Test for echo
Player Hank Marvin Single (1960)
It’s hard to overstate the importance of The Shadows in rock ’n’ roll history, and specifically the evolution of electric guitar playing. They brought it to the fore, and at the turn of the 60s their lead man Hank Marvin was the first electric hero to those that would become idols in his wake. Imagine your fanbase including a young Gilmour, Harrison, Clapton, May, Knopfler, Iommi, Townshend, Blackmore and Beck… you get the picture.
Written by English composer Jerry Lordon (who would also write other hits for the Shads with Wonderfulland and Atlantis) and first recorded by tuition king Bert Weedon, it would be Hank’s gang who took Apache to the top of the UK charts after tracking it at Abbey Road, and it became their signature tune in the process.
Such is its allure that over the years many, many Hank-
worshipping players have devoted countless hours into capturing his tone, with endless discussions of tape echo in their wake. And that is part of the three key tonal components here – aside from Hank’s hands – and one is of historic importance quite aside from the music.
Hank’s Strat used on the song was the first to arrive in the UK, via Cliff Richard who, of course, The Shadows backed. Though the maple ’board Strat was described as Fiesta Red, its unique Flamingo Pink finish made it unmistakable. Hank used a Vox AC15 EF86 preamp version with it for the song and his first multi-tap echo unit (so-called as it turns a single note into multiple repeats and are integral to Apache) that he’d been introduced to by fellow musician Joe Brown. It was love at first listen. This Italian Meazzi Echomatic 1 unit boasted five tape heads offering a variety of echo types, plus a control that could alter the drum, became his first and the die was cast for the Shadows’ distinctive sound. It remains a prized piece for echo enthusiasts to this day.
“Those echoes were embryonic for me,” Hank told our sister mag Guitarist in 2012, “and very much a part of that early sound and those favourite [sounds] would be the ones that I returned to as a starting point to see how it worked.” Charlie Hall’s dedicated work in replicating Hank’s multi-tap delay sounds resulted in Alesis Quadraverb units preloaded with his the Echoes Of The Past patches. They were so successful Hank himself ended up using one but failing that, you’ll need two analogue delay pedals…
Hanksalot Mr Marvin possibly laughing at all the players who have attempted to copy his legendary tone