EXCLUSIVE: Quo star Rossi forced to ditch guitar he’s played for 46 years
Francis Rossi claims to have toured the world for nearly 50 years with his 1957 Telecaster
The music veteran has rocked all over the world for almost 50 years with his 1957 Fender Telecaster, making it one of the most distinctive – and valuable – instruments in rock.
But with their latest British tour starting tonight in Liverpool Rossi has been forced to start using a new guitar for the first the first time since 1968 because the wood on the vintage Telecaster has become so soft the guitar can no longer be kept in tune.
Instead he will now be playing a custom-built £8,000 green Status graphite guitar leaving fans in shock that he will no longer be playing the trademark guitar which has been used at over 4,000 Quo concerts and shows including Live Aid in 1985.
Last night Francis told the Daily Express: “I’ve had a love-hate relationship with that guitar for years. It’s still coming on the tour – just in case – but it will stay on the rack unless something major goes wrong with the new one. It’s sad but it’s past its sell-by date.
“I was having more and more issues with it, I’ve messed about with it so much but it just wouldn’t stay in tune anymore. I had this new guitar built but when they brought it to me and it was coloured bloody green again I just couldn’t believe it. But I started using it at soundcheck and it sounded so good. But it was really strange taking it on stage in Germany for the first time – I could the audience looking a bit shocked.
One fan who witnessed the band minus the guitar playing in Germany earlier this week said: “I don’t know what was more strange – seeing a short-haired Francis Rossi without his ponytail or without his famous guitar.
“If I was Rick Parfitt I’d be getting a bit worried as he could be next for the chop.”
The guitar has been seen at over 4,000 Quo concerts but it finally has to take a rest
I’ve had people offer to buy it for a lot of money but to me it is sort of priceless
Rossi bought the Telecaster in Glasgow for £70 when it was still in its original sunburst colour but used some furniture paint to originally paint it black.
He added:” At first it looked fantastic, it was black and mean but when I did a gig it looked really horrible. So, I took it back home, sanded it down and painted it green instead. I’ve never actually finished painting it and now it’s in a really terrible state.
“I’ve had people offer to buy it for a lot of money but to me it is sort of priceless.”
The guitar also has an unusual hole in its body which the guitarist made with a drill to feed his cable through as it kept dropping out while he was swinging the instrument about on stage.”
“Everybody thinks it’s some weird thing to do with the acoustics but it was just to keep the cable to the amps in. The funny thing is when Fender started making my signature guitars they put holes in them just the same.
The guitar has been valued at an estimated £1m but as Quo undertake their current 11 date UK tour, which includes a date at London’s 02 Arena on December 19, it will be left at the side of the stage unless the guitarist has a last-minute change of heart.
Rossi added: “We’ve just done an acoustic album which was really out of my comfort zone and perhaps that has given me the confidence to finally put the Tele to one side. After all these years if people stop coming to the shows because of my guitar then there’s not much I can do about it. I’m sad but the new guitar sounds fabulous. Playing it is as good as sex.”