Note: this page is a perpetual work in progress and is updated frequently. Check back often for updates. Last updated 21 January 2014.
This may or may not be a definitive guide to the electric guitars I’ve owned over the years. Eagle-eyed readers will spot a trend over the years and also a seismic shift at the end of the millenium. Perhaps seismic shift is a little strong but what you will notice is that, having started out as a Strat then Tele guy, I’m firmly in the LP style, twin humbucker camp and have been since 2000, the year I bought my first Les Paul.
I suppose the thing is, it’s not the tool so much, it’s how you use it. And how you use it depends so much on what the guitar gives you – not just in playability and technical stuff like that – but in vibe, feel, mojo, call it what you will… Currently, the Les Paul mojo is with me, but who knows what the future will bring.
What I look for in a guitar
I hate to be shallow but looks play a part. Any guitarist who says otherwise is lying, LOL. I want the guitar to look gorgeous, look fantastic on the strap, and make me feel good. Of course, playability and quality of finsh and manufacture are important, especially the neck size which is something I seem to be especially sensitive to, but it has to have mojo, that indefinable thing that all guitarists (perhaps all musicians) need to feel in their instrument. What is mojo? Too difficult to explain, like love, you just know when you have it kind of thing.
I’m a fan of humbuckers (though I have a soft spot for the wonderful single coils on G&L ASATs) and really like actives, specifically EMGs. That’s a subject for several articles, I guess, as the active vs passive pickup camps can get quite polarised. I just find that EMGs give a clarity with high gain sounds that sits beautifully in a mix (live or recording) and cuts through in a nice way. The fact they are noiseless and easy to fit/change are additional bonuses.
Looking for my guitar amps? Check out the Amp timeline page.
In reverse chronological order, ie most recent at the top:
PRS SE Dave Navarro
Stock image. I haven’t had a chance to take any photos yet!
I’ve lusting after one of these for quite a while – even though it’s a PRS and I’ve never really connected with any PRS in the past. Apart from its stunningly clean and simple good looks, it has a Wide Thin neck profile which – hopefully – I will find much more “me” than the Wide Fat PRS necks I’ve played in the past.
Purchased: Musix.ch, 13 January 2014
Gigged: Maybe. Who knows?
Rehearsals: Not yet.
Gibson Billy Morrison Signature Les Paul
More details coming soon. In the meantime here’s the lowdown from the Gibson site: Gibson Billy Morrison Signature Les Paul.
Gigged: All gigs in 2013
Rehearsals: From June 2013
ESP Eclipse II AHB (Aged Honey Burst)
Purchased: Leadmusic, 30 Apr 2011
Sold: Currently for sale, as at 5 Jan 2013.
Gigged: No (though it has been taken as a backup to a few gigs)
Rehearsals: One Phazy rehearsal in December 2012.
Gibson Les Paul Slash Appetite – SOLD
Limited edition of
600 1200 examples worldwide. This is the “Standard” version, not to be confused with the high-end, mega-bucks VOS version released at the same time (2010). Read more about my Gibson Slash Appetite Les Paul.
Purchased: Musix.ch, 13 Jan 2011
Sold: July 2013
Gibson Les Paul 2008 – SOLD
Purchased: Wildwood Guitars (USA import, 2009?)
Gigged: Yes, Cochon Concert and one BAG jam night
ESP Eclipse I CTM
Stock image. I really should get some photos up of my Eclipse.
Purchased: Leadmusic, 27 Dec 2008
Gigged: Yes, every public gig since purchase except for the Cochon Concert
Rehearsals: Yes. This is my current #1 guitar with the Phazys.
Purchased: Guitar Bitz UK, 27 Dec 2007
Gigged: Yes, the inaugural BAG jam night plus some private parties
Rehearsals: Yes, during PhazyLuckers “mark 1”, ie before Roxy joined the band
PRS Singlecut – SOLD
Purchased: Boullard Musique, 12 Feb 2005
Rehearsals: Yes, plus many AMR atelier sessions
Gibson Les Paul R7 Historic Aged Tom Murphy – SOLD
Purchased in Mar 2005. Read more about my Gibson Les Paul R7 Historic Aged Tom Murphy.
Purchased: Charlie Chandlers Guitar Experience
Fender Telecaster FMT
Purchased: Chandlers Guitars, 31 Dec 2003
DeArmond M-75 – SOLD
Maybe purchased in 2001 or 2002. Sold to a private buyer in early 2004 as part of my gear clear-out prior to moving to Switzerland. Read more about my DeArmond M-75
Purchased: Chandlers Guitars (possibly)
Sold: Early 2004
Rehearsals: No. Maybe once, at a Transtone rehearsal.
Gibson Les Paul Classic
I have a very soft spot for this guitar though, to be frank, it is not the best LP I’ve ever played. Take a look here to see the transformation of this guitar from classic rock to modern rock/metal machine. This purchase signifies the “seismic shift” mentioned at the top of this page, the shift being me switching allegation from Fender S-type and T-type guitars to Les paul / twin humbucker / single cut guitars. Really, this was a big change: different sound, completely different playability, etc, due to the bound neck, slightly shorter scale, and a heavier instrument. The latter point should not be underestimated. My LP Classic is not weight-relieved and, these days (thanks to my bones getting older), playing this guitar for much more than an hour at a stretch brings out the shoulder ache. Interestingly, this guitar is the one I’ve owned for the longest period (more than 13 years now), and although there have been periods when it never got out of the case, for example when I was using the PRS or ESP Eclipse, I keep coming back to it and enjoy playing it. Now that it is sporting EMG active pickups, I generally use it as my late-night “home practice” guitar via a Vox Tonelab LE and headphones. There is also something about the colour of these older goldtops that I adore. Yes, it has a few scratches and dings here and there (inevitable after 13 years of ownership and 4 years of regular rehearsal and live use), but the color is amazing.
Purchased: Guitar Village, 31 Dec 1999
Gigged: Yes (Transtone, PhazyLuckers “mark 1”)
Articles about this guitar:
Les Paul Classic – Pimping my ride
Gotoh Magnum Lock Kluson-style tuners for Les Paul
G&L ASAT Custom
Ordered in May 1997 from Chandlers Guitars for GBP 1249, against a part exchange of the DC-5 for GBP 700.00. Custom order: ASAT Special Body, Alder, solid black finish, black hardware, silver machine heads (actually delivered with black tuners), black 3-ply scratchplate, 2 x Seymour Duncan pickups, G&L No.1 maple/rosewood neck. Guitar was eventually delivered on 1 Oct 1997.
Purchased: Chandlers Guitars, 1 Oct 1997
Gigged: Yes (Cage)
G&L ASAT – GONE
Purchased: Chandlers Guitars, 1 Apr 1995
Sold: Given to my daughter, 2010.
Gigged: Yes (Cage)
Fender Stratocaster MIJ – SOLD
Purchased: Kingfisher Music, 1986
Sold: 2001 / 2002? Sold to a private buyer.
Gigged: Yes (Persuasion)
Ibanez Roadstar II RS135 – SOLD
Note: This isn’t my guitar – it’s just a photo of the same model I found online. Mine was exactly like the white one.
Purchased: 1984? (Could have been late 1983)
Sold: Not sure. Perhaps a few years after I had purchased the Strat, as I recall having two guitars for a period in the 80’s, maybe even into the early 90’s. Memory, eh?
Gigged: Yes (Television Skies)
Westbury Standard – SOLD
Note: This isn’t my guitar – it’s just a photo of the same model I found online.
Sold: I think I sold this to someone during my final year at University – though I really can’t remember.
Gigged: Yes (UC4)