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Electric Guitar Amplifier Equipment


The Definitive Online Tablature and Gear Resource for The Who since 1997

Whotabs has been updated, 19 May 2013. See the latest items on the homepage.

A year-by-year overview of the guitars, amplifiers and effects that Pete Townshend used on stage and in the studio throughout his career, both solo and with The Who, from 1956 to the present. Includes equipment detail pages on notable equipment.

Links within the references are either to a popup photo of the item in question (where available), a detailed equipment overview or a related website.

Also note that this page is under constant development since its start in August 1999, with new tidbits and information being added all the time. A special thanks to all who have contributed suggestions, information and/or images, without which this information could not have gotten to where it is today. Got a contribution to this page? Contact Whotabs.

Marshall amps into two custom Marshall 8x12 cabinets (sawed in half as 4x12s).

Strings (on Fender Stratocasters) Fender strings (likely Fender pure nickel wrap #1500 Spanish Guitar [Smooth Round Wound]: .012, .016, .016p (substituted for .026w), .034, .044, .052).

(Likely) Fender Pro 1x15 (conflicting report as borrowed Sunn amps from Blues Magoos)

For these dates only, Sunn Orion solid state preamp and two 2x15 cabs (some abandoned at Canadian customs, 15 July, 1968).

Miscellaneous fuzz pedals, including Marshall Supa Fuzz pedal, Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face.

Gibson 340 Sonomatic .012 strings (with a .016 for both B and G strings): .012, .016, .016, .032, .044, .056.

Wurlitzer EP-200A electric piano (see: my.stratos.net/~riderz/ wurlitzer.html)

1959 Gretsch 6120 orange Chet Atkins Hollow Body (a gift from Joe Walsh)

Guitar is being processed through an ARP 2600 synth. The guitar output is fed into the audio input of the voltage-controlled filter (VCF) section of the synth. Using the sample-and-hold function, the output is connected to the VCF, which automatically turns the frequency (tone) of the filter to different, random positions in a rhythmic style. (Rich Rowley)

Six to eight Gibson Les Paul Deluxe guitars, some with pickguards removed. Mostly cherry sunburst models, and occasional Gold top.

Some shows with custom-made, blue-face Gelf preamp unit atop amplifier rack.

Occasional use of additional Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, (likely mkiii USA-made version) sitting atop amp rack cabinet.

Additional Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, (mkiii USA-made version) sitting atop amp rack cabinet.

Who Are You synth: An overdriven ARP 2600 synth. The overdriven guitar is fed into a voltage-controlled filter (VCF), which is being controlled by a low-frequency oscillator (LFO) triangle wave. The LFO is set to the tempo of the song at eight pulses per bar, making the tone of the VCF rapidly rise and fall in time with the song. The next step is to make each pulse from the LFO to trigger sound alternately from the left and right sides of the stereo picture. (Rich Rowley)

Four rack-mounted channel-switching MESA/Boogie Studio preamps (one for electrics, one for acoustics, two for backup spares), into Demeter direct boxes into onstage mixing console, fed to PA and to wedge monitor.

Two rack-mounted MESA/Boogie Studio preamps into Demeter direct boxes, to onstage mixing console, to PA.

Two rack-mounted MESA/Boogie Studio preamps into Demeter direct boxes, to onstage mixing console, to PA.

Fender Vibro-King with control pedal. Trace Acoustic amplifier, foot-switchable for mock-acoustic sound from Fender Strat.

Three or four blonde (Antique Natural) Gibson J-200 models with Fishman Acoustic Matrix pickup system, via Shure Wireless System into Demeter direct box into PA.

Four rack-mounted MESA/Boogie Studio preamps (two for backup spares), into Demeter direct boxes into onstage mixing console, fed to PA and to wedge monitor.

Blonde (Antique Natural) Gibson J-200 models with Fishman Acoustic Matrix pickup system into Demeter direct box into PA.

Second leg: four to six Torino Red (two capoed at 3rd fret) models, one Shoreline Gold model and one Olympic White model.

Effects are a compressor pedal (appears to be an MXR M-132 Super Comp into a Boss OD-1 Overdrive.

Until August 2006: Effects are a compressor pedal (appears to be an MXR M-132 Super Comp into a Boss OD-1 Overdrive.

One Lazy J 20 1x12 amplifier stacked on Lazy J (2x12?) speaker enclosure. (Vibro-Kings appear to also be on line, but shielded behind plexiglass.)

Custom effects board, by Pete Cornish Custom Design (Pete Townshend s/n 0609, built January 2007), featuring:

This information, along with all other content included in Whotabs, is intended for private study, scholarship or research. Associated images are included for reference only and are the property of the original owner.