Rick Neilsen and Robin walk us through the key gear for their 2017 Euro­pean dates...

Total Guitar - - FEATURE -

Rick Fender Jeff Beck Esquire

“This is a copy of the Tele Jeff Beck gave me a long time ago, but it was ac­tu­ally made for me. I’m not sure what songs I’ll use it on tonight. Cer­tain songs need the tog­gle switch, so I wouldn’t use this for that. It’s best for the more bal­lad-y stuff, not that we do bal­lads.”

Or­ange 2X12

“I ac­tu­ally have the orig­i­nal Or­ange 2X12 combo at home. I bought the very first one they ever made, back when it was Or­ange Mu­sic and be­fore Or­ange Amps re­ally ex­isted. I like Or­ange amps be­cause they have pres­ence and punch… though for some rea­son in 1980, I switched to purely Mar­shalls.”

Hamer Gonna Raise Hell

“It’s over the top and stupid, and that’s why I like it! This was made be­fore you could have graph­ics done on Pho­to­shop. It was all hand done, putting the squares on, spray­ing them white and then spray­ing the oth­ers black. That’s how it all used to be done!”


“I’ve got three five-necks at home, but I didn’t bring those. They’re too fuckin’ big and heavy – but ob­vi­ously I couldn’t come over here with noth­ing! I’ll use it for She’s

Tight and maybe two other tracks.”

Robin Nash Gui­tars Tele-style

“Years and years ago, Nash came to one of our shows and of­fered us a Tele­caster. We were a lit­tle skep­ti­cal about it be­cause we didn’t know him very well, but we tried it out and it sounded fan­tas­tic – bet­ter than the other Tele­cast­ers I was us­ing. It was a very solid and road­wor­thy piece of equip­ment. When it came time to do this record, I was go­ing to get this gui­tar made for Rick. But when I asked Nash, he wanted to make one for each of us – so we’d all have a piece of the al­bum… and he did mine first! It has a reg­u­lar Tele­caster pickup, there’s not re­ally much dif­fer­ent about it, keep­ing very close to the orig­i­nal 50s Te­les. Nash is a bit of afi­cionado for Tele­cast­ers in par­tic­u­lar, but he does all dif­fer­ent kinds of stuff. It’s a re­ally spe­cial gui­tar. I’ll use it for any­thing that has a solo in it.”

Nash Rick­en­backer-style 12 string

“This is not a Rick­en­backer – here’s the story. I have some friends at Schecter Gui­tars and one of the guys there used to work for Rick­en­backer. I knew he had the schematic for the 12-string of the same year and look as my six-string. He couldn’t make one through the com­pany, but said I should find an­other com­pany and he’d give us the schematic. Nash was the per­fect guy for that – he makes great gui­tars. I was think­ing I should call it the Robin­backer and have the logo on the head­stock, but I de­cided against it as it might piss those guys off haha! I’ll use it on Cal­i­for­ni­aMan, IKnowWhat IWant, Voice and some of the new songs.”

Rick­en­backer six string

“This is my main gui­tar that I’ve had since 1978. I found it in a pawn­shop in Tulsa, Ok­la­homa. It was com­pletely orig­i­nal and in great shape, which it still is. I bought it for $350 and took it home be­cause it was the per­fect size and per­fect weight – a thick-bod­ied Rick­en­backer with the neck go­ing through the body, as well as a brass pick­guard. I’ve played it ever since 1978 be­cause it’s very road­wor­thy and sounds great. In the mid-90s, I got a call from our bass player, Tom, who said he’d found a pic­ture of my gui­tar with Johnny Ra­mone play­ing it. He sent it to me and it looked ex­actly the same, of course. Clearly Johnny Ra­mone ran out of money driv­ing through Tulsa and had to pawn that gui­tar off… which is re­ally funny. That’s my story and I’m stick­ing to it!”

“my rarest gui­tar is a 1963 guild merle travis...”

When I got to the club, Ron­nie Wood was shar­ing out tea from an an­tique set he got from a store... I’d al­ready been to see them at La Cave, when there was maybe eight peo­ple there. I was still in high school back then and flew over dur­ing the week. Not many peo­ple did that kind of shit in those days – a 100 miles, maybe, but Cleve­land was nearly 800 miles away. But I flew to Phil­a­del­phia and sold him a gui­tar for $350.”

You’re a well-known col­lec­tor of gui­tars. How many do you think you own, in to­tal?

“To be hon­est, I have about 500 gui­tars right now, some­thing like that. There’s around 150 Gib­sons, 40 or 50 Fend­ers and then 150 Hamers, as well as oth­ers – I’ve al­ways like dou­ble necks! So when you do the math, I guess it’s around 500. I def­i­nitely didn’t start out with that many! I started out with one, just like every­body else. My rarest is a 1963 Guild Merle Travis with all this crazy or­na­men­ta­tion on it… they only ever made three of them. They went for $2,000 in ’63 and would fetch around a mil­lion to­day… if I could find some fool with enough money to buy it haha! It had been thrown into a fireplace, the neck was com­pletely bro­ken. It cost me more money to have it re­paired than to buy it!”

There are few gui­tarists like you, but is it be fair to say that An­gus Young would be one of them?

“Ac­tu­ally, I tried to em­i­grate to Aus­tralia in 1973, so I prob­a­bly could have been in AC/DC… though think­ing about it, I’m prob­a­bly too tall haha! I to­tally love those guys, they’re the only band I would stay around to watch ev­ery show for. We did a lot of shows with them around the end of the 70s. We would flip-flop too, one night they would close, the next night we would. It was good – we were both un­known and just get­ting go­ing. I think they got go­ing a lit­tle faster, but I’d like to think we both did fine in the end...”

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