A truly wonderful picture of the Red Special’s component parts. Brian has given us his permission to share this image, circa August 1963, that sees the body, neck and fingerboard prior to colouring, staining and finishing.
The join between the two layers of blockboard that comprise the body are clearly visible, as is the oak insert. There’s no binding as yet either, and we can see two of the screws (one to the right of the pickups and another behind where the bridge and vibrato would be sited) that hold the wooden ‘sandwich’ together.
There are the woodworm holes in the mahogany neck that Brian would fill with pieces of matchsticks, and the fingerboard sports hand-drawn marks where the mother-of-pearl buttons and frets would go: they’re not all there yet, though! We can also see two of the original three pickups plus the guitar’s first set of machineheads.
“The storage device to the left of he pickups is something I bought at one of the second hand shops in London.” Brian told us in the Red Special book. “It’s probably some kind of mount for something in a submarine, but I put bullraces and a stainless steel tube in it, which was our original design for a low friction tremolo”.
With some of Harold’s radio units also in shot, not mention a home-made power system that somehow includes a Lifebuoy soap box, this proves what a truly scientific project this would be. It’s still amazing to think that Brian would record ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ less than a decade later and a legend – to say the least – was born.
54 years later, he’s still using the guitar and it all started with this pieces.
By all means share these photos, but please credit The Red Special.com should you do so.
Don’t miss Simon’s six-part blog that goes behind the scenes of the book in much more detail