Left: Bobby Keys, above, Charlie in the dank basement, Keith with Nick Hopkins, Left Anita, Keith, Gram Parsons and his wife Gretchen. The Telecaster Keith has here-Eric Clapton gave it to him. It is NOT what became the famous 'Micawber' Telecaster. Ted Jones verified that HE (Ted) scored that guitar for Keith following the Nellcote heist.
KEITH’S FIRST TELECASTER
Before embarking on their fifth British tour, which began on September 5 and ended on October 11, the group again gathered at Regent Sound for another recording session, with Oldham producing and Bill Farley engineering. During the September 2 session, three songs were recorded: Howlin’ Wolf’s “Little Red Rooster,” (inset photo bottom right) the Drifters’ “Under The Boardwalk,” and a new Jagger-Richards original titled “Off The Hook.” This was the first session at which Keith used his ’59 Les Paul. Brian played a white Fender Telecaster, which actually was another recent addition to Keith’s collection. Beat Instrumental reported in the fall of 1964: “Telecaster for Keith Richard: Bob Adams of Sound City reports that Keith Richard has bought a new Fender Telecaster, but he doesn’t have any intention of getting rid of his Epiphone.” Brian pictured above live in '64 and RCA Sessions in Hollywood '65 right, photo by Bob Bonis.
KEITH’S HARMONY 1270 TWELVE-STRING ACOUSTIC.
While the Stones were away on their US tour, Mick Bennett finished building Bill’s second custom prototype Vox Wyman Bass. He began using this sunburst Vox Wyman Bass live and in the studio in December 1965.
Ready Steady Go! 1965-This photo was unknown to me at the time the of press-I recently discovered it via Helen Speight's Stones FB fan page. I have NEVER seen Keith use a Gibson SG at this time; in my opinion this is NOT his guitar. This looks like rehearsal on the set and it is most likely owned by one of the other bands on the show at the same time. The only way to prove this is to see the episode which has not seen the light of day since it was aired and is now locked into Dave Clark's vault.
ABOVE: LEFT: Randy Bachman with the Dawes Les Paul BTO era; CENTER: The Guess Who with Randy using his tan Mosrite; RIGHT: Jack Dawes on the left (original owner of the Les Paul with the Pacers Band) and Roy Herman (glasses) who bought the guitar from Jack.
Another addition to the Stones’ guitar arsenal during the Aftermath sessions was Keith’s Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar. Inset: '65 RCA Brian & Keith both use their Hummingbirds.B&W Photos by Bob Bonis; Color photo by Gered Mankowitz
Left: Rehearsal; Right: Charlie before the show
ABOVE: Keith captured by Bob Bonis at RCA Studios with the '59 Les Paul.
MICK TAYLOR & KEITH'S '59 LES PAUL
Above Left: Brian at Regent Sound; Center-Hohner 'Echo' 'Super Vamper' harp like Brian & Mick used; Right: Brian at Chess Studios, 1964
Along with his Vox Teardrop six-string, Jennings presented Brian with a matching white prototype Vox MK III electric twelve-string guitar, also hand-built by Mick Bennett (as with the 6-string). The twelve-string had two pickups (like the six-string), a Vox vibrato system, and a white twelve string--style Vox headstock. The Vox MK III twelve-string was rarely used onstage or in the studio but did make its way onto a Ready Steady Go! television appearance in July 1964. Brian (inset, top left on the show) and Keith (left during rehearsal) can both be seen experimenting with the guitar in promotional photos taken by Dezo Hoffman for Jennings.
Above: Mick Taylor with his walnut brown Gibson ES-355TD-SV which he used extensively during the EXILE sessions. Right (Inset): Before the Nellcote heist: -Marlon watches Mick work out guitar riffs. Taylor's Gibson and his Gibson SG survived, but Keith's prototype Dan Armstrong and Gibson Flying V (that he got from Albert King) went missing. Coincidentally Mick Taylor's SG was gone from the scene after this bringing on rumors it was stolen as well, but when I was recording ("I'm Not Talking" for my old band's 'Let's Go Get Stoned' LP) with him in the early 90's and he used my '67 SG for some of the tracks, I asked him about his SG and he told me he actually gave it to his brother-in-law (at that time-after EXILE) for a wedding present.
Prevost: Boston show-6/24/66-Manning Bowl, Lynn Mass/Brian’s Bijou Vox Electric Dulcimer-I remember you telling me awhile ago about rain and electrical shocks going through Brian’s electric Vox dulcimer …
DD: “We were playing in Boston...we started playing “Dirty Water” as the last song and it started raining. Everyone went crazy and blamed us for bringing the rain and the water and all that. Then when the Stones finally went on, Brian was playing the electric Vox Bijou Dulcimer for “Lady Jane”. The metal folding chair was still a bit damp, and Brian got a shock and bolted out of the chair.”
Prevost: Any recollections on GUITARS used by Keith and Brian?
“Brian had a Vox Teardrop 12-String, and his Vox Teardrop 6-string as a back-up. He also had this big guitar-a Gibson Firebird he used most of the time. It was shaped really weird and had this big pick-guard. It was really big which I remember the most about it.
DD: “They used their own amps, which were mainly Fender Twins. Bill was still using a Vox as well as a Fender Bassman amp.”
July 23, 1966 Show: Davis County Lagoon, Salt Lake City, Utah
DD: “ I remember a really weird show in Mormon Country-it was during the day, a Matinee show. Everyone was really quiet. There would be hardly any applause, and almost no screaming. The whole tour was all girls screaming and chaos and all that. Here they would walk up, take a picture, sit down. It was frustrating for everyone, because we were used to everyone going crazy!”
Prevost: 1964: The beginning of the Standells-did the Stones influence you?
DD: “The way they were dressed was so different, as opposed to The Beatles. Every individual was trying to dress in their own ‘thing’. That is to say, looking like an idividual and keeping up with the times more or less. We started out wearing matching outfits. When the Stones came along, our hair got longer, we got more unruly, and took on a different look. They were a big influence on me personally, as well as the band.”
Prevost: 1965: Tell me about what led up to you (Standells) playing with the Stones on the ‘66 tour…
DD: “When the Stones were in LA, they used to come into a club that we were playing at in LA called PJ’S. The first time we met them-Bill and I had some mutual acquaintances-we were just joking around with them saying ‘Why don’t you take us on tour with you’; Bill said ‘When you get a hit record, we’ll take you on tour’. A year or so later, “Dirty Water” was a hit, and the next thing you know, Burt Jacobs, our manager called and said we were going on tour with the Stones. We just kinda flipped out. We were a little more catered to than just the ordinary rock group on tour. We were WITH the Stones. Limousines picked us up, all kinds of stuff like that. The Tradewinds from New York were on this tour as the opening act. Then the McCoys and us would flip-flop, take turns opening before the Stones. A lot of times, a very local group of every city we played in opened each show.”
ABOVE THE BEGINNING-LEFT & RIGHT: The Pacers circa 1959-1960, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. Publicity photo (Left) Jack Dawes (far left) with what would become the 'Randy Bachman' Les Paul; Ken Lundgren, center, with what would become the 'Keith' '59 Les Paul. Pacers photos courtesy of Larry Kulai.
The following snapshots were taken by Bruce Mosher at the Buffalo NY 1966 show--you can see multiple guitars used by Keith and Brian
EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK: Soon after his return, in late 1959 and early 1960, Brian started playing in local jazz bands, including John Keen’s Trad Band, Jock Henderson’s Dixielanders, and Bill Nile’s Delta Jazzmen. He remembered: “I quite honestly didn’t feel much of an urge to do anything else except play music. I thought about different jobs and rejected them: I knew I’d be bored stiff.” Although he was playing alto sax with these trad jazz bands, he became increasingly interested in playing and mastering the guitar. He continued using his very primitive Spanish guitar, but later upgraded to an acoustic Hofner Committee.
Above, Mick Charlie, Andrew Loog Oldham, Dave Hassinger, Bill, Keith December 1966
Above: RCA Studios, December 1965-note the SUNN amp cartons. Photos by Gered Mankowitz
GENE: “I was in Paris at the time. For some reason I stopped off in London when I got a call at the hotel from Andrew at Regent Sound saying ‘Help!’ He said that Decca needed a follow-up release right away, and the band was fighting with one another and he didn’t know what to do with them. Plus they weren’t prepared for recording the B-side of the “Not Fade Away” single (which they had previously recorded a couple of weeks earlier), you know, they went in with just one song which was typical of the time. Anyway, they needed a B-side at this time and there was a lot of friction over the music between Brian and Mick in particular prior to the session. Brian was very blues oriented, and Mick always knew what he wanted to do. They had a difference of opinion and went at it. So I showed up with one of the five bottles of Cognac I’d brought in with me from Paris to help loosen the band up, which it did. I told them it was my birthday, and it was a family custom that everyone had to have glasses of Cognac with me until the bottle was empty. I think the only reason for hatching the story about my birthday was the fact that it was close to the day (February 17th). Fictitious yes but if it works, use it! We did and it did work. Phil Spector happened to drop in also. He showed up in a big black Rolls Royce, then, out came Phil! I remember laughing when I saw the credits on the album where it said Phil played maracas-it was actually an empty Cognac bottle with a US half dollar! For “Little By Little” which became the B-side of “Not Fade Away” as well as an album track, we just threw together some blues chords. As far as the piano arrangements, I just sort of winged it, you know, pretty much playing blues, a jam more or less. I played the standard full piano, and Ian Stewart played a keyboard as well. I can’t remember if he played an electric one or not. I have to give Andrew credit, he really pulled that session all together.”
