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August Issue
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Book Excerpt: "Rolling Stones Gear"

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Keith Richards’ 1954 Fender Telecaster – “Micawber”
When Keith first acquired the guitar it had a stock single-coil Telecaster pickup in the neck position. He has since modified the guitar with a neck humbucker. Keith has used Micawber for countless recording sessions and live shows, and it’s still one of his go-to guitars. The finish on the top bout has been worn away by Keith’s years of strumming with his pick. Note that the black inlay dot on the 17th fret is missing. The original tuners are long gone, replaced by a set of modern Sperzel locking tuners.

Keith later had the original Fender bridge replaced with an aftermarket solid brass bridge. The bridge saddle for the sixth string has been removed because the guitar is set up as a five-string in an open tuning. The Telecaster bridge pickup had also been replaced with a Fender lap steel pickup. Notice that the pickup is held in with only two screws.

Bill Wyman’s Framus 51/50 Star Bass De Luxe
Bill Wyman nicknamed this bass the “Humbug” bass because its wood stripes looked like a popular striped English candy of that name. The hollowbody bass was like Bill’s first Framus bass, with the same pickup configuration but with a smaller body and no f-holes.

It had an arched laminated top and back with white binding, a multilayer laminated neck with a bound rosewood fingerboard, and an adjustable rosewood bridge, with “Star Bass” engraved in the tailpiece. The Star Bass De Luxe had the same style of black Framus pickguard/pickup and electronics assembly as Bill’s larger cherry sunburst Star Bass. It came in what Framus called their “New Line” finish, a natural finish that showed off the brown and yellow stripes of the instrument’s laminated top. Bill’s “Humbug” bass didn’t appear much until January 1965, when it became his guitar of choice on stage and in the studio.

Brian Jones’ Vox MK III “Teardrop”
This guitar was custom built for Jones by Mick Bennett at the Jennings factory in Kent, England. It was a one-of-a-kind prototype with some very unique features. The back originally had a black cloth pad that attached with eight metal snaps. The Fender tremolo block on the back of the guitar had to be carved down to compensate for the thickness of the guitar’s body.

The bridge for Brian’s Vox guitar is actually a Fender Stratocaster tremolo bridge with the side of the metal bridge cut off where the hole for the vibrato arm would usually screw in. 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. Brian first used his Teardrop at a July 11th performance at the Spa Royal Hotel, Bridlington, Yorkshire. From this point the Vox Teardrop was Brian’s guitar of choice, which he alternated with his Gretsch Anniversary during the next few months.

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