Roland 505 Synth and guitar controller (3 of ‘em!)
I got my first one back in ’82, a red one with a maple neck. Billy Cobham wanted me to play a synth guitar for the live recording at Montreaux called “Smokin'”. So, that recording is the first time I ever used synth guitar. Love these guitars and continue to use the one that many of you know as “The Blue Guitar”. The synth is analog pitch to voltage.
I was given this guitar back in the mid 90s from Korg, who were distributing Parker at that time. They wanted me to use the guitar for a series of concert/clinics with Tome Coster’s group featuring the late , great Bob Berg(miss him dearly), Alphonso Johnson, and Steve Smith at Franfurt Musik Messe. I took a liking to the guitar because of it’s versatility and light weight. It provided me with a warm, unique sound until recently when the preamp gave out. It is featured on a few tunes on all of my CDs. I would love to get it fixed, but apparently Parker has discontinued the old style pre amp configuration, so it would have to be retro fitted with a new one. The problem for me is that the peizo has no tone control on the new one. A deal breaker for me. Parker has recently informed me that the older style pre-amp is being made available again, so hopefully I will get that guitar back to duty soon.
Fender gave me this guitar to use with MM around 2004. I love the way this guitar feels and looks. I heard a guitar with the new version of the Bill Lawrence noiseless pick-ups that Bill designed for Fender, so I called up Fender and asked them if they could hook me up with some. That’s what is on the guitar now and I love ‘em. I have been using this guitar on the road and in the studio as my “A” guitar recently.
Guild X-170 hollow body electric
I love this guitar. I mainly use it for single note groove stuff to get that James Brown feel, but it’s also great for chunky comping. A funny story involving this guitar happened on a Dave Sanborn session for the record “Songs From The Night Before”. I had borrowed an X-170 for the session from my friend, and great guitarist, Mike Barnett, who owns a music store in Freeport, LI and deals in high quality, vintage instruments. We did a nice track at Electric Ladyland and I figured I was done using the guitar, so I brought it back to Mike. A few days later, we were recording another tune and we were listening down to the track that was recorded earlier. I happened to notice that the guitar dropped out about half way through the take. I asked, “where is the guitar?” and the engineer replied, “what guitar?” At that moment we both realized that half the track had gotten erased. I figured, “no problem, I’ll just call Mike and get the guitar again”. “Hey, Mike. Can I borrow that Guild again?” “Sorry, Dean. I sold it! … but.. I have a black one that’s pretty nice”. I went to Mike’s and checked out the black one. Even though it made me feel like Johnny Cash when I saw myself in the mirror with it, the guitar sounded and felt great. I bought it, and used it on the track. All’s well that ends well.
Sears Silvertone Danelectro (I still have the amp/case)
This was my first electric guitar and the guitar I started gigging with. I have used it a number of times in the studio when I needed a raw bluesy sound. One example is “Where is Paco” from Victor Bailey’s “That’s Right” CD.
Fylde Calaban steel string acoustic
This is an unusually warm guitar with cedar top and a D hole. I bought it in the late 70s. A wonderful guitar to record with as evidenced on the tune “Gemini” from my “Here” CD featuring Marcus Miller on fretless bass.
Pedulla/Orsini solid body electric
I purchased this guitar in Boston, after my ’68 Les Paul Custom got stolen. This was my “A” guitar for years until I went on a winter van tour with Tiger’s Baku in Canada. It was so cold that when I opened the case after a long ride, the finish cracked and for some reason the guitar never sounded the same. I used it on my first big recording with Billy Cobham called “Observations+”. I also used it on “Mudd Cake” Tiger’s Baku and “Vital Information” which was Steve Smith’s first record with that band featuring Mike Stern, Tim Landers, the late, great Dave Wilczewski and yours truly.
Gibson Chet Atkins nylon string solid body electric
I used this guitar in the past, when someone needed nylon string for their music. It’s a nice guitar, but I am not really into the nylon string guitar sound. Maybe I’ll change my mind and pull her out of retirement one day, but that day ain’t today.
Cort Steel string acoustic electric
This is a good solid road guitar, but I used it for most of the acoustic stuff on “Groove Warrior”.
Fender steel string acoustic electric
This is the guitar that I used on MM’s “M2″ and “Silver Rain” tours. Another solid road warrior.
Music Man Silhouette Special
Steve Lukather turned me onto this instrument at a time when my Roland was in need of some tlc and not doin’ it for me. Ernie Ball/Music Man was nice enough to give me this guitar, which I used for a while on David Sanborn and George Duke tours.
Singletouch DB level custom solid body electric with hollow chambers
This is a really beautiful sort of experimental guitar built by Mark Singleton. It has PAF style and peizo pickups. I’ve used it on gigs a number of times.
Fender Jazz Bass (active)
Schuyler Deale “loaned” me this bass 15 years ago! I’m not a bass player, but I have played bass on quite a few recordings and this is the bass I always use. “Plan B” on Dennis Chambers’ “Outbreak” and Mauri Sanchis’ “Groove Words” CDs come to mind.
Custom made 6 string oak fretless bass
Used to belong to my friend, Chris Lakas who passed away a few years back. We played together when we were kids. His family wanted me to have it. Heavy as hell, but beautiful tone. Best played while sitting down.
THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY
Gibson Black Beauty Les Paul Custom ’68
This was my first “real” guitar. I bought it when I was 14 years old with money that I had made from gigs with my first band (Yesterdays Souls) and loved it. This picture is from Korea with my band, “Rush”. That’s right, it was my band first! Later, I was living in Cambridge, Mass, going to Berklee and had left my apartment for an hour and a half one afternoon. When I got back, the Les Paul, along with my Sony television, stereo system, and a quarter oz. of you know what (it was the ’70s) were gone. Like I said, instruments choose you and sometimes you just have to let them go.
Fender ’71 Telecaster
I bought this guitar on a trip to Hong Kong. I was living in Korea at the time. When I went up to school in Boston (74), funds were pretty tight and I sold this guitar to my girlfriend’s room mate on the condition that I could one day buy it back. It was stolen the next day! What are ya gonna do?
Fender ’78 Strat ash body 3 bolt with a maple neck
Nice sounding guitar, really light. 3 bolts suck, though. Lots of problems with the neck moving around. I bought the guitar in ’91 for a tour with Japanese saxophonist Takeshi Ito. Great band- Poogie Bell, Phillipe Saisse, Mino Cinelu, and Anthony Jackson, Norihito Sumitomo . We did a live laser disc, just in case you want to see that guitar. Well, I had a bunch of work done on the guitar and the neck was finally acting right. I was touring with David Sanborn and it was stolen from the bell closet at a hotel in Wilkes-Barre, PA. I used the insurance money to get my X-170. Everything seems to be interconnected.