speaking about Steve Marriott and his guitars it is necessary to
distinguish between Steve Marriott the spiritual leader of the British mod movement
of the mid and late 60s together with the ‘gigantic band of small men’ that he
led, The Small Faces, and the Steve Marriott with bell bottoms,
open shirt and long sideburns ready to bury his old choruses with great guitar
parts and hard rock riffs with Humble Pie in the 70s.
Every band has their own sound and for that reason Steve used, as could not be in any other way, distinct guitars.
We start with the Small Faces, one of the bands that put most perfect choruses on the table in a decade of perfect choruses. Put in the shadows perhaps by the greatness and longevity, beyond the 60s, of groups like The Who and The Kinks, the Small Faces could look themselves in the face without feeling inferior to any other, and that’s not a smalll thing to be said. However we have to add to Marriott’s incredible voice his talent at composing and his colleague Ronnie Lane. In those early times, when he was the elegant king of Carnaby Street, he used to be accompanied by various Grestch brand models: a 6120, a Tennessean, a Country Gentleman, and even a White Falcon that made the small scale of his genius voice stand out even more. Later he would opt for a Fender Telecaster modified with a P-90 pickup on the neck that he kept for a long time until it split in two at a new year concert at a time he felt unhappy with the sound of the band…
At the end of both the decade and the Small Faces ‘the good of Marriott’ decided that it was time to show the guitar hero that he had inside and decided to turn his career towards the sound that was starting to be imposed thanks to bands like Yardbirds, which were becoming increasingly hard, Cream and Hendrix. Hard Rock had arrived quickly and Steve Marriott decided to buy himself a stack of corresponding Marshalls and put the 'official' rock guitar on his shoulder: the Gibson Les Paul. In his case he principally went for a black Gibson Les Paul Custom although we can also see photos of him with a Standard.
It was a curious transformation and a progressive hardening of a genius who didn’t feel it was sufficient to be one of the best composers of his times and one of the best and most influential singers in history, but also wanted to be a guitar hero when that was the focus of all the spotlights on the stage. He bet his career on all or nothing … and he won.