TAMING THE 175
Steve explains how a bit of TLC helped him make the most of the guitar that became his main ally
“Other guys were playing a Tele or a 335 and I come out with a 175 – people thought, ‘This isn’t gonna work…’but I made it work.The demystification might be just about where you set your bass level on your amp because if you’ve got that too high this guitar is going to give you all the trouble it’s known for.The L-5 fed back on the Tales
From Topographic Oceans rehearsals far too much even with the bass off. So I became very possessive, I always looked after it myself, I didn’t let other people do it. It was only years later when Yes were massive and we were doing huge shows with Roger Dean stages that, for a while, I let my tech do it. I used to do my own guitars, even right through the 70s I’d restring them and tune them; I’d have 10 guitars and I’d do that every day. I wouldn’t restring all of them, but the 175 was always restrung, every day. So basically I was a bit of a lunatic! I’ve created a certain aura around it which I continue and it’s quite pleasurable; if you love something, you should nurture it.”
A Gibson archtop in a rock band? Yes, you can!