How The Pete Townshend guitar sound helped shape a generation
The Pete Townshend guitar and songwriting made the
1960's rock band The Who Legendary
The Pete Townshend guitar sound has provided an incredible music career
for this man and he's done it all.
For starters Mr. Townshend has written well over 100 songs for the Who's 11
studio albums,including RnR staples such as “My Generation,”Who are You,”
“Magic Bus,” “Won't Get Fooled Again,” and “ Who's Next” just to name a few.
And on top of that he also wrote the rock operas “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia”.
Have you ever heard 'Pinball Wizard?” Well that's by Mr. Townshend.
Pete has been a contibuter on a wide array of other artists recordings.
And he is also a contributer and author of newspaper and magazine articles,
books,and scripts,and a lyricists and composer for other musical acts.
Gosh!..this man has done everything. Is there anything he can't do?..Well I'll bet he
can't grow hair back on a bald head, since both him and I are bald. But back to
These accomplishments of his are all part of the legend that is Pete Townshend
music. Did you know that back in the 1960's Pete and “The Who” were one of the
first bands to smash their guitars and destroy their musical equipment at the end of
their live shows? Wow!, I'll bet the band made a lot of hotel managers real nervous
when this band walked into their hotel for room bookings.
Okay, I know you younger guitarists are probably curios to know about the
Pete Townshend guitar playing or should I say guitar smashing back in the 1960's.
Basically the reason the band started destroying thier musical equipment on stage
was because it brought them widespread media attention and publicity and no
other band had ever done this before. So it set them apart from all the other bands
vying for media attention.
Now you're probably thinking to yourrself wouldn't it get rather expensive to
smash those guitars to smithereens everynight? The anser is yes,but remember
The Who now have alot higher profile and were making more money.
So musical equipment smashing became an anticipated part of their act.
You know it's an artistic thing right? So this became part of the
Pete Townshend guitar sound in a warped sort of way.
And what about his guitars what was he playing? In the early days of The Who Pete
played a Emile Grimshaw SS Deluxe,and a 6 and 12 Rickenbacker
semi-hollow body electrics to get that Pete Townshend guitar sound.
So of course Mr.Townshend didn't want to smash his good guitars to smitereens
everynight ,so he started playing cheaper models like the Danelectro,Fender Strat,
and Fender Tele and then he would smash those up.
For him to get that patented Pete Townshend guitar sound you've got to
give him have lots of artistic freedom and integrity and license right?.
Oh....and one more thing kids don't try smashing your guitars at home
because you'll really upset your parents and they may wind up taking you to the
loony bin,and then you'll really meet alot of Pete Townshend wanna be,s there.
Just wait until you become a big-time rock star then nobody will bat an eyelash
when you do it.
Mr Townshend has played many guitars over the years...and he's never met one
that he didn't want to destroy....Seriously he has several Gibson Pete Townshend
guitars named after him....Let's me see now... there's the Pete Townshend Destroyer,
Exploder, and Headcracker... OK..OK..I,m joking.
In reality their called the Pete Townshend SG, 3 different Pete Townshend
Les Paul Deluxes,and the Pete Townshend J-200. And there was also
the Pete Townshend RickenbackerLimited Edition model No 1997.
Pete has a very different viewpoint on guitars than most other guitarists.
He considers them to just be the tools of his trade and if they happen to get
broken or lost they can simply be replaced.But he does keep his really good guitars
off the stage.
I would tend to agree with that statement too
if I had 4 or 5 hundred million dollars in the bank like him.
Gosh if Mr. Townshend had not become a famous musician he could ve been
a great demolition man or guy who destroys buildings don t you think?
And did you know that Pete Townshend was one of the key fiqures in the
development of feedback in rock guitar? And who else can you think of that
plays guitar with that arm churning like a windmill.It's all the Pete.
Townshend guitar sound.
But unfortunately over the years playing loud music has given Pete a severe
case of hearing loss,partial deafness, and tinnitus. But as of 2010 a audiologist
has given him a special hearing device to use on stage so hopefully The Who can
continue with Pete.
Though he has played through various amps over the years from Vox,Fender, to Hiwatt
Did you know that Pete played a role in the development of the Marshall Stack Amps?
When Jim Marshall was first starting to get noteriety for his amplifiers it was
Pete Townshend who suggested to him that he cut the huge heavy amp cabinets
in half and make them stackable.Neat huh? But I don't think that Pete had anything
to do with that stackable Space Shuttle that breaks in half.
One of the interesting facits of the Pete Townshend guitar sound is that he
plays lots of those slick little 2 note double stop 3rd licks.
Here's an example of 1 of those licks on the CSI TV Theme Song...”Who Are You”
This is in the key of E... go to the 14th fret and bar the 3rd and 2nd strings with
the 3rd finger of your left or freting hand...lift that 3rd finger up and on
the 4th string 14th fret hit the single E note with the 3rd finger...go to the 12th fret and bar the 3rd and 2nd strings with the 1st finger of your left or freting hand hit both strings and hammer on the 3rd string at the 13th fret with your 2nd finger of your left hand
So to wrap up this discussion about the Pete Townshend guitar sound,
I'll just add that Pete has often said when asked about his guitar heroes,he
stated that his favorite guitar player and influence is Hank Marvin who
played with Cliff Richards and the Shadows.