. The guitar made an appearance in the Beatles' live performance of "All You Need Is Love and on 'I Am the Walrus' in the Magical Mystery Tour TV film. Andy Fairweather Low played it at George's tribute concert – what a lucky man, but he deserved it!
So which guitars do I use with Silhouette?
There's quite a collection in the corner of our music room...accumulated over the last 40 years.
When practicing acoustically I use my early 1980's Yamaha Dreadnought FG – 335 – it's getting a bit worn at the edges now but remains a fantastic instrument with surprising levels of volume for its class.
My other Yamaha is a FGX 720SCA electro- acoustic. It's my back-up guitar at gigs in case I snap a string... which is pretty often! Its ok but the sound is a bit sharp for me thus its been relegated.
The Peerless PJ-60E is my principal guitar used at gigs. Again, an electro-acoustic made in South Korea and pretty dependable. It's nice, balanced in weight with a solid spruce top, rosewood fingerboard and Fishman EQ. The sound is terrific and blew me away when we recently played at the Glaston-Bury festival.
As you might expect, being a Beatles nut, I also have an Epiphone EJ-160E John Lennon Signature which I imported from America about 15 years ago. I recently replaced the tuning pegs so its sounding much better now and staying in tune. Yes, it might get an airing in the near future!
Onto my electric guitars.
In order to get that early Beatles sound, I rely mainly on the Gretsch Electromatic Duo Jet with a Bigsby. George Harrison used one in the early Beatles recordings and it featured on the cover of his album Cloud Nine (1987). Fab guitar and I love the raunchy sound it makes.
My second electric is an Epiphone Dot – again a similar guitar used by George circa 1965 and is really good for the more country numbers played by the band. It's a bit heavy on the shoulders and as I'm getting on in age, I use it only occasionally.
Finally, my most recent acquisition is a Fender Strat ( Mexican) with neck, middle and bridge humbucking pickups. No need for me to say much about this classic other than it can do anything you want it to do – such a good instrument, well balanced and so flexible. I chose it in Antique Olive which looks cool.
On reflection, perhaps I should have gone for a Strat in Sonic Blue like George and painted it in Day-Glo paint!
Sir Rockin Rod
By Rod Peters