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Pete’s Gear: 1952 Radiotone Archtop

Click to view larger version. 1952 Radiotone guitar. Courtesy Adam Hope.

Click to view larger version.

The first guitar Pete knew as a child, his Uncle Jack’s 1952 Radiotone Archtop guitar in natural finish.

Pete Townshend:

First guitar I ever played

The Radiotone guitar (6-string acoustic). This was my Uncle Jack’s guitar. He died a few years ago and left this to my Mother who gave it to me. This is the first guitar I ever touched, long before I could play. I was between 7 and 10 years old and still trying to learn the chromatic harmonica. Jack lived in a little house in Kingston full of electrical gadgets (he was a Ham Radio expert). He had worked in the war on Radar, and also on developing guitar pickups for Gibson.

Pete’s partner Rachel Fuller sold this guitar via her “Towsers Treasures” eBay store on 27 September 2007 to raise money for animal charities.

It was purchased by Adam Hope and was accompanied with a signed letter of authenticity from Pete. Adam has named the guitar “Happy Jack” in honour of both Pete and his Uncle.

Update: This guitar sold via auction December 2010

Update (December 2010): Bonhams reports that this guitar was sold 15 Dec. 2010 in its Entertainment Memorabilia auction, for £9,000. They also indicate it is a 1936 model. In addition, Genesis Publications report that this sale raised £7,500 for TCT. See bonhams.com auction results and Genesis Publications for more information.

Auction details

From bonhams.com Entertainment Memorabilia auction 17974 lot 170, 15 Dec. 2010

Click to view larger version. Radiotone guitar auction photo, via Bonhams.

Lot No: 170

Pete Townshend’s 1936 Radiotone guitar, the first guitar he played as a boy, the cello guitar made for J.E. Dallas and Son in Czechoslovakia by Höfner or Alfred Borst, with associated paperwork, in modern soft case

Sold for £9,000 inclusive of Buyer’s Premium

A statement which accompanies this lot, dated 24th September 2007 and signed by Pete Townshend, reads:

“First Guitar I Ever Played

This was my Uncle Jack’s guitar. He died a few years ago and left this to my Mother who gave it to me. This is the first guitar I ever touched, long before I could play. I was between 7 and 10 years old and still trying to learn the chromatic harmonica. Jack lived in a little house in Kingston full of electrical gadgets (he was a Ham Radio expert). He had worked in the war on Radar, and also on developing guitar pickups for Gibson.”

Pete gave the guitar to his partner, Rachel Fuller, to raise funds for a charity project in 2007, when it was purchased by the current owner.

© bonhams.com

Photo Gallery

Click to view larger version. 1952 Radiotone guitar – body. Courtesy Adam Hope.
Click to view larger version. 1952 Radiotone guitar – rear body. Courtesy Adam Hope.
Click to view larger version. 1952 Radiotone guitar – neck and peghead. Courtesy Adam Hope.
Click to view larger version. 1952 Radiotone guitar – body. Courtesy Adam Hope.
Click to view larger version. 1952 Radiotone guitar – peghead. Courtesy Adam Hope.
Click to view larger version. 1952 Radiotone guitar – display. Courtesy Adam Hope.

Adam Hope’s display of the guitar, featuring what is possibly an original Who promotional display. These displays were reportedly commissioned by Kit Lambert for display in the entrance foyers at UK Who gigs in 1966–67. This item is possibly one of four such panels.

Click images to view larger versions. Courtesy Adam Hope.

Resources and Information

Acknowledgements

  • Adam Hope

For more information