PREVOST: Tell me what your remember about Regent Sound Studios …
GENE: “Regent Sound was a GREAT studio. It was just a two-track studio on Denmark Street. Think about it-two tracks! Through a lot of overdubbing an AMAZING sound was produced. The studio was very small. It could hold only seven or eight people. People would always ask me if I was in the control booth with Andrew-you couldn’t fit in the control booth, it was so small. At most you could fit possibly two or three people.”
PREVOST: You mentioned to me last conversation that Andrew asked you to tutor Brian Jones on song writing, and that you worked on some demos with him … any recollections?
GENE: “Oh yeah …but this is very cloudy for me to remember. I sort of recall Andrew telling me that Mick and Keith took to writing songs almost instantly, and Brian was interested as well, but was not sure how to get started. I always thought Brian was more of a musical talent than the others. Anyway, I sat down with him, spent some time with him, did a couple of recording sessions and recorded one or two demos but nothing ever came about from them. He was not really comfortable presenting them to the band so his attempt to write songs never went any further than this.”
PREVOST: How did the recording of “Andrew’s Blues” aka “Fucking Andrew” evolve?
GENE: “This track appeared on a lot of bootlegs over the years, with all the obscenities and all. I can’t remember if they had time left over from the session or what, but this was a result of finishing the Cognac, being drunk, and just having fun. It was a wonderful time. The whole Swinging London scene, and the camaraderie at the time was fantastic in the business. It was just a great time. This kind of thing would happen all the time, something you would never see nowadays.”
PREVOST: What about songs like “CAN I GET A WITNESS” and “NOW I’VE GOT A WITNESS” that went down at the same session?
GENE: “I think those ‘Witness’ recordings were some of the ones (like “Fucking Andrew”) I mentioned that were afterthoughts in the studio, studio jams.”
THE FOLLOWING STORY IS BY LARRY KULAI:
This story is about two guitars. You will find it hard to believe as a musician with knowledge about the Gibson Les Paul. This happened in our city of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. It happened in 1959 when our town had a population of between eight and ten thousand people with one main drag where all the shops were, including Fletchers Music Store where they sold musical instruments and records. The story starts in 1959 when two members of a local band called The Pacers went down to Fletchers Music store and ordered two 1959 Les Paul Standard guitars. The two members were Jack Dawes and Ken Lundgren. The band consisted of five: drums, sax, and three guitars. No bass player. The other guitar player in the group, Norm Jacobs had a 1957 Les Paul Gold top.
The price of the guitars at the time was $299.00 and $69.00 for a Bixby tailpiece. Both Ken and Jack did not have enough money to order the tailpieces factory installed. They ordered them later when they had the money and had them installed locally by an older musician/music teacher. It is a little hard to follow this story with all the names etc. so I will now break it down into two separate stories.
-on the Stones 12/65 RCA sessions using Sunn equipment:
A. “Con was promoting it big time. He was going into recording studios, and he was going down to LA of course, and people at Fender were talking to him who bought him out later. Studios, promoters, he tried to get everyone interested in the product. We were out promoting Sunn. After we’d leave a town Con would say ‘Hey-we just sold a bunch of Sunn equipment to stores like in Boise, Idaho’ or some place like that then of course San Francisco and LA. Sunn just kind of overwhelmed everyone at the time. Con was giving away alot of stuff. He had gotten onto a regular roll with building his equipment. He was originally building in his garage, after everything started to sell he went out and got a warehouse in Tualitan Oregon. He started manufacturing the stuff and started hiring people to build it, then ship it out of that area. I know alot of it went down to California.”
B. “Con was at the Stones concert. He drove everything up. He brought his trucks, set up the sound system. The Stones, at this particular concert, I think they were pretty impressed with the sound. He brought alot of stuff. He brought about six or eight bottoms and tops. He was getting into the concert business. I don’t exactly remember the picture, but all the Sunn stuff was there on the stage, and I’m pretty sure they plugged into them (Sunn amps).
-On the end of the proto-type Sunn amps:
“I remember one time we were coming back from LA, and we got around Oregon, and our van went off of a twenty five foot cliff with all the equipment. It all went flying out the window after the guys went flying out the window. The guys landed in a cow pasture, and when they landed it was sort of soft mud. They came out okay. The equipment, since it was heavy, dropped quickly, and was all lying in the mud. Most of it was destroyed. We called Con and he set us up with all new equipment, we were on our way to Seattle anyways.”
-on the Sunn 200-S (mid-1963):
“I thought they were ingenius. My Ampeg B-15’s were okay and they worked, but I had to ‘Y’ cord them, so I had two of them. Ampeg at the time was also building an 18 inch, one step up from the B-15, it was called the B-18. I had one of those, but I’d blow the speaker almost every time. With the Sunn stuff, you could crank it, and it was solid stuff. The best amps at the time. I started using the 200-S around mid-’63. I don’t know when Con started Sunn, but this is when I started using the amp. They were on wheels as well so you could wheel them in! I still have a 200-S rigg, and one of the B-15’s I used back then.”
KEITH’S 1959 GIBSON LES PAUL STANDARD SUNBURST
In the latter part of August, Keith bought a second-hand 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard in London, which he was photographed playing at a September 2 Regent Sound session. Keith on the soundstage of the TAMI Show 1964-Photo by Bob Bonis. Above, Keith's '59 Les Paul; Top right-Jimmy Page plays Keith's '59 on an Andrew Loog Oldham studio session. NOTE: See further down for an UPDATE concerning the HISTORY of this Les Paul.
DAVE HASSINGER - RCA STUDIOS ERA 1964-1966
The following story is by Deniz Tek, taken from his website. I found out about this guitar and Deniz's story after the book went to press. All text and photos are copyright Deniz Tek. Note that Keith used this guitar recently on his last album "Cross-Eyed Heart".
My old "National”
This story is the amazing tale of my third guitar, a 1958 National Val-Trol “Baron”.
I already had a Harmony Bobcat, my first guitar given to me at age 12, and a Danelectro with two lipstick-tube pickups which I had bought for 15 bucks. The Dan was cool looking and sounded great, but was almost impossible to play due to the high action. I was on the lookout for something better. By this time (1969, age 16 ) I had become enamored with the old blues pickers, especially Lightnin Hopkins. I would sit around with his recordings and try to copy the guitar parts - that’s how I learned.
This kid named Randy at my high school was already a pretty good blues player. He said he had bought a used guitar in a pawn shop in Tonawanda, a little town on the Niagara River in western New York state, and he wanted to sell it since he was going to give up playing guitar and concentrate exclusively on the harmonica. He had an ammo belt full of blues harps - eleven of them, one for every key. He wore this belt everywhere, even to school, so he would always be able to whip out a harp and play, if the moment called for it. I came over to his house. We went down in the basement, where he had his amps and stuff, to check out the guitar. I loved it. It was old, black, funky, beat-up, and had a lot of “blues mojo” in it. It played and sounded good too, although it needed some repairs. Some of the frets buzzed, but I found I could make it playable by sticking little bits and pieces of wooden matches to jack up one side or the other of the bridge, which itself was made of hardwood, or by placing bits of aluminum foil between a couple of the strings and the nut grooves.
I felt like I finally had an instrument that I could learn to play blues on. It was with me in an old acoustic guitar case when I left Ann Arbor, having just turned 18, on a cheap charter flight to London. I was on a musical pilgrimage - I saw the Pink Fairies at the Marquee Club, and jammed in an old house in Beaconsfield with members of Brinsley Schwarz. In a tiny bar in Paris, I was showing the guitar to some new pals when the cops arrived and made me put it away - it wasn’t even plugged in, but it looked loud. I carried that guitar and a backpack around Europe, through France, Switzerland, and Italy on trains and buses. The Orient Express got me to Istanbul from Venice and back. Eventually I got on an Africa-bound ship in Genoa, sailed around the coast and all the way across the Indian Ocean to Australia by early '72.
