It may amuse you to know that for most of my career my guitar of choice has been a much-fiddled with £99 Encore Strat-copy that I’ve had since I was a teenager. The sound is nothing special, but it feels like an extension of my body and it’s worked perfectly fine across all four Leisur Hive albums as well as surviving a European tour with Cindytalk. I’ve long since swapped the pickups for some stock Fender single-coils. I occasionally joke (to myself, in my head, while eating bread, when it’s raining) that one day I’ll replace the neck and the body. Just like Trigger’s broom.
There have been one or two Fender Strats along the way including a very nice natural-finish Mexican thing that I still regret selling.
On Songs of the Breather (The Infinite Three’s 2014 album) I mostly used a no-name Les Paul copy with Wilkinson Vintage PAF pickups and .11s tuned down to open D. This all started to sound a little lumpy after a while though, but I guess I was feeling kind of lumpy at the time so it all worked out fine. It did however have an unusually un-Les Paul kind of “warm twang” in the middle position which was almost Jazzmaster-ish. No idea why. Nice sound, but still a bit lumpy.
Over the last year I have returned to the loving motherly embrace of Fender. My current guitar of choice is a Squier Telecaster with a Jazzmaster neck and Jazzmaster pickup (not a P90 despite what some folks may tell you!) at the neck position. No modifications going on – surprisingly, Fender/Squier made them like this. It sounds and feels gorgeous and is all over the new album. I also used a Japanese ’69 reissue Stratocaster on the album as well as Sam McLaughlin’s Thinline Tele. These days it’s Ernie Ball .10s in standard tuning. The Goldilocks-Zone of strings.
The Squier Tele/Jazzmaster hybrid is probably what you’ll see me playing at current live shows at the moment. A truly solid guitar in both literal and metaphysical terms. I’m keeping one eye open for a backup as they’re hard to find these days.
If you’ve heard any of my instrumental solo records from the last few years – the acoustic guitar is a Fender ‘G II E’ – at least I think that’s what it’s called. That’s what it says on the little faded sticker inside the body. Here’s a useful life-tip: If you don’t know someone’s name do not try to look inside their body for a little faded sticker. This method of identification only works with guitars and sometimes vacuum cleaners.