Feb 022011

We all know Townsman Hrrundivbakshi‘s most-coveted, would-be “signature” piece of gear is the “harlequin” Gibson Firebird played by Adrian Gurvitz, of Baker-Gurvitz Army fame. (See video.) What piece of musical gear that you own or covet could be (or would be) considered your “signature” piece of gear?

It’s not something I could carry around and impress folks with, but mine is my “Coltrane box,” a Maestro Parametric Filter. If I had the energy to buy a signature axe and really learn to play the way I wish I could play I think I’d get a Fender Jazzmaster, like Tom Verlaine‘s.

Take it from me, you don’t have to be much of a musician (or a musician at all) to have an entry in this thread!


  33 Responses to “Your “Signature” Piece of Gear, Whether You Own It or Not”

  1. My first bass guitar was a hollow body copy of a Gibson 335 but a bass made by Harmony. It was so uncool in the mid 1980s and I sold it and got a real (read solid body) bass. Turns out this was the one that The Byrds and other 60’s bands used and it became a collectors item. About 3 years ago I finally found the bass of my dreams, the Jack Casady Epiphone bass in black. My fender jazz and Les Paul bass stay at home and the Epi is my go-to for sessons, live and for pictures. It became my “signature” instrument within the first month I played a show with it. I guess the gold one is Jack’s signature bass (literally) but I claim the black one as mine!


  2. alexmagic

    That “Harlequin” guitar is kind of impressive in its weirdness, like somebody made a guitar out of the window of a ’70s/’80s bar.

    Based purely on the combination of its black and gold design and tremendous name, the 1956 Gibson Les Paul “Black Beauty” – used by both Pete Townshend and Mike Nesmith – has a real allure for me, as someone who is otherwise only aware of gear when it elevates or ruins a band’s look.

  3. shawnkilroy

    my black on black DiPinto K&A guitar.

  4. Is the “harlequin” Gibson Firebird the reverse Firebird? If so, those things are butt-ugly. It took me a long time to warm up to the look of the regular Firebird and I still have a ways to go for the reverse. But who am I to mess with a man’s dream especially when it is much more exotic than mine, which is… the gold top Les Paul. I have a Les Paul Deluxe (that’s actually autographed by the man himself) but it has mini humbuckers, not the regular one. Plus, that gold finish is sa-WEET.

    But more than any guitar or stomp box, I would say my amp is my signature piece of gear. It’s a ’63 Fender Deluxe (apparently I have a penchant for “deluxe” gear) and it makes any guitar sound better.

  5. My Geddy Lee Jazz Bass. I’ve always been fond of the J-bass and have used one for most of my stage life. I got Geddy about 5-6 years ago and it’s been a mainstay. I love the way that thing plays.

    If you see me, it’s like my personal Hofner. I’d love to own a Ric one day, but who knows? I’m fairly happy with my current equipment.


  6. BigSteve

    I’m a Fender style player. My own signature instrument is a 70s Fender Tele Deluxe:


    Mine is dung brown.

    But I’ve always enjoyed playing Gibson ES type guitars. Since one of the things I don’t like about humbucking guitars is having huge honking pickups underneath my picking fingers, the guitar I lust after is this one:


    I think those mini-pickups are cool.

  7. misterioso

    Wow, that was one dulllllllllllllllll clip. The stupid ass guitar was the only source of entertainment in it.

    I’m not a musician and hence more or less recuse myself from gearhead discussions, but I love that Vox teardrop guitar that Brian Jones played. Very cool.

  8. hrrundivbakshi

    I’d just like to point out that Hurvitz’s Firebird — in addition to sporting that hideous paint job — has been modified with big-ass humbucker pickups. This is a major party foul.

    My favorite recent Firebird spotting — beyond the vintage Seger clips somebody posted recently — is this one:


    I think my “signature” piece of gear would probably be my 1980 Washburn Eagle, beat to shit and repainted by me a jillion times. It’s a pretty cool guitar.

