Book Review: Star Guitars: 101 Guitars that Rocked the World

A review of Star Guitars: 101 guitars that rocked the world

By Dave Hunter

I think it was Radio Head’s Thom Yorke who said, “Sometimes the nicest thing to do with a guitar is just look at it.”  Well, if, like me, your idea of a good time is staring at cool guitars, you’ll appreciate Star Guitars: 101 Guitars that Rocked the World.

This 287-page hard-cover tribute the rock’s glamour instrument offers a little bit for everyone. What takes your fancy? The ridiculous, like Rick Neilson’s Custom Hamer Five-Neck, the classic like Chuck Berry’s Gibson ES-30? How about the retro cool, like Jack White’s 164 Airline Res-O-Glas? Whatever you prefer, you’ll no doubt find it in this book.

True guitar aficionados will be pleased to learn that Star Guitars: 101 Guitars that Rocked the World is more than just pretty pictures—although the cutaway of Eric Clapton’s ‘Fool’ Gibson SG on the cover is rather impressive. No, there is plenty of trivia, back stories, and technical info to keep any guitar fan happy. And, it’s not just the same-old-same-old, either. I certainly learned a thing or two. For instance, Richie Blackmore used a reel-to-reel tape recorder as a pre-amp to soften his Stratocaster’s tone, and Prince’s guitar in the Purple Rain video is actually a Hohner HG490. I always thought it was a Telecaster. It wasn’t until I looked back at the video that I realised my mistake.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is that Queen’s Brian May built his Red Special guitar with his dad at just 16 years of age. What’s even more impressive is that he still plays it today, and Star Guitars provides some interesting details on this iconic axe.

Should you spend your hard-earned cash on Star Guitars: 101 Guitars that Rocked the World? Well, I did, and I don’t regret it for a second. I can think of no better reading material for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Andrew Healey

Editor

Andrew is an Auckland-based writer and musician.

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