A year later, in February of 1973, the Rolling Stones toured Australia. It was the “Exile” tour. I had seen them at Olympia Hockey Arena in Detroit in ’69, just a few days before they recorded “Ya Ya’s”. That show was a life-changing event for me. I had seen the light. I couldn’t get enough of the Stones, so when they came to Australia I went to almost every show - except the west coast. I was a student, and it was summer break. I was working at the Davis Gelatine Company in Pagewood - a miserable job, but it was paying the rent and I was able to put a little cash aside. When the Stones arrived, I quit and spent my savings on tickets. I hitchhiked from city to city, going to shows around the country, and often meeting up at the gigs with my pal Lee Taylor who was far from wealthy but had a good paying job at the GPO - he was able to fly or take trains.
I was jamming with various people, playing in pick-up bands, and just getting started with the guys who would form the line-up of TV Jones. My black Baron was really getting hit hard by the change in climate from Michigan to Sydney - the heat and humidity will always throw off a guitar’s set-up, and my guitar was already marginal in that department. I couldn’t afford to have it fixed up, and I couldn’t afford to buy another. But I had read about Keith Richards liking National guitars. In fact I had been up front when he played a National Dobro resophonic guitar at the Detroit show, on Love In Vain, You Got To Move, and Prodigal Son.
I hit on the crazy idea of trading my National guitar to Keith.
It was the last day of the tour. The Stones were playing in Sydney, the second of two consecutive nights at the Randwick Racecourse. I had gone to the show the night before, and filmed from the front row with an 8 mm camera. I met Ian Stewart at sound check, and gave him a bottle of Old Grand Dad bourbon which he placed on the top of Keith's amp with a card from Lee and I. The energy was sparking. There was magic in the air.
I knew they always checked into their hotels under fake names, and I would get nowhere asking for Keith. They had layers of security. More security than Jimmy Carter or the Pope, probably. I would have to go around it somehow. I had read in the Rolling Stone about Keith’s guitar tech, Ted Newman Jones. I went to a phone booth, dropped in a 20 cent coin and rang their hotel on the off chance.
“Um, hello, could you put me through to a guest, please? His name is Mr. Newman Jones”.
“Just one moment sir”
- pause - guy comes on the line with a deep southern drawl:
“Hi, my name is Deniz. I have a 1958 National guitar here. I wonder if Keith would be interested in it?”
“Oh yeah, he likes those. Course, he’s sleepin’ now. Could you possibly bring it around to the hotel after the show tonight?”
“Yeah, I can do that."
“OK, give ’em a couple hours after the show and then come on up.”
It was as simple as that !!
So I went to the concert, and it was great. After the last chord died out, I walked to Byron Street. I had stashed the guitar at my friend Dare Jenning’s house. I hung out there for a while. I told them what was happening, that I was going in to town to bring this guitar to Keith. “Yeah, sure”. Dare was always cool, but most of the people hanging out there didn’t believe it. I wasn’t sure if I even believed it myself.
When I arrived at the Hyatt around midnight, the lobby was a zoo. All kinds of freaks were hanging around, everyone hoping for a glimpse of the Stones. There were black belts in uniform from a karate school at the elevators, hired as security. The Stones had the top three floors, which had a dedicated lift. They weren’t letting anyone go up. I sat there, watched the side show for a while, expecting nothing. I waited about half an hour. Then the lift doors opened, and a very tall African woman dressed in leopardskins came out. She looked around, and then spoke up in a posh British accent. “The chap with the guitar can come up now!” I guessed that was me. I stood up, walked over to the lift, she ushered me in past the black belted security guards, and we ascended.
The door opened to a foyer. Newman Jones was there. He looked the guitar over, and said “Nice! Let’s take it in and show Keith.” Back in the lift, up to the top floor. Keith’s suite was a party. All sorts of VIP’s, crew, people - I didn’t know anyone. There was a tape playing loud through a stereo, the night’s concert. Newman Jones had a word to Keith, and he came over, shook my hand, picked up the guitar. He called for an amp. Someone wheeled in a Marshall half stack. Keith plugged in, stood leaning against a wall, and played along with the tape of the show they had just done.
I got a drink - the first time I ever had real French champagne. Watching people. Feeling unreal - like it was not really happening, a dream sequence perhaps? Mick Jagger came over, asked me who I was. Very nice, very polite. I said I had brought a guitar for Keith, and that I was in a local band. He chatted a while, then flitted off to visit other social bouquets around the room. When the tape finished, Mick announced that he was going to show some of his movies in his own suite, and anyone interested could go there. The room emptied out - they all went with Mick.
The only people left in Keith’s suite were Keith, Mick Taylor, Bobby Keyes and me.
Bobby Keyes was passed out in the door to the bathroom. If you wanted to use the toilet you had to step over him. He was in a coma - unrousable, but still breathing. Keith sat back on a couch, smoking, and playing the guitar. His eyes were a strange colour - sort of a dark violet or amethyst, and very deep - like looking into a remote part of the universe. There was a bowl of joints on the table, pre-rolled, big, like cigars. He said that they had been brought over from Jamaica, where the band had been recording for Goats Head Soup. Keith played a few songs from Exile. The riff from Ventilator. I asked about it - he showed me the open-G tuning that he used. It is well known now, but then it was a revelation. It unlocks the secret of many of those songs, which can’t sound right without that tuning. He told me that you didn’t really need the bottom E string either - you could take that off and it would tighten up the chords, and he had a couple of guitars made as 5-strings for that purpose. While Keith played, and I listened, and Bobby Keyes snored, Mick Taylor sat across the room and spoke very little - just enough to be polite, but clearly distracted or unhappy. I didn’t ask. The night went along like that - guitar playing, a little conversation, me mostly listening and absorbing everything. Charlie Watts came in at one point. I told him how much I admired his drumming. Looking very tired, he said “Fank you” in that deep London accent - and he signed a drum stick for me.
The sun came up. The Stones were leaving soon. Keith said “How much do you want for the guitar?” I said I would take a trade for any of his. He said “Can’t - they’re already packed up and at the airport - going back to France.” I said that’s OK, he could send me one when he got there. He said “I would INTEND to, but honestly it would never happen!” So instead of a trade, we agreed that he would buy the guitar. Keith picked up the phone. “This is Keith - I need some cash.” A minute later a guy who was dressed like an accountant - suit, tie, neatly shaved, conservative haircut - knocks on the door and comes in. This is at 6 am! He hands Keith a stack of money, and Keith signs an entry in a book, and the guy leaves. Keith hands me the cash… about $2000 in today’s dollars. Says “Hey, I hope you’ll go buy yourself a nice guitar”.
I wanted a T-shirt. This was in the days before merch. The Stones didn’t sell anything at the shows, but they had T-shirts specially made for the crew. They were bright yellow, with a green Australia on the front, with the red Stones' tongue in the centre of the green continent, and a jet is flying into it. In script writing ,“The Rolling Stones” across the top. On the back in black block letters it said what the person’s job was : like, “SOUND” or “DRIVER” or “CATERING” etc. Keith’s shirt had “GUITARIST” on the back. That’s the one I asked for. Keith said that he’d already given that one away, but “wait a minute …” he went to his bag (he had a tiny black bag, like a small carry-on, with only a few pieces of very cool clothing in it) and pulled out a light blue T-shirt with “The Rolling Stones” in dark blue psychedelic font on the front. He said “Here - you can have this - it’s from another tour”.
In fact it was from their 1966 tour of America.
So I took my Charlie Watts drum stick, my T-shirt, and my pocket full of cash and went down the lift into the now deserted lobby. Went out into the intensely bright sun. Found a taxi (I had cash!) and went to Lee Taylor’s house where he was just getting up to get ready to go to work. I gave him the drum stick. We got breakfast, and I told him the story. Later that same day I went to Harry Landis Music store on Park St. and bought a new Gibson SG. That was my main guitar in TV Jones, until the end of that year, when I went back to Ann Arbor and picked up an Epiphone Crestwood from Fred “Sonic” Smith. But that is another story! ( Read "the Crestwood story" HERE )
Last week we were watching the new Keith Richards documentary on Netflix. It’s a wonderful film in all respects. I couldn’t have enjoyed it more, until Keith’s current guitar tech, Pierre de Beauport, comes on. He pulls out a guitar, saying that Keith had wanted to get this one worked on. It was my old friend, the black National Baron, missing some paint. It was so good to see it after 42 years - and to know that Keith Richards not only still had it, but that it would be getting some care and attention, and that it might even get played again.
Brian used Keith's Sonic Blue Telecaster in the "Jumping Jack Flash" video. Inset top: Keith '67 with Sonic Blue Telecaster in the "2000 Light Years" video; Bottom inset: Mick '67 "Satanic" era.
