Everyone knows the musician’s story, but few know the guitar’s. Here are a few of the stories behind the guitars that produced some of the greatest songs in the history of music.
Back in 1970 — before online music stores had the best deals guitar multi effects pedals and other sound equipment — Eric Clapton decided to check out a Nashville music shop’s musical instruments for sale. There, he came across a rack of vintage Fenders that were priced well below their actual value at $100 apiece. Seizing the amazing deal, Clapton bought six. He gave a few away, and decided to experiment with the remaining sound equipment. Taking the best parts from each one, he built a super-strat, which he dubbed Blackie, that he’d go on to use for several years.
Similar to the way Clapton took apart and reassembled sound equipment to make the best product possible, Eddie Van Halen used both spare Gibson and Fender parts to create his legendary Frankenstrat. The parts cost him a total of $130. He then used all kinds of resources to complete whatever he didn’t have, like bicycle paint for the finish and old vinyl records for the pick guard.
Back in 1969, Willie Nelson sent one of his guitars to a sound equipment repair shop in Nashville. The guy there told him he couldn’t fix it, but the sound equipment shop did have a Martin for sale that he thought the musician might like. Sight unseen, Nelson bought it for $750. When it arrived, it was love at first sight. Nelson then named his new favorite guitar after Roy Rodgers’ horse, Trigger.
For ever great guitar, there’s a great story. If you know of any other amazing tales from the annals of rock history, feel free to share in the comments. Great references here.