Roger Daltrey’s guitar timeline
By popular demand, here is a work-in-progress timeline of Roger’s occasional onstage use of guitars with The Who. This page is under construction.
Although primarily a microphone twirler, Roger did in fact start out as the lead guitarist in the Detours. He would revisit the guitar onstage in 1982 as accompaniment to Pete. Then, as the group began touring again in earnest in the 1990s, was featured in each set for a few numbers playing acoustic guitar.
Table of contents
- Home-built guitars:
- First one made out of plywood, based on an acoustic.
- “I made several that were quite good except that the necks used to fold up. The last one I made was actually a good guitar because my uncle, who was a carpenter, made the neck for me. I used that on stage up until about 1962 and then my dad bought me an Epiphone.”
From December 2007 interview in the Sun:
- You played guitar in your first band?
- The skiffle thing was taking off. I just had to get a guitar. We couldn’t afford to buy one so I bought some wood and some guitar strings and made one. It wasn’t very good, like playing a cheesewire, but it taught me. It made the noise of a guitar and I could play, relatively in tune, the first three chords that anyone needed for most skiffle songs.
- How did your band progress?
- We got our skiffle group together but my first guitar folded up within three to four months. It literally couldn’t stand the strain on the strings. The second one was quite reasonable. Someone at my dad’s work had a guitar and we copied it. It was a big step up and allowed me to go on playing.
- I was still playing every night at the boys’ club in the Goldhawk Road. I went from acoustic material into electric. My Fender was copied from a guitar shop window. They were more than £100 then. You could buy a house for £100. That’s how much money they were. My dad had to get the equivalent of a mortgage to buy my first factory-made guitar.
Epiphone, “professional” guitar, purchased by his father in 1959.
Before I Get Old:
By 1959, Roger was serious enough about his music to convince his father to buy him a professional’s guitar, an Epiphone. Perhaps Harry Daltrey thought that this could also help keep his son on the straight and narrow for a time.
Ca. 1962 or 1963, as the Detours. Pete playing a Levin Goliath LM-26 sunburst acoustic with pickup in soundhole, and to the right of Roger, who is playing the Epiphone Wilshire that he would eventually give to Pete, what appears to be a TV-front Vox AC-15, with cabinet corners.
Roger is lead guitarist of the Detours, until Townshend joins the group as rhythm guitarist and eventually takes over all guitar duties. He “built the band’s guitars out of plywood.”
- Home-built guitars
- Hofner solid body
- 1961 Epiphone Wilshire solidbody electric, with a “small body and little black pick-ups,” eventually sold to Pete on “easy payments.”
Plus, a Vox AC-15 amp that both Roger and Pete played through (acquired from former Detour Roy East).
Click to view larger version. Ca. 1962 or 1963, as the Detours. Roger with homemade “Stratocaster” guitar?
Ca. 1962 or 1963, as the Detours. Pete playing a Levin Goliath LM-26 sunburst acoustic with pickup in soundhole, and to the right of Roger, who is playing an Epiphone Wilshire that he would eventually give to Pete, what appears to be a TV-front Vox AC-15, with cabinet corners.
Vintage Guitar info: Epiphone Wilshire.
Ca. 1982, with black Schecter.
Ca. 1982, with Fender Esquire.
- Spare Schecter telecaster-style guitars
- Fender Esquire
Ca. 1989, with Gibson Chet Atkins SST.
- Gibson Chet Atkins SST steel string “solid body” acoustic/electric, in antique natural finish.
- Solid spruce, mahogany back and sides.
- Mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, 25½″ scale.
- Bridge-mounted piezo transducer.
- Active volume, bass and treble controls.
- Gold-plated hardware, mini-Schaller tuners.
- Spare Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster.
Amps were one or two Mesa-Boogie Simuclass, each through one Mesa-Boogie 4x12 cabinet.
Gibson discontinued models info (archived)
Ca. 1997, with Gretsch Rancher.
- Gretsch Rancher 6022 flat top acoustic, unknown vintage. Likely fitted with Fishman electronics.
- Gibson J-200, sunburst
Ca. 1997, with Gibson J-200, sunburst.
- Vintage Guitars info: Gretsch Rancher 6022
Gibson J-200 acoustic (with attached tuner), blonde
July 2002, with Versoul Buxom 6 acoustic guitar.
Versoul Buxom 6 jumbo flat top acoustic guitar. Purchased from Westwood Music, LA, in spring 2002.
“What I loved about this guitar when I was first given it is that it makes me want to play — it is got an incredible bell-like quality that makes me sound like a much better player than I actually am.”
“And there is something about the quality of the sound that makes me discover more and more the chords and progressions and things I was previously unaware of. It just made me want to play a lot more than I used to. That is the sign of a good guitar.”
- Red cedar top, East Indian Rosewood back and sides, and bridge
- Gotoh nickel-plated tuners
- 13/19 frets, 25¾″, bolted-on neck joint
- Schertler Bluestick transducer and preamp
- Versoul Buxom 6
- Finnish news article on Versoul’s Kari Nieminen – Guitar Maker to the Stars – Hand-made instruments from Pitäjänmäki workshop find favour with The Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, and The Who
Ca. 2007, with Gibson Everly Brothers Flattop.
- Gibson Everly Brothers Flattop jumbo acoustic, unknown vintage, often with feedback inhibitor insert (“FeedBack Buster”) in soundhole.
- Taylor, unknown model.
- Fender Esquire (same as 1982)
- Spare Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster.
Amp for acoustic is Fishman Loudbox; for electric is Fender Twin Reverb 2x12 combo.
Ca. 2006, with Fender Esquire.
Ca. 2006, Roger’s amps setup.
Roger also played harmonica on stage and in the studio.
- Lee Oskar
Premier, Percussion Plus
2006 Percussion Plus 10″ tambourines courtesy Rock Stars Guitars. Includes a tambourine signed by Roger in May 2010 for Rock Stars Guitars, who donated the item to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
h/t to Rodney G. for requesting this page.