Famous Rock Guitars Part 3

Now we continue our quest of famous guitars and the artists cherish them… Here was Part 1  and Part 2.

Bruce Springsteen and  Neil Young’s guitars

Bruce Springsteen’s Guitar

Bruce has stuck with this guitar from the first album until now. You see this guitar on his Born to Run album. When I saw him in 2000 he was playing it. Bruce bought this in 1972 in Phil Petillo’s Neptune New Jersey guitar shop for $185. Now the guitar  is said to be worth between $1 million and $5 million…pretty good investment Bruce!

The guitar is a composite assembled from parts from at least two other Fender guitars. The bolt-on neck dates from a 1950s Fender Esquire guitar. The Esquire decal on the headstock indicates that the neck came from the single-pickup variant of Fender’s more-popular two-pickup Telecaster. The body is a 1950’s Telecaster

The guitar had been originally owned by a record company and was part of the payola scams of the 1960s. It was rigged with four pickups wired into extra jacks that would each plug into a separate channel on the recording console.

Petillo removed the extra pickups and returned the guitar to original Telecaster shape before he sold it Springsteen, but a huge side effect of the routing was that the Tele was now really light, giving it a sound a feel unlike any other.

Bruce had Peillo modify it over the years. He added his  triangular Precision Frets, a six saddle titanium bridge, and custom hot-wound waterproofed pickups and electronics so they could better survive a sweat-soaked 4 hour show.

Bruce has now retired the Esquire from road duty, so these days Springsteen plays clones on stage, but still records with the original.

Neil Young’s “Old Black”

Neil Young is known mostly as a singer songwriter but he is a hell of a guitar player. He is one of my favorite rock guitarists. He doesn’t play lightning quick and that is a good thing…it’s playing with feel that many guitar players forget about.

Neil Young acquired Old Black in 1968 through a trade with Buffalo Springfield member Jim Messina, who traded Old Black for one of Young’s orange Gretsch guitars (Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins).

The guitar made a humming sound so he dropped it off at a guitar shop in LA. When he came back, the shop had closed for good and lost one of the pickups. To replace the lost pickup, Neil added a Gretsh pickup that didn’t quite sound the way he wanted, but it stayed that way until Larry Cragg found an old Firebird pickup and installed it. Then Old Black was restored to its former glory and that Firebird pickup is still installed on the guitar today. It was roughly resprayed to jet black, and received a new Tune-o-matic bridge (not available when the guitar was produced) and a B-7 model Bigsby vibrato tailpiece.

The neck pickup has always been the original P-90 pickup, but it is covered by a metal P-90 cover. Neil is still playing Old Black to this day and he said he will until he dies.

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

52 thoughts on “Famous Rock Guitars Part 3”

    1. Thanks Jim…I try to put in a little for both…most of them are Frankenstein guitars…a neck from this guitar, a body from this guitar, and son on. Clapton would come to Nashville to Gruin guitar and play all of them and say…give me this neck, that body…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No…and that was disappointing to me…at least not that I could find.
      I was going to do just rock but with Trigger’s entrance…I blew that to hell. Near the end I might add some guitars like that…and could included one of mine.

      Most of the famous guitars are Frankenstiens. A neck from here, a pickup from there, and etc.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t blame him for that…I don’t care how rich you are…playing a guitar worth 1-5 million…would be nerve wracking.

      Plus I would not keep my eye off of it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yea someone stealing it….that would be on my mind.
        Just like McCartney’s Cavern bass…is still out there somewhere after someone stole it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. They are works of art to me…I would rather hold and play Springsteen’s guitar than meet him…no offense to him.


  1. Like Jim said, a little of the technical stuff goes over my head but it’s very interesting nonetheless. The story of Springsteen’s is amazing with it being a kitbash from two guitars, and waterproofed!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! My favorite part of the Hard Rock Cafe (perhaps you’ve been?) is the atmosphere. Always really awesome to see the guitar-mounted walls and retro rock n roll playing on the television sets. I like the food, sure, but the style is what sells it for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yea…we have one in Nashville when it’s opened. I told someone before…I would rather play Springsteens guitar than meet him…no offense to him…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The first video showing where Bruce got the guitar and where he takes it was really good. I admire craftspeople like him. I wonder if these famous guitarists are superstitious when they keep the same guitar through their career? Or if they get them sounding just right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think they always tinker with them. Keith Richards has a full time guitar tech to look over his guitars even when they are not touring…guitars to them are like tools to a carpenter.

      I would love to play either one of these just for 10 minutes…to see what is different.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We talked a few times about the boss’s tele but I didn’t know the details of Neil young’s guitar. interesting to read about the pickups. The video was pretty weird though lol. So which bigsby was it? The B7 or B3….looks like the 3 right?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. I’m actually looking to get a b3 at the moment for one of my SGs so I notice them! The b5s are perhaps more used on sgs and teles for that matter but the b3s have that soft, silky gretsch feel

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have one on one of my guitars and it’s from the 50s or 60s… I’m going to check it out… I’m going to cover my not so famous family guitar

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yea hours a day…my job I have time because I’m always in front of a computer…plus comments come to my phone… The answer is TOO MUCH


      4. Yes, that’s a lot. Still bet you love it hehe
        I spend about 40 mins….actually I’m thinking of cutting my posts from 2021 and shifting most of the time to videos and music making. I wanted to write for a 1000 days but might have to retire at about 840! I still think it’s a throughly valuable way to spend my time but perhaps not every day

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m already cutting down. I did 3 posts a day to start with…then I did 3 a day on weekends…now it’s 2…after Christmas, it’s going to be 1 a day. I’m reaching 2000 posts really soon…time to pull back the reins.

        I hate to see you go but I understand why believe me…tell me when you stop…don’t just vanish dude.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yeah one is more manageable. Also a thing to bear in mind is that when you post multiples they sometimes compress in the reader….which makes them harder to see.
        I’m not planning to quit blogging, just less.
        The book reviews i do for example, even though they are never popular!, are a great way of tracking, integrating and thinking about what I read. Other posts I do are pretty much disposable however lol
        I quite enjoyed making the past couple of videos (see the one I did on the who’s 1921?) and even though youtube is completely saturated, making videos builds another kind of skill set, a useful one as well

        Liked by 1 person

      7. The reason I like your posts is because you are all over the map…that is probably hard to get consistent readers but I love it.
        I still like blogs because I learn about new music…or new old music, movies, and other things…but yea I want to pull back the reins also…it’s getting out of hand.

        Oh yes! The software…and the Who song.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Sometimes I post to certain people at times. In other words…when I make a post I think oh…so and so would like this…Sometimes it gets like a job…that is when I know I have to back off.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Yes, I had a few days recently when I didn’t have anything much to write about…that starts feeling like work…it’s been easy finding topics these past few years but maybe time to branch out! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      10. I’ve used so many songs that I have loved…I’m having to search now…yea I agree with you.


    1. Thanks for reading this CB…I didn’t know if people would read these but they have. I’m doing one on one my guitars Saturday. My family made it and it has a sister out there somewhere…it’s a wild beast of a guitar.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I never heard that…I’m checking it out now. Sounds like classic Hiatt. Yea he is a great songwriter but I love the mans voice.

        Liked by 1 person

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