Keith Guitar 1962
First prototype VOX WYMAN BASS
On August 1, the last day of the British mini-tour, Bill Wyman unveiled his new Vox “Wyman Bass.” He explained: “At the London Palladium gig, I used my new Vox ‘Teardrop’ ‘Wyman Bass’ for the first time. It was built with small frets and fingerboard to make playing easier with my small hands.”
ROLLING STONES GUITARS- 1962-1968
BILL WYMAN uses a GIBSON EB-O BASS on TYLS "Paint It, Black"
PREVOST: Were any of the Stones present during the “Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind” b/w “I Want To Be Alone”session-and-did any of the Stones participate in the session?
VASHTI: Mick Jagger was there and he mimicked my girly ways and made me go very pink … He and Andrew put in finger clicks and tambourine on the B side - ‘I Want To Be Alone’
PREVOST: Who played the acoustic guitar-and-do you remember what kind of guitar it was?
VASHTI: Big Jim Sullivan, and I just remember a big shiny guitar. Don’t recall what kind it was. I found out recently that John McLaughlin was there – though at the time I would not have known anything about him.
PREVOST: Who was the drummer?
VASHTI: I don’t remember any particular drummer – only that there seemed to be a lot of percussion of different kinds. The session was done in 2 shifts as there was not enough room in the studio to have all the musicians in at once.
PREVOST: Any other personal recollections?
VASHTI: Overwhelming for someone only used to playing by herself with a guitar. I was very shy and probably spoke to no one. David Whitaker, who did the arrangements for both songs, was kind, approachable and fun; he lent the occasion a little earthiness amongst all the starlight. I remember feeling I was in the right place and that everything going on around me was something I wanted, all that making of pop music - I loved just being in it.
PREVOST: What about Andrew Oldham …
VASHTI: Andrew was like a superior being from another planet, a princeling who commanded by the wave of a hand. I adored him from afar, reveling in his irreverence and enjoying the extravagance of his ways - but we never really spoke to each other. He was obsessed with flugal horns, which I found funny, wonderful… different. I guessed when I agreed to record the Stones’ song for the A side rather than one of my own songs that I would be relinquishing any say in the production and I was right. But that was how it was then. It was Andrew who wrested the power from the old guard in the entertainment industry, but it would be a while before the musicians and songwriters began to get their own way with (or without) producers.
EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK: December 1958, he talked his mother into buying him his first guitar. He recalled, tongue in cheek: “It was a matter of knocking on mother for fifteen quid to buy a Rosetti, a beautiful guitar, made of wonderful plywood.“ Rosetti was a UK distributor of inexpensive imported instruments that were branded under the Rosetti name and sold throughout Great Britain. At the brink of the Stones’ initial success, Doris Richards confirmed: “I told him I’d buy him one if he actually played it, but no mucking about. I bought him a cheap acoustic guitar on hire purchase for £7 for his fifteenth birthday.”
The Stones did a brief stint with SUNN at the end of 1965 … I conducted a number of interviews on the subject, but due to the short spell the Stones ACTUALLY USED Sunn amps, the bulk of the interview material was cut or not used-and I will include some here for the first time-I will start with the following EXCERPT from the book so you can get a grip on the Stones-Sunn scene.
Strip: Brian RCA Studios September 6-7, 1965
DAVE HASSINGER SESSION: RCA Studios-Hollywood-DECEMBER 1965
The following was done in 2004 with the late BUCK ORMSBY, Bass Player with THE WAILERS—Quotes concerning SUNN AMPS/SUNDHOLM BROTHERS/STONES SHOW 12/2/65 SEATTLE, none of which was used in the book due to the short time the Stones were involved with SUNN.
Above: BEAT INSTRUMENTAL 1964
BILL WYMAN’S FRAMUS STAR BASS
During August and September, the group began doing more shows on the ballroom circuit. Crowd hysteria and chaos grew with their popularity. Bill was no longer comfortable using his customized fretless Dallas Tuxedo bass onstage, fearing that it might be damaged or, worse yet, stolen. So, he went to the Art Nash music shop in Penge on September 2 and purchased a Framus Star F5/150 bass. Center-a Framus like the one Bill used. He had alternate Star basses as well, but this one he used the majority of the time in this period.
From this point on I will only include UPDATES to the book, corrections and/or things that may have been overlooked, from all periods of the Stones 50 plus years.
PREVOST: How were you associated with the Stones? Was the arrangement done through Andrew Oldham?
VASHTI: I wasn’t associated in any way! I met Andrew Oldham through a theatrical agent who was a friend of my mother’s best friend. I wrote my own songs so was a bit put out to be offered a Stones song to record.
PREVOST: On the recording session: Did you double track most of your vocals?
VASHTI: Andrew insisted on it – I wasn’t so sure as I thought it made me sound out of tune, but I had no say anyway.
PREVOST: Was it a 4 or 8 track studio you recorded in?
VASHTI: 8-track - I think but I’m not really sure.
PREVOST: Do you remember any of the session musicians involved with that particular recording session?
VASHTI: I do; Nicky Hopkins on piano; he seemed so young and shy even to me; a brilliant young man who looked to me like a serious student rather than a pop musician. I was fascinated. Big Jim Sullivan who was big and friendly. Jimmy Page who was beautiful and ethereal looking – we never spoke.
RCA STUDIO SESSIONS-All photos by Bob Bonis @NFA Gallery unless noted
Stones Instruments-Some Cover Shots
KEITH’S 1962 EPIPHONE CASINO-Far right: Photo by Bob Bonis
Above: RCA Studios, Hollywood, California 12-65. Photos by Bob Bonis @NFA Gallery
Keith used a Fender Precision bass on the BEGGARS BANQUET SESSIONS. Brian used a Gibson SJ-200 Acoustic
GENE PITNEY: DATE OF INTERVIEW(s): 6/15/04-6/16/04
Stones 1966 Tour-above and inset bottom left: Buffalo, NY, top right inset, Syracuse, NY, right Virginia
The Stones and SUNN AMPS -November-December 1965
Brian owned two Rickenbacker 12-strings in 1965. In early September, before flying to Los Angeles for another scheduled recording session at RCA Studios, he bought a new Rickenbacker 1993 Model Electric twelve-string. (B&W, photo: Chuck Boyd) It was stolen towards the tail end of the 4th USA tour and he replaced it with a new Rickenbacker 360/12. (Color, photo by Gered Mankowitz). Brian used the 12-string on the studio (one in color shot) and live versions of "Get Off Of My Cloud". Inset: Beat Instrumental '65.
Brian on the 1966 tour with his Gibson 'Non-Reverse' Firebird
MORE on the Stones & Sunn … The following is an interview with BOB GONZALEZ, Bass player for SYNDICATE OF SOUND who was also knowledgeable on the subject of SUNN equipment. The interview took place in 2004 and none of the following information appeared in the book and appears here for the first time.
EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK: Rehearsals at Dick Taylor’s house continued for the Blue Boys, and Keith would even go as far as engraving the name ‘Boy Blue’ on the face of his blond archtop Valencia guitar. Keith related: “My guitar … was Boy Blue-the words written on its face-and because of that I was Boy Blue. That was my very first steel string guitar.” Photo right-Keith with Valencia, Brian with Stratotone '62.
Keith with Gibson HUMMINGBIRD
DAVE HASSINGER SESSION: RCA Studios-Hollywood-September 6-7, 1965
Complete Dave Hassinger story in UGLY THINGS #40 (pictured). Full uncut interview(s) I did over a 2-plus year span. Stones, Prunes, Dead & more. Above center: Dave Hassinger with Mick, RCA Studios 1965. Photo by Bob Bonis @NFA Gallery.
Keith and Brian also received from Gibson (same time as the Firebirds) a matching set of Gibson Heritage model flattop acoustic guitars. Photos by Bob Bonis © NFAgallery.com. Center: Brian also had a Gibson-made Epiphone FT85 Serenader Model 12-string flat top acoustic guitar. Photo: Bent Rej.
Above: Stones & Standells amid the '66 summer tour … From FLIP MAGAZINE feature
Prevost: Tell me about the 1966 US Tour with the Stones …
Dick Dodd: “We did the entire tour with The McCoys...over a month, pretty much cross-country. In the East wing of the tour were in a DC-7 plane, and the outside window cracked, changing the pressure of the plane. Everyone thought we were finished! Tony, our guitar player was making the Sign of The Cross, I was praying and everything. It ended up ok though.”
Prevost: What about the Stones Backline for the tour?
DD: “The Stones brought their own equipment. We got to use their stuff most of the time. They would have their main amps pre-set, but they brought along enough extra stuff that we would get to use the other amps they had.”
PREVOST: I saw some posters that indicated that the Syndicate of Sound were included on the 1966 Stones tour… I know you were not on that bill ...
