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Pete’s Gear: 1965 Fender Electric XII 12-string guitar

Auction of a Fender Electric XII

Fender Electric XII from eBay auction.

Image reproduced from eBay auction.

An eBay auction in September 2007 reported to be offering a Pete-owned Fender Electric XII, serial no. 136828. The auction description:

The Who – Pete Townshend Fender 12 string guitar

US $20,000

Pete Townshend’s Fender 12 string guitar, serial number 136828 originally purchased as part of stock owned by The Who, composed primarily of second and third instruments all used and played by the group — in this instance Townshend. The instruments were for a time hired out by The Who.

The guitar in the auction photos has a different tobacco sunburst finish than the instrument Pete used in the studio in 1969 depicted below.

Pete Townshend used a 1965 Fender Electric XII 12-string guitar in the studio for Tommy, notably heard on Sparks and the Underture. He can also be seen using this guitar miming in the Magic Bus promotional video featured in The Kids Are Alright.

Featured:

  • Split pickups
  • “Hockey stick” headstock
  • Unique Leo Fender bridge design with an individual saddle for each string, allowing for precise intonation.
  • String-through-body construction to increase sustain.

Whereabouts

Pete still has one of these guitars, which can be seen in summer 2006 photographs in New York by Ross Halfin. However, it is unclear based on the sunburst finish whether it is the same instrument pictured below.

Photo Gallery

Tommy sessions

Ca. February–March 1969, recording sessions for Tommy, playing a 1965 Fender Electric XII and seated on an unlabeled, customised Sound City L100 amplifier.

Fender Electric XII

Fender Electric XII

Ca. Spring 1969, recording sessions for Tommy, with unlabeled customized Sound City L100 amplifier head, with Hiwatt-style chicken head knobs and control panel inscription taped over.

Ca. Spring 1969, recording sessions for Tommy, with unlabeled customized Sound City L100 amplifier head, with Hiwatt-style chicken head knobs.

Ca. Spring 1969, recording sessions for Tommy, with unlabeled customized Sound City L100 amplifier head, with Hiwatt-style chicken head knobs and control panel inscription taped over.

7 Oct. 1968, miming to Magic Bus on German television, with the Fender Electric XII.

7 Oct. 1968, miming to Magic Bus on German television, with the Fender Electric XII.

Current

Ca. 2006 in New York, with Fender Electric XII. Photo: Ross Halfin

Ca. 2006 in New York, with Fender Electric XII.

Resources and Information

Vintage Guitar info: provide.net/~cfh/fender2.html#elec12