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This is a basic guide to the guitar work of Mr. Squire. The goal is to present useful information about the equipment Squire uses and, as comprehensively as possible, a collection of tablatures of his songs which is presented on the Songbook page. It is by no means a complete listing of "all things John Squire", but a starting point for the guitar player interested in playing some of his songs.

This Guitar page is a brief listing of equipment used over the years, and some related matters. The equipment and tablatures found on the Songbook page should set you on the right path mimicking his fiery fretworks.

  1. Introduction : Equipment
  2. Electric Guitars
  3. Acoustic Guitars
  4. Amplifiers
  5. Effects
  6. Equipment shown on The Stone Roses album sleeve
  7. Capo Positions
  8. Interviews and Articles on Guitar Related Matters

Introduction : Equipment

The following list of equipment does not intend to be a complete listing of every piece John Squire has used. Instead, it is a guide to help create some of the tones and sounds that Squire does. Also, since the finances and talents of Mr. Squire, compared to the rest of the populace, are great, the sound he gets is going to vary from song to song on the albums, and from live recording to live recording. So, use this as a guide and you shall be all the wiser for it. You’re mileage may vary, but this is a good start.

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Electric Guitars

Gibson Les Paul (Standard, Custom, and "Black Beauty" Models have been used)
Gibson 335
Gretsch Country Gentleman
Heavily modified Fender Jaguar
Fender Stratocaster
painted hollow body; double f-hole (unknown model and manufacture; possibly never played on known recording)

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Acoustic Guitars

Takamine (unknown model)

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Silverface Twin Reverb--Seems to be the standard. Unknown as to the exact modifications, but rumored not to be standard. With or without master volume is still a question, but less of an issue with rumored modifications.
Other amps rumored to have been used :
Orange (unknown model)
Marshall (unknown model)
Fender Blackface Twin Reverb

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Fuzz Face
Alesis Quadraverb
Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress flanger
Boss flanger
Ibanez Tube Screamer
Vox wah-wah
Zoom distortion unit
Maestro Echoplex
Watkins Copycat

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Equipment shown on The Stone Roses album sleeve

2 Silverface Twin Reverb amplifiers (Unknown if these are master volume or not; and what modifications)
1 Alesis Quadraverb
1 Gretsch Country Gentleman
1 double f-hole hallow bodied guitar with Pollock paint job (unknown manufacture, possible Gibson of some sort)
2 floor effects (possibly Boss manufacture, one a Boss flanger)
Fuzz Face

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Capo Positions

Elephant Stone - 1st fret
She Bangs the Drums - Open
Waterfall - 4th fret
Don't Stop (Spike Island) - 4th fret
Sugar Spun Sister - 2nd fret
Made of Stone - 2nd fret
This is the One - 2nd fret
The Hardest Thing in the World - 2nd fret
Going Down - 2nd fret
Mersey Paradise - 5th fret
Where Angel's Play - 2nd? fret

A lot of the old songs were written on the 2nd, so when in doubt try the 2nd. Also, ignore the Blackpool clips for Waterfall and I'm Standing Here on The Complete Stone Roses video, they took clips from a few different songs and put them together. Also, there are various tabs that recommend various capo positions; your mileage may vary.

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Interviews and Articles on Guitar Related Matters

Currently the only article "Guitar" has in it is from Total Guitar, Issue 4, March 1995. It has been edited for length and any content not relating in any way to Squire’s playing. The following are the relevant bits of the article, The Rise of the Roses.

The actual recording process was simple. Guitarist John Squire wanted to keep a live sound through much of his guitar playing. Simon (Dawson, the producer ) explains "John would usually work out roughly what he was going to play before coming in, and then do three or four takes with the slant on 'performance' I'd usually end up using one of those (the one with the best feel), pinching bits from the other takes if there were any bad mistakes in the best one. We tried to keep it as 'one take' as possible." Surprisingly, even though the Roses are currently considering headlining at Glastonbury, performing the album live in future wasn't a big consideration. According to Simon "They wanted to give it a very live feel anyway".

Valuable insight into the album is given by the kind of music the band listened to at the Rockfield sessions .... for music they tuned into Aerosmith, Sly & Robbie, Dub War and obscure US hip hop artists - as well as a sizable chunk of old Chess rock'n'roll and blues recordings. The band's use of new tunings on Second Coming was probably inspired by these old recordings from the 40's and 50's. The single Love Spreads saw John and Mani dropping to a low D - John used his back-up Les Paul for this. For the blissfully sweet Your Star Will Shine, John used Nashville tuning (you make the three bass strings lighter gauge, then tune them an octave higher than normal - it gives a ringing, jangley style, perfect for picking). As far as effects go, according to the album's producer, Simon, John just used an Echoplex tape delay, a Fuzz Face, an Electric Mistress, a Cry Baby wah and a Zoom distortion (at the end of Driving South). Bassist Mani meanwhile occasionally used a SansAmp pre-amp tube simulator to pump up his Rickenbacker bass and Mesa Boogie rig.

Ten Storey Love Song is the Roses' new single, due out this month. Surprisingly, it's a triumphant return to their first album form. Mixolydian meanderings take us into a huge swooping major chord - you instantly know you're in Roses country here

Take a listen to the new album, and you'll hear that all the right ingredients are there - in just the right combination. Squire digs the leads from his '59 Les Paul and Electro-Harmonix pedals through an old Fender Twin Reverb amp. Another backwards look over the shoulder in the form of Orange amps was evident during the recording sessions, as was an old Maestro Echoplex tape echo unit, again just right for the analogue mood of the album. Though simple, this set-up is very popular. The combination of high output Les Paul pickups through the high gain Fender Twin inputs (made with the low output Strat in mind) produces a great sound, especially when the Fender Twin has been hotrodded for extra boost (as Squire's has). On the other side of the room, Mani's bass consistently holds the project together, rolling and looping through the song and often being the melodic standard bearer, while Squire runs at yet another guitar solo. His sound is warm, round and wholesome, Mani's Rickenbacker bass and Mesa rig being the perfect counterfoil to the bright 12" speakers in the Fender Twin."

John 'modded' his twin amp himself using a kit to bypass the roll off filter providing a more saturated gain stage by some how adding a more direct line from the pre-amp to the power amp.

A lot of John's guitars were built by Doncaster's own Stuart Palmer, including that wicked Jag Mutant from One Love & Spike Island, if anyone wants one of these they vary in price depending on what Jag Stu rebuilds. If it's an original 60's model the charge will be £1500 on top of the £1000 ish for the guitar. If its a Jap reissue the cost will be £1200 ontop of about £400 for the guitar, in white, add more for the sunburst finish.

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Guitar FAQ by Lionel Teo.
Taken from Original Guitar FAQ and Stone Roses mailing list
Copyright © 1999  Schizophrenic Productions. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 24, 1999 .