  9. I think if I played guitar, I’d play a Fender Jaguar. They look cool, and they’re sort of the underappreciated little sibling of the Jazzmaster. Are there any hot-shit players known for playing Jaguars, apart from, say, someone from The Ventures?

  10. I’ve got one, love it, and play it, but I’m far from a hot-shit guitarist let alone a shit-hot one.

  11. Aren’t Sonic Youth known for using the Jaguar?


  12. Not really. They have some, but they’re really a Jazzmasters band. Thurston and Lee even have their own signature lines.


  13. My 1983 Sonor Phonic drums are my signature sound. If I played guitar, I would want an old Mosrite like Johnny Ramone had.

  14. That’s it. Thanks for the clarification. I saw them on ACl a few weeks back and noticed the like-guitar front. They were Jazzmasters.


  15. trigmogigmo

    My signature item is my oldest and longest owned guitar, a black/blond Telecaster, which seems to be a ’73. I bought it used in high school. It originally looked almost exactly like the “relic” model fake beater shown below (but much less beaten than the “relic”). But long ago I got so dissatisfied with the noisy electronics and the crufty and razor sharp bridge that I had Gary Brawer upgrade them, so all that stuff is black now.


  16. trigmogigmo

    The Tele Deluxe looks nice. Just noticed for the first time that the headstock on it is Strat-shaped.

  17. I covet that Deluxe.

  18. misterioso

    FYI, an interesting obit of Charles Kaman, helicopter innovator and inventor of the Ovation guitar. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/business/03kaman.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&ref=obituaries&adxnnlx=1296745202-QAHUcMI1FpVPcYADojdaOg

  19. mockcarr

    Perhaps Hrrundi has truly settled down now, but I can’t imagine him sticking to one guitar.

    For look, maybe a Vox Constellation, Phantom, or Mark IV with the teardrop shape. Wyman used one of those, hell, he probably used anything they gave him for free, I’d bet. I dunno if I could pull off the look necessary for a Danelectro Longhorn bass. I always thought I wanted a semi-hollow body bass like the a Gibson EB-2, but it just wasn’t a comfortable fit. Naturally the Beatle bass was all I ever craved, but I have a fake Hofner that’s made me think a real one wouldn’t be all that either.

    My signature item is a Competition Blue Fender Mustang bass faded to a British Racing Green-ish color. Sure, it’s 3/4. It’s a BASS, are you worried about the high notes? Looks something like this but with a Danelectro lipstick pickup installed near the neck by a previous owner:


  20. mockcarr

    Actually, the head on mine is also painted like the body, so that’s not a great example, but I’m not hunting for another image.

  21. I love that blue Mustang bass of yours, mockcarr! Didn’t Tina Weymouth play one of those bad boys?

  22. mockcarr

    That bass is extremely popular with women. Which is more than I can say.

  23. That was pretty fascinating. I always assumed there was some technical reason for those rounded backs, just as I assume headless guitars must look that way for a reason.

  24. This is Main Stage worthy. Thanks for passing it along.

  25. I almost bought one but was afraid tha thte extra thin neck would have issues. I know a few people who have that bass and love it. I got the Marcus Miller and sold it a year later for a standard Made in USA sunburst jazz bass. I don’t play it much though.

  26. hrrundivbakshi

    Many folks forget Ovation actually made electric guitars for a while. I own one as part of my collection of barely-desirable instruments: a top-of-the-line Ovation Deacon.


    I was amused to discover that all the hooferaw about Ovation designing them for maximum balance, comfort and playability was total marketing horseshit. An interview with the designer recently blew the lid off that one — he basically said, “naw, we designed ’em to look like AXES!”

  27. 2000 Man

    I can’t play anything and I have no talent, but if I could play something, I’d like to be good enough to make guys like Steve Vai jealous, but pretty much never play anything more than two minute long, three chord songs.

    And I’d play them all on this:


  28. jeangray

    Very nice!

  29. jeangray

    Awesome. Did you make the duct tape guitar, izzat a Fender??

  30. jeangray

    Now that is cool!

  31. jeangray

    Beautiful. My daughter would love that.

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