Fender Stratocaster 1968

This is what experts call a Vintage guitar - a 1968 Fender Strat with a Rosewood fingerboard and a broad headstock. It is the model of the late Sixties and early Seventies and it was played e.g. by Jimi Hendrix and Ritchie Blackmore. I recently saw John Fogerty from CCR with one on the cover of his CD "Blue Moon Swamp".

It has the true Fender vintage sound and it is still (almost) in its original state. I changed the bridge pickup into a Seymour Duncan Humbucker and the pick-up selector was replaced by a switch with 5 instead of the original 3 positions. The frets are still original.

I bought it in 1978 for DM 700,-. This was a fortune for me at that time. I have played it for years in various dance bands and even in the early years of the Smash Four reunion (1988-1992). Now I do not play it on stage anymore.


Ovation Custom
Balladeer 1994

I always wanted an Ovation. Since they came out in the early Seventies my mind was set on them. I had an acoustic guitar at that time (that I still own): 1969 Framus Texan Twelvestring. But the Framus did not sound very well and there was no way to get them properly miked if you played live. I had a pick-up in the front hole and it sounded awful - just like a bad electric.

I spotted this Ovation in a Duesseldorf guitar store and I knew that was the acoustic I had been waiting for. It is a Custom Balledeer that I have never seen in athe same format. It comes close to the model that John Lennon played on his last two albums but it isn't exactly like that.

Good sound, all in all - very characteristic and different from the Yamahas and Takamines.


Epiphone Sheraton 1992

My adoration for John Lennon is something I cannot hide. This blonde Epiphone Sheraton comes close to the Casino model that he played in his later days. But the Sheraton model was made famous (in red) by John Lee Hooker, the great Blues singer and guitarist. You can admire him with his Sheraton on the cover of "Mr. Lucky". It has these characteristic inlays on the head.

I replaced both pickups by different Di Marzio humbuckers and it creates this extremely fat semiacoustic sound that you hear on the Smash Four "Oldies but Goodies" CD (e.g. on "Mustang Sally").

I do not play it on stage very often these days.


Fender Telecaster 1995


My main model these days: I bought it in 1995 in a guitar store in Coral Gables, Florida for $450 incl. a molded case and (with some gel in my hair) simply carried it through the customs at Frankfurt airport.

The Tele is a simple but great guitar with a fantastic cut-through in the band's line up. The fretboard is just made-to-order for me. Many guitarists are addicted to it - e.g. think of Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones who practically has dozens of Telecaster. Status Quo only plays Telecasters. But also great blues guitarists like Muddy Waters and Albert Collins (God bless his mortal soul) got this unforgettable sound mainly due to the Telecaster.

I have played it again and again on the "Songs from the Basement" CD. The chorused riff on "Here I Go Again" is exactly what I mean when I am talking about Tele sounds. "Bye Bye Baby" is another excellent example.


Fender Stratocaster 2001

This is my ultimate guitar. It is a Texas Hot Rod Special Stratocaster and it has this wonderful hollow Fender sound with a little bit more tear in the pick-ups than the American Standard Strat. The body is beautiful and so is the neck. A masterpiece from Texas !!!!

I got it under very unique circumstances at Ray Hennig's "Heart of Texas" Music Store in Austin, Texas. This is the place where Stevie Ray Vaughn (SRV) bought his famous No. 1 Strat - a 1959 Strat with a 1962 neck. Here's Ray with a picture of SRV. 

Ray is a great guy - he fine-tuned this guitar himself (neck, strings etc.) and he did the most proper adjustment.

 This guitar is so easy to play, it is so easy to deal with ..... it has a special finish on the fingerboard that makes your fingers just slide over it. Baby, Baby! It is my standard guitar on stage today. It's very versatile and it covers everything a guitar player would expect from a guitar.


Epiphone "Casino" 2003





Johnson "Les Paul" 2004

In 2004 I started to find out about a Korean guitar manufacturer called "Johnson". They were offering remakes of classic vintage guitars at an amazingly low price. The first thing that comes to your mind is "..... that probably crap". But - I dared to buy one on Ebay for a ridiculous price: the "Les Paul" copy here on the left. 




Johnson "Nashville" 2004