The plat­inum-sell­ing singer­song­writer on his new sig­na­ture Epi­phone ‘1966’ Cen­tury

Total Guitar - - MONITOR - Pho­tog­ra­phy: James Shar­rock

1 “This is a com­plete dream come true, as I’m sure all the other folks who get their own sig­na­ture mod­els of gui­tars made will say. The re­al­ity when you pull it out of the case for the first time, it’s a breath­tak­ing mo­ment. I was a kid at school play­ing gui­tar and read­ing gui­tar mag­a­zines, and look­ing at all th­ese peo­ple putting out sig­na­ture mod­els and fol­low­ing gui­tarists who were do­ing the same thing, and sud­denly, for the first time, I’ve got my own one. It’s a to­tal hon­our to call this my own sig­na­ture Epi­phone Cen­tury ‘1966’ gui­tar.”

2 “This is a sim­ple gui­tar – the ’66 model I first got, I was drawn to it and I loved it, and I still love it be­cause of its sim­plic­ity. It was this unas­sum­ing sortof elec­tric gui­tar. You can play it like a very acous­tic in­stru­ment, and you can plug it in and it still makes an in­ter­est­ing, very or­ganic sound.

3 “I’m a huge P-90 fan; this is ac­tu­ally a Kin­man Noise­less [Sweet Neck] P-90. I’ll be hon­est, peo­ple say, ‘You gotta stay true to the P-90, and if it buzzes, it buzzes’ – and I do love that sound – but hav­ing played a load of TV shows and played in var­i­ous venues with dif­fer­ent elec­tron­ics go­ing on in the build­ing, it turned out that I still get the great P-90 sound, partly be­cause of the amps that I use and partly be­cause of the way that I play, it still sounds like a great pickup. If we can get a lit­tle bit less of that buzz, you hear more of the pickup.”

4 “We went with unique de­tails, such as the bronze wheels, and we’ve kept it sim­ple, we’ve kept it unique. I’ve burned my lit­tle logo into the back of the head­stock. And we’ve tried to stay as close to the Cherry fin­ish, but with gui­tars from that time, a lot of the fin­ishes were very solid, and one of my favourite things about this gui­tar in terms of how it looks is that you can catch a bit of the grain, a bit of the wood com­ing through the colour. There were pro­to­types along the way to­wards the fin­ished ar­ti­cle, be­cause I re­ally wanted to get the red right; I think it was a bit orange orig­i­nally, and I wanted it to be more brick red.”

5 “I didn’t buy the strap from a gui­tar shop; I didn’t find this in a gui­tar con­text. Ac­tu­ally, the ma­te­rial used for this strap is for the hem of a sari dress, so Epi­phone have kindly repli­cated that for me. I’m pretty cer­tain the only strap that I’ve ever used when play­ing this gui­tar has been this home­made strap, and you can [see my hat] logo on the end of it as well.”

The Epi­phone Ltd Ed James Bay Sig­na­ture ‘1966’ Cen­tury Out­fit is avail­able now.

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