BOB GONZALEZ: “We never appeared on the Rolling Stones tour. We know that we were solicited for a Rolling Stones tour. The people that represented us, in their infinite wisdom, thought that we would do better if we struck out on our own rather than be seen by the millions of people that would go see the Rolling Stones. It was probably one of the three or four major mistakes that were made in the representation of us in our career that maybe would have made a huge difference in what ultimately happened to the group.”
PREVOST: What was the Stones impact on Syndicate of Sound?
BG: “We formed in August of 1964. We had all been in bands before that, and I could say that I was quote, unquote playing professionally since 1962 when I was a Sophomore in high school. The first time I saw the Rolling Stones, the Syndicate of Sound had already existed. We jumped on that first album, and we all commented on how the material they were doing was very similar to the things we had done, not necessasarily in the Syndicate of Sound, but what we had done in previous bands.”
PREVOST: You saw the Stones-any memories?
BG: “I saw the Stones at the Civic Auditorium in San Jose (May 21, 1965). I really liked what they we’re doing. It wasn’t like they were great players, they were more of an attitude. You know, not like they were a bunch of soloists. What I appreciated was how they put their shows together, the selection of material, and their attitude.”
PREVOST: The Stones and Sunn equipment...Fender equipment…anything you can recall on this subject?
BG: “I remember at some later time (after the May 1965 show) the Stones were using Sunn equipment. It was a little bit later on. They apparently hooked up with the Sundholm brothers of the Northwest as we did. The Sundholm brothers were pretty active in that area. Fender was too, but what they did was get to the Country guys out of Bakersfield, and the Surf guys, Dick Dale, guys like that. The Dual Showman was really an amp that was designed for Dick Dale. They came out with the Dual Showman, but they did absolutely nothing to support the bass reinforcement. We didn’t give up on Fender until we hooked up with Sunn. I remember using a Dual Showman head with two Fender Bassman bottoms...Most of us worked at that time at Music Showcase when we weren’t touring with the band. I remember Fender having really strict requirements on how the amps were used. We literally had to get written permission from Leo Fender for me to use the Dual Showman head with the two Bassman bottoms.
...At the time Sunn only had the Coliseum, so I imagine this would be what the Stones may have been using. A little history on the Sundholm brothers-they were musicians, and they were really close to alot of bands from the Northwest-primarily the Wailers. The Wailers traveled around and did alot of work with them doing R N’ B stuff. They were kind of assemblers. They initially bought Heath kit power amps built them, then came up with a pre-amp, stuck it in a box, bought JBL speakers, stuck them in cabinets (two speakers), and that was their amplification. These were very loud in comparison to Fender. This was the Coliseum model. They were very comparable to the Dual Showman,except they had a little more horsepower. I don’t exactly know if they approached the Stones, but they approached us because we did alot of work up in the Northwest. I have to assume they did approach the Stones.”
THE JACK DAWES LES PAUL:
The band eventually broke up and members got married. Jack sold his guitar in 1964 to a young local boy named Roy Herman for $200.00 with a Harmony amp. In 1968 at a local dance, the Guess Who were playing. The Guess Who were a Canadian band from Winnipeg who had records out but had not made it big yet. A friend of Roy Herman’s asked Roy if he could borrow the Les Paul for the night because their local band was lucky enough to be opening for the Guess Who at the dance. Roy lent him the guitar and Randy Bachman (The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive) saw the guitar and decided to ask if they were interested in trading it for the guitar Bachman was currently using (a tan colored Mosrite). The deal was agreed to after the dance and Randy Bachman was now in possession of this Les Paul. He went on to use it to record songs like “American Woman”, “No Time” and other big hits for the group. The guitar now resides in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, on loan. (Pictured Left)
In late March, after his return from Marrakesh, Keith picked up a Gibson ES-330TD electric guitar. During the March '67 European tour, Brian would mainly use the this as Keith was still under the spell of his Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty.
Keith altered the appearance of his Custom Black Beauty he got in 1966 by painting it with a psychedelic moon illustration.
San Diego November '64 photos taken by Jan Tonessen
(In 'Rock & Roll Circus) Brian appeared with a new Gibson Les Paul Standard Gold Top and Bill with a sunburst Vox Astro IV bass model V273
He continued: “Norm was already in the process of experimenting, trying to figure out a better system. On the very first units, I used a Dynaco Mark III power amplifier that I wired up in a kit form. Then I used a Dynaco PAM I modified for the pre-amp, and that’s what Norm originally used. Later on I had a different pre-amp designed for us that was used in conjunction with that Dynaco Mark III power amp. Then later on we built our own chassis, had our own circuits and that became the 200S.”
Prevost: What about Charlie’s drums? And, how did that work with all the bands and minimal road crew, setting up and all that …
DD: “Charlie had a Ludwig set. The snare drum was a traditional chrome shell Ludwig...during their recording sessions he would use a wood shell snare. In any case, he always had his own set already set up on like a roll-out riser. They had another extra set-also Ludwig, that we would use with the McCoys. We never used Charlie’s set.”
Prevost: Remember anything about the Vox Continental organ used by Brian?
DD: “They brought a Vox Continental organ that Brian played.... all the bands used it pretty much...It was basically left set up on the stage...”
Prevost: As a drummer, tell me about your style, and what you recall about Charlie’s playing …
DD: “On the tour I would usually hang out with Bill and Charlie. Bill and I had mutual acquaintances in LA, and Charlie liked to go out and hear other drummers at the jazz clubs. We were taught by old school teachers that showed us the correct way of playing, rudiments and all that. Watching a good jazz drummer was really more of a learning experience. We were playing overhand, and all the jazz drummers were still playing traditionally, the way we were taught. The left hand wasn’t overhand; the stick was always cradled sideways in the left hand, the way Buddy Rich played. We were taught that way, but we learned to play the other way because it was louder. Charlie played both ways depending on the song he was playing.”
1966 Keith's Guitars
Excerpt from UGLY THINGS #43: Over the years, there was speculation that the ‘Micawber’ Telecaster was possibly the Telecaster that Eric Clapton gave to Keith at the time of the Exile sessions. Jones squelched the theory, “No, that guitar was not from Eric Clapton, it and another one (‘Malcolm’) were some of the ones I replaced when his guitars were stolen at Nellcôte.” Top left-BEFORE Ted Newman Jones modified it with a Humbucker pickup; RIGHT & inset photos-post modification with Humbucker neck pickup.
Keith Guitar: Pre-Stones 1958
April-May 1965 USA Tour-Photos from TEENSET '65-Left Brian uses Keith's Epiphone Casino for open tuned slide on "Little Red Rooster." People get the idea that it was Brian's guitar-not true-he and Keith shared guitars in those days as they had a very minimal road crew.
Sonic blue Fender Telecaster with a maple fingerboard; the second in a long line of Teles Keith would own.
My (Greg Prevost) personal belief, as stated before Larry’s commentary is that John Bowen owned the “Keith” Les Paul after Ken Lundgren parted with it and was the last person to actually own the guitar before Keith purchased it, as I can not imagine during the oncoming ‘beat boom’ in the UK at the time that a guitar like that would be in ‘Limbo’ for nearly 2 years sitting in a rack in a guitar shop with the ever increasing demand for American-made guitars among musicians in bands.
I’d like to thank Larry for bringing forth this interesting historical background and allowing me to use it in the website.
ABOVE LEFT: The Outlaws with Jerry Lee Lewis; Ken Lundgren far left with his new Barney Kessel guitar he traded the '59 Les Paul for; the Outlaws backed Jerry Lee Lewis on his tour of England, May/June 1963; RIGHT: Mike Dean & The Kinsmen circa latter part of 1963; John Bowen, center, with Ken Lundgren's former '59 Les Paul (and soon to be Keith's '59 Les Paul).
San Bernardino '65 photos (left and below) by Steve Hoard; courtesy of Mike Stax/Ugly Things
UPDATES-Corrections-add ons-ALL eras
The Stones signed an endorsement agreement with Sunn, but the deal never solidified. Sunn’s national promotional manager Buck Munger explained: “Plans were made to meet in a Los Angeles recording studio (RCA) to demo the units, take pictures, and sign the endorsement agreement. The units sounded great in the studio, the picture was taken, and contracts signed. Unfortunately, these were very early units and the next time they were shipped, the transformer brackets broke in transit and the heavy transformers broke free and wiped out the tubes rack. So much for the Rolling Stones endorsement of Sunn amplifiers.”Bill Wyman remembered, “There were a few times when people came with amps for us in America. I remember Sunn, and we did try them out for a while, and they did want us to endorse them but I don’t remember anything special about them.” More in the book on Conrad's experience in the studio with the Stones.
