In The Style Of Peter Green

By Miguel Ángel Ariza

Peter Green is the best guitarist of all time. Yes, I know what you’re thinking and yes, I’m exaggerating so I’ll change the sentence to this: Peter Green is my favourite guitarist of all time, so allow me to get a bit sentimental.

Hendrix changed my life but this guy has been feeding me daily for a long time now. The most incredible of all is that Hendrix died at 27 and Green literally lost the connection to Earth at 24 due to a bad trip on acid from which he never returned (to full faculties) didn’t matter , he had already poisoned us for eternity with his songs and way of playing the guitar.

We usually talk with extreme ease about the characteristic tone of this or that guitarist and we usually always say that that tone is based exclusively on that guy’s way of playing, but Peter Green, besides his incredible talent on the 6-string, adds to his sound something exceptional and unique that sets him apart from the other guitarists of his time. Peter Green didn’t sound like any of his contemporaries, and what is more, his ‘59 Gibson Les Paul Standard didn’t sound like any of the Les Pauls; and we mean that literally. All of it, likely by chance or a mistake by the luthier.

There are 2 stories going around about why ‘Greeny’ wound up with such an amazing sound: one says that it was Green himself who decided to turn the pickups around on his Les Paul to get a special sound, while the most likely says that it was some sort of mistake by the guy fitting the pickups  who turned one of them around, creating that sound in the mid-position as if out of phase so characteristic of the first Fleetwood Mac.

There’s also the possibility that it was a factory error and the guitar’s pickup sold already fitted like that...we’ll never know; it forms part of the legend and the musical literature of the 60s that we love so much. What we do know is that we’re talking of likely the most famous electric guitar of all time, and perhaps there’s someone who doesn’t know why. Here are some reasons:

1. It’s a ‘59 Gibson Les Paul Standard, the most prized piece in our world.

2. It turns out it landed in the hands of one of the best guitarists of all time, Peter Green, founder, using it on almost every song, of one of the most famous, best-selling bands  in history, Fleetwood Mac.

3. Peter Green sells his guitar in the 70s, for a laughable price, , as if from a magic object with its own powers made the deal, to a young fellow who seems to play quite well. The young fellow was a die-hard Green fan, his name was Gary Moore, who went on to become a worldwide star...and one of the most remarkable guitarists of our time.

4. Many decades later, contrary to other historic guitars that end up hanging from millionaires wall, or as sad pieces in a museum, a collectionist sells the guitar to a guitarist ( unheard of until then).

5. Ah, I have forgotten. The name of the player who bought the guitar is Kirk Hammett of Metallica, and he’s one of the best around.

With such a story behind us, pardon me for not having told you much , but apart from all this he used amplifiers like Orange, Marshall, of the AC30 from Vox, he’s also been seen with a Stratocaster, and especially with a Fender VI, a hybrid of bass and guitar he used in many shows,..but of course, beside that Gibson Les Paul Standard from 1959, everything else seems drab.

Find you own way to the sound of Peter Green