Stars and Guitars
Michael Heatley
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Buy *Stars and Guitars: The Guitars That Made 200 Rock Gods Famous* by Michael Heatley online

Stars and Guitars: The Guitars That Made 200 Rock Gods Famous
Michael Heatley
144 pages
October 2010
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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The author got his title wrong. It should have read "200 Rock Gods Who Made Guitars Famous." In the hands of an inspired player, the guitar is simply a tool. Jimi Hendrix made the Fender Stratocaster famous. Jimmy Page made the Gibson Les Paul immortal. Pete Townshend made the Rickenbacker 345 infamous. Not the other way around.

Heatley has chosen 200 guitar players and written about their guitars. There are obvious choices - Randy Rhoads and his Jackson; Eddie Van Halen and his Charvel; Steve Vai and his Ibanez; and The Edge and his Explorer - but some of Heatley's guitar/guitarist selections are unbelievably incorrect. He pairs Jimi Hendrix with a Gibson Flying V. This is ridiculous. Jimi messed around with a V, but everyone in the world associates Hendrix with the Stratocaster. He also pairs Slash with the Les Paul, and everybody knows Slash used a Les Paul copy on the early Guns 'N Roses albums, not a genuine Gibson. He lists Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour along with Eric Clapton as the most famous players of Fender Strats. Certain Gilmour deserves the mention - he's been using a Fender since the very earliest psychedelic days of the Floyd. But Clapton only came to the instrument much later in his career, and only after he'd done his best guitar playing on various other Gibson instruments.

Additionally, the author fails to give credit to one of the main quotes in the book. Pete Townshend talks about smashing his Rickenbacker, and Heatley makes it sound like the excerpt came from one of his interviews. Wrong. This quote actually comes Steven Rosen, your friendly book reviewer. Here is the quote: "

The neck broke off because Rickenbackers are made out of cardboard. I had no recourse but to make it look like I had meant to do it. So I smashed this guitar and jumped all over the bits. Then I picked up the twelve string and carried on as though nothing had happened. The next day the place was packed."
It is a wonderful quote, and Heatley must be commended for stealing the best. He should have done more homework and rightly credited this quote to Steven Rosen. There are some terrific photos here if nothing else.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2010

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