The Rolling Stones — Live from a Parallel Universe

I love YouTube. Could waste hours just surfing it. I am also (on about the fifth attempt) getting into twitter. (@niilolainen by the way). I have course followed a bunch of guitar/music based folks, including @RollingStones and @OfficialKeef. @OfficialKeef even sent me a private message thanking me for the follow. Wow! A personal message from a Richards staffer who probably has met The Great One, The Human Riff himself!

For the record I’m not the kind of bloke who likes to make Top 10 lists of the greatest this, that and the other as I don’t believe that music should be reduced to a competition with winners and losers. But let’s say that Keith Richards is one of me favorite guitarists. Clearly a genius — a musician of outstanding creativity and incredible taste. I listen to the Stones on weekly basis.

But anyway, I digress. This post is about guitars. From following @RollingStones, I found that they have an officially sanctioned YouTube channel where they post videos such as the one embedded below.

This is the Stones performing Sad Sad Sad live in Tokyo in 1990. It’s not their best performance or even a particularly great song. It’s a little rough around the edges, but has a nice punkish, honky-tonk energy. The camera work is bizarre, mainly consisting of close-ups of Mick and wide angle shots of the stage. Bill gets some camera time and so does Ronnie during his solo. Keith and Charlie don’t feature at all — in fact during Keith’s solo they keep the camera on Ronnie.

But what struck me from a guitar geek perspective is the weird weird instruments they are using. Mick has something which seems to be a Strat body, with Tele pickups, but with the pickguard and pronounced upper horn of a 70s P-Bass. A point on the lower edge of the headstock indicates it is not a Fender.

Ronnie too is playing something a little unusual. It seems to be a Strat-type guitar, but with a humbucker and a slightly off, bulbous body shape. The headstock is also different — with 4 tuning pegs on the top and 2 on the bottom. As I said, we don’t get to see Keith at all, except from a distance, but one shot shows he too is using a guitar with the same headstock.

There are two possibilities

– This is actually transmitted from a parallel universe where Fender and Gibson do not exist

– The Stones had an endorsement deal with Music Man or Peavey

I don’t have time to start geeking out on this. It just struck me as odd and worthy of a quick blog post.


2 thoughts on “The Rolling Stones — Live from a Parallel Universe

  1. So I think that the guitar Ronnie is playing is indeed a Music Man, I therefore presume Keith’s is as well. Note the distinctive headstock. I’m guessing they played Music Man Silhouette types, not the cheaper Silos.

    For the record, I think that MM make some of the ugliest guitars I have ever seen. Just look at these AX40s

    But then again, the Fender and Gibson design cues are so powerful, it’s difficult to think that anythng that looks different is ‘right’. Many manufacturers focus on making guitars that are knock-offs of the classics, but then changing them just enough that they don’t get sued.

    Maybe only PRS has successfully developed their own unique design language for guitars. At least MM are trying, but too bad they are so ugly.

    I am still not sure what Jagger is playing. All the tuning keys are on the top of the headstock as in a Fender, but that angle on the bottom of the headstock says to me that it must be Yamaha, Peavey or G&L or something.

    G&L is a company that was founded by Leo Fender. He sold Fender in 1965, then went to work for Music Man before founding G&L in 1979. To this day G&L manufacture very well regarded Strat and Tele type guitars. A used G&L ASAT Tribute would’ve been a good option for me instead of my Mexi Tele, but they’re pretty hard to come by.

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