Brian bought his Gretsch model G6118 Anniversary from Bob Adams at Sound City, Ivor Arbiter’s other music shop in London. Left-one like Brian's guitar. Right: Brian & Bill 1st US Tour-Pic by Bob Bonis @NFA Gallery.com
Above: Syndicate of Sound; Bob Gonzalez top left in photo
Above: Brian on the '66 tour playing his Vox Bijou electric dulcimer on "Lady Jane"
Bill Wyman-RCA Studios December 1965-Note SUNN cabinet far right-Photo by Gered Mankowitz
Bill Wyman '62-Customized Dallas 'Tuxedo' Bass
DAVE HASSINGER SESSION: RCA Studios-Hollywood-May 12-13, 1965
VASHTI BUNYAN-Interviewed June 2003
1962: Brian Jones Guitars
This is an update on the history of Keith’s 1959 Les Paul by Larry Kulai, a musician who hails from Nanaimo, B.C. and played in local garage bands starting in 1964 in that area, and through the years has maintained a strong interest in music from that era. Larry interviewed Ken Lundgren, Randy Bachman, Roy Herman and Jack Dawes, either by phone or in person in order to put this fantastic and rather complex guitar story together. In order to fully understand Larry’s research and see how it differs in part from what was written and stated in my Stones book, first an excerpt from my book concerning the guitar followed by Larry’s work. Larry will also illustrate how The Stones “Heart Of Stone” and the Guess Who’s “American Woman” are uniquely linked together through two guitars that originated from one band in Nanaimo, B.C.
The Kingsmen (pictured left, with their high-powered Sunn amp back line), who hailed from Portland, Oregon, became very successful after the release of “Louie Louie” in 1964. As the song rode to the top of the charts, their touring agenda branched out beyond the Northwest, with the group playing concert halls and large auditoriums instead of the frat houses and gyms they had been accustomed to. Bassist Norm Sundholm was frustrated that his equipment was not powerful enough to make the transition and contacted his brother Conrad, a high school teacher and electronics wizard, to help him develop a high-powered bass amplifier. Conrad Sundholm remembered: “The very first cabinets under the Sunn name were dual 15-inch JBL D130s mounted in a 24-inch wide cabinet with the 15s staggered with two ports next to [them]. I borrowed $1300 from the Portland Teachers Credit Union to purchase plywood, vinyl, and JBL speakers. Then I had a dream about how to build a bass cabinet.”
BRIAN’S VOX “TEARDROP” *Note this is updated since the book-interview I did with guitar tech Chris Such in UGLY THINGS issue #39 (page pictured above)-new updated info.*
In the beginning of July 1964, Jennings Musical Industries presented Brian with their latest electric guitar creation, the Vox MK III, soon nicknamed the Vox “Teardrop.” The visually striking six-string, a follow-up to the popular coffin-shaped Vox Phantom, became Brian’s trademark guitar; like his distinctive hairstyle, the Teardrop was part of his image throughout 1964 and 1965.
In his February 13, 1963, diary entry, Keith mentioned yet another new guitar: “Got new gitty from Ivor’s! Lovely instrument!” The second guitar in a month Keith bought at Ivor Arbiter’s Sound City was a Harmony 1270 deluxe jumbo acoustic flat-top twelve-string. Pictured right-Keith's original Harmony acoustic. Keith used this on a number of recordings ("Good Times Bad Times" et al) and wrote "As Tears Go By" on it as well. Upon seeing the date of purchase (of the Harmony 12), James Phelge recently (12/16) stated: “Keith never had a 12-string at Edith Grove; certainly not in February 1963. Those Harmony 12's were in short supply in the UK for several years.” In response to James’ comment, guitar tech/expert Chris Such related: Keith absolutely could have had that Harmony 12-string in February ‘63. It was imported by Besson LTD (see catalog right-courtesy of Chris) and purchased on the "knocker" (paid over time).” Keith most likely DID buy it at the time he wrote in his diary, but probably paid for it over time as Chris stated, and it didn’t actually come into his possession until a later time that year (1963; in November he wrote “As Time (Tears) Go By” on it).
Brian's 'Non-Reverse' Gibson Firebird Guitars
RECORDING EXILE ON MAIN STREET-Photos of DOMINIQUE TARLÉ-1971-
EXCERPT FROM ROLLING STONES GEAR:
In the latter part of August 1964, Keith bought a second-hand 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard in London, which he was photographed playing at a September 2 Regent Sound session. He related, “ . . . once we got into theaters and bigger gigs, I found the feedback and howl of those Epiphones was uncontrollable and I started to go for solid-bodies, like the Les Paul.” The guitar was originally owned by a musician named John Bowen, who purchased the factory-stock Les Paul new in March 1961 from Farmers Music Store in Luton. Bowen played it in his band, Mike Dean & the Kinsmen and had an aftermarket Bigsby vibrato installed at Selmer in London before ultimately trading it in for a Gretsch Country Gentleman. The Bigsby vibrato remained intact when Keith bought the guitar. It is stamped with serial no. 93182 on the back of the headstock, confirming its date of manufacture as 1959. *(Photo Left: by Bob Bonis)
THE ROLLING STONES PLAY HOHNER HARMONICAS
With the huge sales of the Stones’ first album in England and the release of “Not Fade Away” in the States, Hohner harmonicas became the rage, with sales booming, particularly in the UK. In early 1964, Beat Instrumental magazine reported: “Hohner Snowed Under Fantastic! That’s the only word, which describes the present demand for harmonicas. Hohner reports that they have orders in hand totaling two thousand seven hundred dozen for their most popular model, The Echo Super Vamper. Dealers will be supplied in strict rotation as shipments come in.” The harmonica or blues harp, as it is commonly called, was an integral part of the early Rolling Stones’ sound, and, at times, Brian concentrated exclusively on this simple instrument in favor of the guitar. Brian once stated his preference: “This is odd. You can play a guitar costing 250 pounds, or a harmonica, like mine, which is just over ten bob. But I honestly prefer harmonica. You get more out of it. You can get a wide variety of sounds . . . and really ‘feel’ the blues.” He continued: “I love the SOUNDS. I like to experiment. I think that is the real reason I prefer harmonica to guitar. I can wail on harmonica.” Beat Instrumental additionally reported: “Now, of course when we see Brian Jones, or anyone else using the very popular harmonica, it’s strange to recall that this instrument has been in use since before 1857, when it was first mass-produced by Hohner in West Germany."
Hohner offered two main types of harmonica at the time, the Vamper and the more expensive Chromatic. On a Chromatic model, one can play sharps and flats with the aid of a slide, as John Lennon had done on “Love Me Do.” The Vampers were intended to produce straightforward diatonic scales, but notes also could be “bent” to produce the flatted tones essential to blues. Hohner’s two diatonic models were the Super Vamper and the Echo Super Vamper, which cost 10/9d and 15/3d respectively. The Echo Super Vamper had ten holes with twenty reeds and was available in several keys. The standard Super Vamper had twelve holes with twenty-four reeds and came in the keys of C and G only. Brian revealed, “I usually play an Echo Super Vamper. They’re made by Hohner and the model is No. 1820/20.”[iv] Continuing, Brian commented on the communal arsenal of harmonicas he and Mick used: “We have a selection of twelve Hohner Vampers in eight different keys.”[v] During live performances, Brian could be seen juggling two Echo Super Vampers, alternating the keys when necessary. Although impractical in comparison to the slide-key Chromatic models, the Vampers were the only models that could attain the proper “blues” sound that Brian and Mick were looking for.
As with the guitar, Brian also taught himself to play the harmonica. He explained his technique: “Lots of people ask me how I manage to wail on the harmonica. I hope they all believe me when I say that it’s just a knack. How do I get a wailing effect on the harmonica or bend a note? You alter the shape of your throat, but that’s about as technical as I can go.”[vi] Mick, like Brian, was self-taught, but said his style is more “feel” than technique. “I wasn’t taught how to play,” he explained. “Just picked it up. It’s a matter of feeling the music, you know. It’s not like it is with [classical harmonica virtuoso] Larry Adler, for instance. Technique is important to him. But for blokes interested in our sort of music, the harmonica is a vitally important means of expression. I just kind of wail into it.”[vii] He continued, “ You have to feel the music to play it properly. You sort of attack the instrument, pouring whatever you feel into it.”[viii] Brian’s enthusiasm regarding the harp was quite infectious and inspired other artists as well. Gordon Waller (of Peter And Gordon), whom he’d met while touring, was one of his “students.” Waller remembered: “Brian and I were very close friends. He came to quite a few of our sessions and taught me how to play the harmonica when we toured with The Stones. Brian taught me a trick with these things: soak them in warm water just before you play them. It doesn't do them much good look-wise, but the warm water makes the reeds softer and more flexible so that you can ‘bend’ the notes a lot more.”Through the years, Mick continued to use Hohner harmonicas. During the early years with Brian, he’d use the Vamper, later the Hohner Marine Band, and then the classic Hohner Blues Harp. In the mid ’90s, Mick preferred Lee Oskar harmonicas to the Hohner models. Brian also said, “Playing harmonica once with Bo Diddley was the greatest thrill of my life.”
