Maybe not many people recognise his photo, maybe there weren’t too many media outlets that echoed his disappearance last year, maybe he wasn’t even the best guitarist of his time...but friends, anyone on this planet considering how a 50s electric guitar sounds, will automatically think of Scotty Moore...even if they don’t even know his name.
This is all possible simply because Scotty was there when the Big Bang took place. This happened when his guitar accompanied the artist who changed the world forever and of course the unconscious collective associated with Rock & Roll in the 1950s. There’s no argument: Elvis is Rock and Roll, and Scotty Moore is the guitar of Rock and Roll.
Although it is quite likely his first known guitar was a ‘53 Telecaster, Scotty Moore had always been true to Fender’s eternal competitor . His first recordings with Elvis at Sun Records were made with a Gibson ES-295. Later he would switch to a Gibson L-5 until finally he got, what for many is their flagship insignia, into his hands: a Gibson Super 400 from 1956. Maybe it was even the Gibson group itself that gave this great guitar to good old Scotty. In the 50s Gibson already knew about the trademark effect that could bring an endorsement from someone as famous in those times as Elvis’ guitarist.
Apart from the characteristic sound from these guitars with their P-90 bodies, we cannot forget to mention the echo effect that has always been linked to the most primitive rock and roll guitar and more specifically to the recordings by Scotty Moore with Elvis at Sun Studios. The key to this sound was the amp Moore had built to emulate his hero Chet Atkins (who already used one), a Ray Butts Echosonic, the first amp with echo effects from tape. Put this ‘slapback’ effect together with a style based on Atkins’ finger picking , but played comfortably with class that goes beyond average, add the most incredible and transgressing voice in history, and there you have it...the authentic sound of Rock and Roll.