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Pete’s Gear: WEM Fifth Man Project IV guitar

Pete Townshend used — for at least one gig — a WEM Fifth Man Project IV guitar.

Ca. 1967, Watkins 5th Man at Brighton Festival

Watkins Fifth Man at Brighton Festival, 21 April 1967, via ITV.

According to a Melody Maker article in May 1967, Pete used this guitar for the Brighton Festival, 21 April 1967.

The use of the guitar appears in newly surfaced video of the festival, published by ITV.

Whereabouts unknown.


According to the Guitarz blog, the guitar featured: “Magnets either side of the top (i.e., body end) of the neck are used to create a magnetic field across the strings resulting in a sustaining drone effect.”

From the May 1967 Melody Maker article:

Pete Townshend seemed to be using a different kind of guitar than he normally does when the Who played at the Bright Festival. What was it? — Angus McDonald, Worthing.

It was the Watkins 5th Man, which I was trying out for the first time, after coming across it when I strolled into the showroom of Baldwin Burns in St. Giles High Street. I took rather a fancy to it, because it makes some strange noises, but is a very good instrument. It gives a remarkable organ-like effect. What’s more, the price was reasonable. As a rule I play Fenders, but they are so over-priced in this country to my way of thinking. Of course, they make a great sound and they’re tough — they take some knocking about! When we appeared at Brighton I had smashed every Fender I possessed and some fans broke into our dressing room while we were doing a TV show in Germany a few days earlier and stole all the broken bits for souvenirs. They don’t think I want the pieces, but I do because I have new instruments built out of them.
—Pete Townshend

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