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Kim Thayil, Steve Vai and Wolf Marshall focus on legendary six-strings in these unique extracts from Greg Prato’s Iconic Guitar Gear

Kim Thayil, Steve Vai and Wolf Marshall focus on legendary six-strings in these unique extracts from Greg Prato’s Iconic Guitar Gear

Kim Thayil and Steve Vai



(Picture credit score: Tim Mosenfelder / Juan Naharro Gimenez / Getty)

Iconic Guitar Gear is a brand new guide from Guitar World contributor Greg Prato that particulars the instruments of the commerce of famous guitarists – and you may learn unique excerpts on Steve Vai, Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil and Jeff Beck beneath.

In complete, Iconic Guitar Gear runs to over 300 pages and examines the important gear selections of 150 guitarists, together with Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Brian Could, Tony Iommi, Jimmy Page, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Johnny Ramone, The Edge, Gary Moore, Alex Lifeson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dimebag Darrell, Zakk Wylde and extra.

The guide additionally units its sights on a listing of astonishing bass guitar gamers, too, together with Billy Sheehan, Les Claypool and Mike Watt, to call a small pattern.

Prato – who has beforehand penned books together with Grunge Is Useless: The Oral Historical past of Seattle Rock Music and MTV Dominated the World: The Early Years of Music Video – has drawn on an enormous number of analysis for the guide, together with many interviews with the guitarists themselves, alongside techs, tutors and different tonal authorities. 

Take a look at our unique excerpts on Kim Thayil, Steve Vai and Jeff Beck beneath and order your copy of Iconic Guitar Gear via Amazon (opens in new tab) in Kindle, hardcover and paperback codecs.

Kim Thayil, Soundgarden on his Guild S-100 Deluxe

Kim Thayil

(Picture credit score: Christie Goodwin/Redferns through Getty Pictures)

“I bought [my Guild S-100 Deluxe] after I was 18-years previous at a used guitar place [in Chicago]. It was reasonably priced, and I sat there and performed songs I’d written on that guitar – and I discovered it a lot simpler to play than the Strat copy guitar I’d had. 

“It was a lot simpler to play than my acoustic guitar. And I used to be seeking to purchase an electric guitar – I had labored all summer season and saved up some cash. The Les Pauls have been dearer and the Strats – they have been all $500-600 on the time. And this Guild S-100 was like, 250 bucks or one thing like that. Used. I used to be like, ‘Hey…I’m getting this. I can afford this, and I can play my songs on it with little problem.’

My guitar made some bizarre noises and will do some bizarre issues that my different buddies’ guitars couldn’t do. I believed, ‘I don’t need to keep away from these. I don’t need to be frightened of these.’

“And as I realized extra about guitar enjoying and extra about varied elements on the instrument – from motion, frets, bridge, the nut, pickups – I got here to develop how I play together with my studying of this guitar. So, it type of bought married collectively in some methods. 

“I realized to not be afraid of the noises or incidental issues that you possibly can do as a guitar participant – as a result of Hendrix did suggestions, the Velvet Underground did suggestions. And noise and looseness I realized from the MC5, and noise is included in Pere Ubu.

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“My guitar made some bizarre noises and will do some bizarre issues that my different buddies’ guitars couldn’t do. And I believed, ‘I don’t need to keep away from these. I don’t need to be frightened of these.’ And Daniel Ash comes alongside, and I’m like, ‘My guitar can do a few of these issues! I like these issues!’ And I caught with it.

“As a result of I’d play different guitars and it’s like, ‘Eh…the motion’s totally different. The neck’s a little bit bit too extensive. I simply can’t do that factor. I can’t bend the strings above the nut. I can’t bend the strings beneath the bridge. It doesn’t suggestions as simply. And its suggestions is tough to regulate. I don’t wish to play this Strat – its suggestions is just a few bizarre squeal. I just like the suggestions I get from my Guild S-100 Deluxe.’ So, I simply stayed with it.”

