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Pete’s Gear: Fylde Ariel acoustic guitar

Ca. 1996, with Fyle Ariel, fitted with Fishman Acoustic Matrix pickup system.

Ca. 1996, with Fylde Ariel, fitted with Fishman Acoustic Matrix pickup system.

Pete Townshend used a Fylde Ariel model small-bodied acoustic guitar in the studio and for solo performances.

He began using this guitar in 1979 as his “on the road” guitar in place of his 1968 Gibson J-200.

In the studio, he used it likely on Empty Glass, as well as Iron Man and Psychoderelict. He also used it on Driftin’ Blues in 1981, which appears on Another Scoop. In 2006 he used this guitar on Endless Wire.

For 1996-era solo shows, he used this for solo acoustic numbers, such as I Am An Animal and A Friend is A Friend, fitted with a Fishman Acoustic Matrix pickup system. He continued to use it for solo appearances in 2006 with Rachel Fuller.

Fylde guitars are instruments of exceptional quality, made in Penrith, Cumbria, UK.

Specification

  • Solid cedar top, mahogany back and sides; “parlour”-size body,
  • 12/19-fret ebony 24¾″ scale neck; ebony bridge.
  • Slotted headstock with Gotoh tuners.
  • Fylde’s description:

    The smallest guitar in our range, close to a “parlour” guitar in size. With the neck join at the twelfth fret, the bridge is in the centre of the largest part of the soundboard, this is very efficient in terms of converting string vibration into sound, giving a sweet tone with a very strong attack. The slotted head design saves a lot in weight, and the guitars small size enables us to build the body itself lightly, both of which contribute to a surprisingly loud and responsive instrument.

Selected quotes from Pete Townshend

All quotes and references are copyright their original owners and are included for reference only.

Excerpt from Premier Guitar interview, April 2010

Although you’re not really known as a guitar collector, what are some of your favorite pieces in the collection?

My favorite guitar of all happens to be English. It’s one of the first small-body Ariels by Fylde. I have three now, all superb, set up in different tunings.

Photo Gallery

Ca. 1996, with Fyle Ariel, fitted with Fishman Acoustic Matrix pickup system.

Ca. 1996, with Fylde Ariel, fitted with Fishman Acoustic Matrix pickup system.

Ca. 2000, with Fyle Ariel.

Ca. 2000, with Fylde Ariel.

Resources and Information

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