The "Grotsch" guitar

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The "Grotsch" guitar

Postby Silva » Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:36 am

Does anyone have pictures of Lee's green "grotsch" guitar before it was restaured? I keep reading about how guitar used to be, but ive never seen it.

Thank you
Last edited by Silva on Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The "Grotch" guitar

Postby harry » Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:57 pm

A reply from Paul Hemmings...

The Grotsch was Lee's main guitar for a long time so wrote ‘ there she goes’ on it.

I have no idea where Lee got this guitar from but I presume it was from one of his Rockabilly mates around his first band days. It was rumoured to be Brian Jones but that wasn’t true at all, as Brian Jones's had two pickups. As with a lot of guitars in the 70’s, it had been butchered. If you look at one of Lee’s first bass's, it was an old precision neck on a homemade body. It wasn’t that old then and wasn’t considered vintage so people did this type of thing. Someone had taken a jigsaw to the top ( it might have been Lee ? When I first met Lee he tried to pinch the strap button on my Gretsch as you couldn’t get parts in those days. I told him to put it back) and cut a big hole out around the pickup, putting in a new pickup ( a horrible looking and mostly sounding , cream looking thing, held in place by blue insulation/ car tape probably from Timmo as he rebuilt cars ). Whoever had done this, cut through the main braces across the guitar causing the top to collapse. It wasn’t in great condition anyway. The original tuning keys always slipped ( so did the ones on mine Gretsch ) which is why there is lots of tuning up on those live recording. We didn’t have electronic tuners in these days so tuned to a pitch pipe in the dressing room which I found the other day funny enough.

I had swapped a casio keyboard for the longhorn which Lee then started using. The Grotsch then remained left in the corner of the Stables. Lee wanted a weed one night so I bought it from him. The guitar by now was practically unplayable so what ever happened the top had to be rebuilt, repairing the braces and the hole around the pickup filled then resprayed. No one was bothered about relics or relicing back then. I took the guitar to a supposed repairer at the top of Bold Street who then disappeared. 4 months went passed so I rang the doorbell, no one answered and so went to the back of the building and saw him coming down the fire escape. I asked where my guitar was ! He couldn’t actually do the job and had made a mess of respraying in with a crap car type paint, all over, ( you can still see it inside to this day. It was rumoured that this fella made porno movies also so this guitar probably featured in them !). He had taken it to KGB repairers in Birkenhead ( who I still use to this day ) to try to sort out the mess he had made. I then went to KGB and there it was on the wall, in a total mess. The horrible unoriginal pickup had gone and the guitar was in a sorry state. I had no option but to get to all sorted, as taking off the paint he put on, would have taken off the finish underneath - what was left of it. KGB matched the colours exactly and I sourced an original pickup which was difficult to do in those days ( I think it came from a guitar shop in Stoke ). The top was filled in and rebuild so you could play it which is what I wanted. Since then, the colour has yellowed and lacquer cracks appeared in the finish. You can see the guitar in the Lighting Seeds ‘Perfect’ video as couldn’t wear blue against the blue screen so a green guitar worked perfectly. I still have the Grotsch, Longhorn and my Gretsch which was like Gerry Marsdens and use all to this day.
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