Note that the RED text above is in question, and Larry’s research proves a different story. At the time of writing the book this was seemingly the only valid prospect. Although Larry doubt’s the concept that John Bowen actually EVER owned the guitar at any point (as you will read in his commentary), I personally believe he indeed DID own it between the time Ken Lundgren traded it (Larry said 1962) and Keith purchased it (late August 1964); that period of some time in 1962 through and into 1964 as seen in the photographs here from 1964 with Bowen pictured with the Les Paul. When you read on, Larry also points out that Ken had the Bigsby tailpiece installed in Nanaimo before he left for England in 1962, and also pointed out on the color photo of the Kinsmen how the tailpiece is not on Bowen’s Les Paul; it was not uncommon for guys to take it off and put it back on at times. Mick Taylor, when he owned it took it off several times, and put it back on again.
1964: BRIAN'S BLUES
DAVE HASSINGER SESSION: RCA Studios-Hollywood-November 2, 1964
FRAMUS “HUMBUG” BASS In late November, Bill Wyman used a new bass on one of the band’s many televised appearances.
LEFT: Worldwide variations of the first Jagger-Richards composition as recorded by Gene Pitney
THE STONES BRIEFLY ENDORSE SUNN AMPLIFIERS
The group had a day off in between gigs on November 11 and flew to New York to film a segment for NBC’s Hullabaloo, performing “She Said Yeah” and “Get Off Of My Cloud.” Both tracks were mimed instrumentally, with live vocals, and Keith and Brian used their matching Gibson Firebird VII guitars. Appearing on the same episode were the Kingsmen, famous for their version of “Louie Louie.” Keith, Brian, and even committed “Vox-man” Bill were intrigued by the band’s powerful Sunn amplifiers.
Keith and the ’59 Les Paul ultimately did part ways in early 1967, when he sold it to future Rolling Stone Mick Taylor. Taylor was playing with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and his first Les Paul, purchased from Paul Kossoff (then a sales assistant at London’s Selmer Music and later of the British band Free), had been stolen (pictured left in BEAT INSTRUMENTAL). Taylor was in need of another when he got wind that Ian Stewart was selling Keith’s ’59. Taylor recalled, “I met [the Stones] about three years before [joining], when I wanted to buy a guitar from Ian Stewart. I went down there [to Olympic Studios], sort of shook their hands, and said hello, but I really didn’t meet them. They were recording Their Satanic Majesties Request at the time.” He added: “I was sitting in what would have been the vocal booth with Ian Stewart and trying out the guitar. I saw them through the glass window in the studio dressed up in costume, and dressed up like wizards.” The ’59 Les Paul made its return to the Stones’ circle when Taylor joined the group in 1969. Above bottom, Taylor at Hyde Park playing the '59 Les Paul he purchased from Keith (the one Keith is playing in top right photo).
For the September 2 session (above at Regent Sound), Keith had yet another new guitar, a Framus Jumbo 5/97 model acoustic six-string single-cutaway. Above left: "LITTLE RED ROOSTER SESSION" … Brian plays slide on Keith's Telecaster.
GUILD F-212 ACOUSTIC TWELVE-STRING
Above: Stones on HULLABALOO-November 11, 1965
This page is dedicated to The Rolling Stones and the instruments used by them which were illustrated in my book, 'ROLLING STONES GEAR'--Since it would be pointless to portray everything featured in the book, I am concentrating on the GUITARS used by the band in chronological sequence and this will be by no means 'complete' as so it was in the book, and sort of an ongoing process in which I will continue to add onto. At this stage I plan to cover to a degree up to 1968, basically the Brian Jones Era. To continue would be redundant as that is why there is a book. What I am doing here is this: I am including some things that have come to my attention that were not apparent to me at the time of press (text in RED), many of which are concerned with the Brian period; I am also including some additional photos and images that were NOT included in the book. Use the new info here as an extension of the book. Many new revelations that I have discovered since have been published in Mike Stax's UGLY THINGS magazine, so I will post the issue number here for your convenience whenever something 'new' surfaces.
EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK: BRIAN’S HARMONY STRATOTONE MARS ELECTRIC GUITAR-Brian came to the realization that to produce the sounds he’d heard on records---to get raucous metallic tones when playing slide---he needed a proper electric guitar. So, in October 1962, Brian’s friend and ex-bass player Richard Hattrell bought him his first new electric guitar, a duo pickup Harmony Stratotone. Note the above Stratotone pictured (front & back) is Brian's original guitar.
Bill picked up an odd-looking sunburst bass with a body style, headstock, and pickguard like a Rickenbacker model 330 guitar. The popularity of the American-made Rickenbacker guitars and basses in England had prompted some Denmark Street instrument dealers to look for less-expensive Japanese-made Rickenbacker imitations. The Shaftesbury model 3263 bass Bill used on the DAVID FROST SHOW (pictured above) was built by a Japanese manufacturer for the British distributor Rose-Morris. He never used it again.
GEAR FROM GIBSON: A PAIR OF FIREBIRDS
After finishing the session at Chess, the group flew to Los Angeles on May 11 for another recording session at RCA. Before departing the Chicago area, the group swung an endorsement deal with Gibson, which was located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, about 150 miles to the west. Ian Stewart elaborated: “Manufacturers were very considerate. Gibson especially. They sent a lot of gear to us. I was very grateful because they’re stuck out in the wilds beyond Chicago, takes about a day to get to them, even starting from Chicago itself. You can see why I wasn’t too keen to pick everything up myself. We had the lot in the studios, everything we needed, six-strings, solid and acoustic, same with the twelve-strings, oh yes and Bill was given a six-string bass for one number. Gibson let us have quite a few Fuzz-Tones as well. We only used fuzz on a couple of tracks, but Keith gets carried away and tramples them underfoot when he’s raving about on stage. We’ve gone through quite a few like that.”
Keith and Brian ended up with matching sunburst Gibson Firebird VIIs, one of Gibson’s top-of-the-line solidbody guitars.
KEITH’S 1959 GIBSON LES PAUL STANDARD SUNBURST
-Update- August 2017 by Larry Kulai-
TAMI SHOW '64-Color photos from TEENSET-uncredited, but believe they are Bob Bonis photos; B&W photos by Bob Bonis @NFA Gallery
-on THE WAILERS HELPING PIONEER SUNN AMPS (1963):
“Norm (Sundholm) was the bass player in the Kingsmen. The Kingsmen were kind of fans of the Wailers. They came to see us when we played down in Portland, which is where they were from. Norm brought Con (Conrad Sundholm-Norm’s brother) out to a gig we did in a place that used to be a dance hall, it was on the ‘circuit’. Norm brought Con out to look at our equipment. At this time I had two Ampeg B-15 flip-tops. Each had a 15 inch speaker, and I used to ‘Y’ cord them and use both amps. Norm liked the bass sound I got from this since he was a bass player himself. He liked that sound I had with the Ampegs, but when he brought Con out to see us, Norm asked me if I would like an amp designed in which two 15 inch speakers would be put into one bottom and create an amp which was kind of based on the Ampeg and the Fender Dual Showman amp. He would kind of mix them both together. There were two transformers on the 200-S. Anyways, he came out and heard us, looked at what I was using, the B-15’s, and he said ‘What would you think if I put two 15 inch speakers in a box, then build a top with tubes’-of course there was nothing else at the time except tubes...he would build this thing called a 200-S. It wasn’t called a 200-S at the time, but it was sort of a sample of what he could do. Norm also wanted that bass sound himself, so Norm worked on the project with Con, who was a really interesting fellow. He was very knowledgeable in electronics, and he was sort of an inventor. So anyways, he built this box and put two 15 inch speakers in there-I think they were Jensen speakers; possibly Ampegs since they were making their own speakers at the time as well. Then he built the top, he kind of perfected it, and he gave me one, and said ‘Try this’, and I thought it sounded pretty good. That became the Sunn 200-S. Then he thought ‘Well, what else can we do here?’, okay, let’s build a guitar amp, geared it toward the guitar which became the Sunn 100-S. He did the same thing, only with one 15 inch speaker. He built this for Neil Anderson, our guitar player. He rigged up our whole band with Sunn equipment. All the innovations-The 200-S, the 100-S, the portable Hammond organ, and the Coliseum were the brain-childs of Con. I think Norm was working in his little factory at the time-it was actually a garage where he was building this stuff. He would always perfect something then give it to us. Like the 200-S, that was kind of the working model, he kind of perfected it, made the designs, put the Sunn emblem on it then gave it to me- the original proto-type for the amp. All of what Con gave to us was the original proto-types of what would become the 200-S, the 100-S, and the Coliseum PA System. The Coliseum was very innovative at the time, you had your bass bottoms, crossovers and all that, plus it was portable so we could travel with it in our van. The board was just basically a big amp with a master control, a volume control, and controls for each of the mics. He built monitors for this later on. He pretty much had everything going, and I don’t remember any other companies being that innovative and having that many products.”