Steve Vai on his Charvel Strat aka “The Inexperienced Meanie”

“My first actual guitar was a Strat. I cherished it, nevertheless it didn’t actually have the sound that I appreciated. And after I joined Alcatrazz, I wished a much bigger sound and I wanted extra choices on an instrument. 

It had the sound, it had the texture. And on the time, my tech, Patrick Francis – “Elwood” – was a really colourful man and he appreciated doing issues to the instrument. And I advised him, ‘Go for it.’

“So, I went to see Grover Jackson, and he hooked me up. Apart from giving me a few his actually fantastic Jackson guitars – which I cherished, as a result of they have been the one ones I might discover that had 24 frets and a whammy bar – he gave me a sunburst Charvel. 

“I don’t even know the mannequin or something. But it surely was the Tremendous Strat sort of factor – with the humbuckers. And as soon as I bought it, I used to be with Alcatrazz and it was nice. It had the sound, it had the texture. And on the time, my tech, Patrick Francis – “Elwood” – he was a really colourful man and he appreciated doing issues to the instrument [Francis would later join ZZ Top as their bassist]. And I advised him, ‘Go for it.’

“He had quite a lot of enjoyable portray it inexperienced and placing the stickers on it and all this. On the time, my palm rested on the physique of the guitar. And a few of these guitars, the tailpiece was type of excessive, so the strings have been excessive, so the little pad [that was added to the body of the guitar] helped me to choose extra evenly. However that grew to become my major axe. I used that quite a bit on these data after that – Alcatrazz, Dave Roth, Ardour and Warfare. After which it was retired.”

Wolf Marshall on Jeff Beck’s Stratocasters and Les Pauls

Jeff Beck

(Picture credit score: Robert Knight Archive / Getty)

“Jeff Beck additionally alternated quite a lot of Les Pauls – in addition to the Strat. The well-known Strat that has been stripped right down to the wooden – you possibly can see when he’s enjoying with the band on Tough and Prepared. And there’s TV performances of that – so you possibly can truly see that guitar. 

“That’s in all probability the Strat that he had on Beck-Ola, and he simply stored enjoying it. I consider he performed it with Beck, Bogert & Appice, and I feel he performed it into his early section of fusion – when he began enjoying with folks like Jan Hammer and doing Blow by Blow and that interval.

Beck had a Les Paul that was put collectively by Seymour Duncan – which appeared black, nevertheless it was truly a darkish brown oxblood – and was a conversion from an early-‘50s mannequin

“Additionally, at that time, he had a sure Les Paul that was put collectively by Seymour Duncan – which appeared black, nevertheless it was truly a darkish brown oxblood coloured Les Paul [spotted on the cover of Blow by Blow]. It’s a conversion from an early ‘50s mannequin – it’s not a Commonplace – nevertheless it has humbucker pickups I consider, and Seymour Duncan did these.

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“Then, as you possibly can see from Wired, he had a unique Strat – a white Strat. So, I feel he alternated between that stripped down one and the white Strat. And I do know that white Strats all the time appealed to… perhaps it’s Hendrix, however Jeff is utilizing one once more now. Whenever you view present movies of Jeff, you see him with a white Jeff Beck Strat. So, that Strat interval in all probability goes again to 1969/‘70. 

“Plus, he typically used the Teles, as effectively – like if you happen to have a look at the video for Individuals Get Prepared, it reveals him with a Tele. A transformed Tele… nevertheless it’s nonetheless a Tele. And I consider that was additionally a Seymour Duncan factor – he had one mannequin that had a humbucker in it. So, these are the three ‘streams’ that he had.”

Iconic Guitar Gear by Greg Prato book cover featuring Eddie Van Halen.

(Picture credit score: Greg Prato)

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Matt Parker

Matt is a contract journalist who has spent the final decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Whole Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Magazine and Digital Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which goals to share the concepts that make inventive life extra sustainable. He performs guitar, however shouldn’t be allowed close to your delay pedals.

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