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Pete’s Gear: Grimshaw Guitar

Grimshaw on Ready Steady Go

Pete Townshend used a three-pickup Grimshaw Short Scale semi-hollow guitar from December 1965 to January 1966. He began using this guitar for stage work soon after the first use of the Marshall 100w amps and 8x12 speaker cabinets were delivered in November 1965.

Grimshaw guitars were manufactured in the U.K. by Emile Grimshaw and Son. Notable users of Grimshaw guitars from the late ’50s/early ’60s were Bruce Welch of The Shadows, Tony Sheridan, Marty Wilde, Joe Brown, and studio session player Joe Moretti (who recorded with Johnny Kidd & the Pirates — of “Shakin’ All Over” fame — among others).

Pete’s model is likely a late-1950s edition, block inlays, trapeze tailpiece, tune-o-matic bridge. This guitar was fitted with a Rickenbacker truss-rod cover, thus causing considerable confusion about its provenance. He also replaced the pickups with three Rickenbacker “toaster”-style pickups and possibly a Rickenbacker tune-o-matic bridge. How he lost this guitar is unknown. However, it is now known how and why Pete acquired this guitar, thanks to Guy MacKenzie. From Guy:

I have always wanted to know why Pete Townshend’s Grimshaw had a Rickenbacker truss rod cover on its headstock. Now I have the answer thanks to Frank Allen, bass player with the Searchers for 43 years, who contacted Pete direct and then forwarded his reply to me — which is as follows:

“I bought the guitar at Ivor Maraints, I’d always wanted one (was it because Joe Brown played one?). At the time I was used to Rick pickups so when I ran out of Rickenbackers one day I rigged the Grimshaw with the pickups and added the headstock blazer as deception. However, when people asked me what model of Rick it was, I told them it was a Grimshaw. It played beautifully.”

Thanks to Guy Mackenzie: theguitarcollection.org.uk.

Max the Mod: This guitar sounded absolutely amazing. Pete could toggle the pickups. Listen to Dancing in the Street … It’s played on the bass pickup and the selector switch is pushed to clip a high treble sound in tune to the beat. He did this by increasing the volume on the treble pickup … It was fascinating watching!

Photo Gallery

Grimshaw 2
Grimshaw 3
Grimshaw 4
Grimshaw 5
January 1966, with John and Pete both playing through two Marshall JTM45 100-watt Super Lead amplifiers, connected by Y-cable.

January 1966, with Grimshaw, playing through two Marshall JTM45 100 Tremolo 100-watt amplifiers, connected by Y-cable, and driving two Marshall 8x12 cabinets. (Two Marshall 1968 Super P.A. P.A. heads visible in front of drum riser.)

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