-on the first portable Hammond M3:
“Con asked Kent (Morrill) our organ player if he could cut it down and make a portable out of it. He removed all the electronics which were encased within the Hammond frame, and built his own tray, put the electronics within this, but still had to deal with the sliders, so he had to figure all that out, and he built an amp which would also trigger the Leslie. In any case, he cut it down and put chrome legs on it. Out of the back of the organ was about 60 short cords that went down to this amp, the sounds would go through the amp, then into the Leslie. That was the first portable organ that I can remember outside of the Farfisa. The first portable Hammond organ. I think he ran into trouble with the Hammond company because he put the name Sunn on this, and I think they sued him. ”
-on the Stones 12/2/65 Seattle show/Stones using Sunn in RCA same time period: (Photos from contact page right by Gered Mankowitz)
“He (Con) was getting into the concert area, and we were doing concerts at the time. When you did your own concert you had to bring your own PA. The Coliseum seemed to be the best thing for that. He then got himself involved in going to the circuit dance halls, doing basically a backline with his equipment. When we opened for the Rolling Stones they used the Sunn Coliseum PA System for that particular event. He started getting involved with all of the promoters at a time when promoters were growing into their own also-independent around the country, not just the big ones. He’d drive the stuff out and set it up. “
Above, Keith uses Brian's Rickenbacker, a rare sight.
I did a lot of interviews while working on the Stones book-many of which only a sentence or small portion would be used in context of the storyline-The following was done in 2003 with the late DICK DODD/Lead Singer/drummer of the Standells —Quotes concerning the 1966 Tour with the Stones/Stones in general-full uncut interview.
TED NEWMAN JONES III-See Ted's story and last words and thoughts on his days with the Stones, Keith and the future of his Newman Guitars line (that continues with Jeff Smith at NEWMAN GUITARS) in UGLY THINGS issue #43 (above). Center-The 'Perfect' 5-string Ted Newman Jones III prototype 'Keith Richard' guitar. Right: Ted with Ronnie Wood. At the time I was writing the book I could not locate Ted for an interview or to verify things written, most of which are correct based on fact. In this interview/story I conducted with Ted (for UGLY THINGS) weeks before his passing, he verified things and the Newman Guitars story is updated and clarified. An essential addition to the book.
Keith played a Fender Precision bass during the Olympic Satanic Sessions.
On the subject of “The Only Girl” (a demo they cut at Regent on 11/20-21/63 with George Bean) which became “The Girl Belongs To Yesterday”:
PREVOST: Tell me about how you initially met the Stones and how the collaboration of” The Girl Belongs To Yesterday” came about …
GENE PITNEY: “I knew the Stones prior to the THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS appearance (11/23/63), due to the fact that Andrew Loog Oldham was my publicist before he discovered the Stones. I remember him telling me that he had this group that I had to listen to who were tearing up audiences everywhere. They looked really wild, like Neanderthal men, with their hair even longer than it looked in the pictures from back then. A friend of mine I brought with me from home had a picture taken with four of the Stones, with Brian in the middle. When he brought the picture back home his wife said ‘Who are these four ugly broads with you?’ Long hair was unheard of then. Anyways, he had an office in London, which later became the Immediate Records office. Whenever I was in London either for a TV show or an appearance I would always stop off to see Andrew. It was a great time, ‘Swinging London’ and all that. Usually the Stones were there also, hanging out, and we got to be friends. They said they had this great song called “The Only Girl” which they recorded a demo version of with George Bean. They weren’t happy with the way it turned out, and played the demo for me. I listened to it and loved the track. I told them to let me change the melody so it would fit the vocal harmonies which I was having success with at the time, and was recognized as my style. I then recorded it at Olympic Studios, went back to New York with the recording, and played it for Musicor Records, who I was signed to at the time. They loved it and released it as a 45. This became “The Girl Belongs To Yesterday”, which was technically the first appearance of a Jagger-Richards composition.”
PREVOST: Upon the request of Andrew Oldham, you were involved with the Stones recording session at Regent Sound (Feb. 4, 1964) for the rumored “NOT FADE AWAY” session which was in fact the “Little By Little” session …
THE KEN LUNDGREN “Keith Richards” LES PAUL:
In 1962 Ken moved to London, England. He joined a band called The Outlaws with Richie Blackmore and Mike Berry. They recorded records, were in a movie and would back up famous North American acts when they toured England, including Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent.
Ken came in contact and socialized with all the groups in London at the time before they made it big, including the Beatles, Stones, Kinks, etc.
In 1962 Ken bought a Gibson Barney Kessel model from Selmer Music on Oxford Street in London. He traded his Les Paul in on the guitar. The Les Paul was then purchased by Keith Richards. Ken was told this by employees at Selmers Music Store. Keith used this guitar to record hits such as "Heart Of Stone.” He later sold it to Mick Taylor in 1967 when he joined the Rolling Stones. It was sold by auction in later years by Richard Henry guitars in England.
The Gibson website states that only 434 Les Paul Standards were made in 1959 and this model went on to become the holy grail of rock guitars.
ABOVE: Regent Sound Studios, February 4, 1964, Left-Andrew Oldham, Brian, Mick, Keith, Gene; Right, the Stones with Phil Spector (left), Gene Pitney (sitting).
ABOVE LEFT: Roy Herman holding the Mosrite guitar that belonged to Randy Bachman; CENTER: Randy Bachman with Larry Kulai, Nanaimo, May 28, 2014 during a concert with Randy and Fred Turner; RIGHT Roy Herman with Randy, same time. Photos courtesy of Larry.
Keith's 'Micawber' Telecaster
GREG 'STACKHOUSE' PREVOST OFFICIAL WEBSITE
KEITH’S HARMONY METEOR H70 GUITAR
A few months after Brian got his Harmony Stratotone, Keith followed suit and bought a brand new Harmony Meteor H70 electric guitar. Center-my Meteor which is like the one Keith used.
Excerpt: Bill Wyman: "I built my own bass guitar because we didn't have money to buy guitars in those days. And bass guitars weren't that common anyway.”
ABOVE PHOTOS, right of the text: The Outlaws circa 1962; Ken Lundgren far left in both photos with the '59 Les Paul that Keith would own two years later.
BRIAN'S PROTOTYPE VOX 12-STRING
Left: Keith with prototype Dan Armstrong; Right with Gibson Hummingbird
The above illustration and the following details concerning this were edited and NOT INCLUDED in my book.I did the illustration above from memory-I had one of these in the early 70's-lost it-I read an interview with Keith back in 1967 and it was one of the interviews I COULD NOT re-locate over the near 10 years I researched and wrote the book. As a result, the editor said that my memory was 'not substantial evidence' to prove the existence of the device I drew and described. Anyway-this is from CHAPTER 7: THEE SATANIC SESSIONS: PHASE THREE JUNE-JULY SESSIONS . . .
On "Citadel", Keith created the high-pitched ‘pings’ or ‘rings’ heard on the tremolo guitar by using a metallic, tubular hand-held device. The device could best be described as looking like a thinner version of a Danelectro lipstick pickup, approximately two to three inches in width with a thin metal loop attached, a standard male guitar cord intact on one end, the cord roughly five feet in length (which plugged into the guitar), while the other end was female where a standard guitar cord would plug into it to an amp. The loop went over the middle or ring finger and held the metal tube firmly along the upper palm of the strumming hand, synonymous to the principle of the novelty ‘handshake buzzer’. The high-pitched ‘ringing’ sound was produced when the device was brought close to the pickup and touched across the strings after a chord was struck ringing loudest when flush across all strings which was sometimes difficult to achieve when using a pick as your hand had to open almost flat to a degree.
1973: Keith purchases a 1958 National Val-Trol Baron from Deniz Tek
GUILD FRESHMAN M-65 GUITAR
Chris Such brought this guitar up on a recent FB post-in my book-it was concluded that it was a 'customized Gibson'-an educated guess-at the time no other 'guitar guys' had any other concept of what it was-other than that--Frank Homet responded with the following, which to me is the only satisfactory explanation as to what it is-Gibson would have had their logo on the headstock no matter what-in any case here is Frank's quote: "Mansfield guitars were, for all intents and purposes, early Ibanez. They made a few versions of the Hummingbird, and this looks just like one, unless I am wrong, of course. But the pickguard and pointed headstock say Mansfield".
Excerpt from Rolling Stones Gear-Chapter 6:
’52 GIBSON GOLD TOP LES PAUL
LEFT: On “Paint It, Black,” Keith played a 50's Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty for the first time ever. Above, Keith plays a Fiesta Red Precision Fender bass during the "Between The Buttons" sessions