Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 102
thinking, "Oh, I'm gonna use
an Echoplex on this and a Fuzz
on this. I'm gonna try a tweed
Deluxe miked from 50 feet," or
whatever. There's beauty in that.
Eddie Van Halen put a post on
social media on the 40th anniversary of
Van Halen's first record. It said, "That
entire record is my Super Lead plexi
head with the Variac turned down to
89 volts, a 4x12 slant cab, and an SM57
on every song in the entire record.
Nothing changed." And for a second
or two I thought, "What are we doing
here, playing two different guitars on
every song?" (laughs) I mean... Wow!
But whatever, it's the love of the chase.
tonality. It's got the lowest lows and the highest
highs and the biggest
midrange. I tuned down a
whole step from open G to
open F, and this monstrous sound
came out of that guitar. So I knew
what I'd be playing on that song.
People have asked, "Hey, what fuzz
are you using on that?" And I tell
'em, "Nothing. It's The '55 Gold
through a '76 50-watt JMP head
and 4x12 cabinet. That's it."
I used my '63 Esquire on almost
every other song because it was so
right at home for some reason. I'd
grab another guitar sometimes
but end up thinking, "Nope...
Back to the Esquire." It ruled
At times, did it occur to you that a
certain guitar would work particularly well for a certain song?
Where'd you get that guitar?
Yeah, and a good example is "Flesh
and Bone." The guitar on that is an
Echopark '55 Gold I've had for a
few years. It's a single-cut with Gabriel Currie's version of a Filter'Tron
pickup in the bridge. It's a big, nasty,
beefy, wide-open-sounding pickup
with a beautiful, broad range of
In Houston, at Rockin' Robin,
three years ago, maybe.
Do you prefer an Esquire to a
Tele if you're dealing with the
I kinda do. Much like the
Junior/Special thing, there's no
4) This '57 Les Paul Special made its way to Starr during
the making of the 2015 BBS album Holding All the Roses.
"A friend brought it by and I had to have it. And he knew
that would happen. It was entrapment, really (laughs). It's
the cleanest one I've ever seen; when he took it out of the
case, I thought it was a new Custom Shop guitar. I picked
it up and was like, 'Oh, Lord...' It's all original. The tuners are in good shape - nice and smooth, hold tune."
5 & 6) "I have a lot of Juniors, and this one's really clean," Starr
said of this '58 (left). "It's funny how they're all different - even
same-year guitars will be so different, and this is a good one."
He digs the '59 (right) because it has a less-common neck profile
with softer edges. "They're both great players, but they're apples
and oranges almost. They even sound a lot different; the '58 is
louder, the '59 warmer. I don't think I've ever played a Junior I
didn't like, but it's amazing how different their output can be."