In The Style Of Dave Davies

By Miguel Ángel Ariza

This week it is time to focus on the gear of Dave Davies, the guitar soloist of one the greatest bands in history and one of the favourites of the person who writes these lines: The Kinks  

It is true that it is a band that drinks and projects pop from all sides but it is also indisputable that it was them, and specifically the protagonist of this article, who shifted the path of 60’s rock towards much rawer sounds.  

The legend goes, and incidentally Dave Davies said it many times himself in his interviews, that tired of sounding always like all the other guitarists of the period and limited by the still primitive technique of that decade he could not think of anything else but to take the cone of his Elpico amplifier that he used to display his Vox AC30 and crack it with a razor to create a broken and distorted sound to play what is probably one of the most important riffs in history, that of You really got me. This was not only for what it signified in the band’s career and popular music, but also because of the impact it had on guitarists and composers of the day who undoubtedly saw in that sound the way to go. From
Pete Townshend to Jimi Hendrix himself, a huge number of guitarists recognised the influence of that sound and that riff on their compositions.

The guitar with which he recorded that riff was a Harmony Meteor but he didn’t keep it too long; nor any of his other models. In fact it is difficult to think of a legendary guitar model that can be closely linked to the figure of Dave Davies. The explanation can be found from the words of Davies himself in an interview in which he says that the idea of accumulating guitars never passed through his head - simply when he is happy with one he gets rid of any others - which explains why we have seen periods of him with a Gibson Les Paul Goldtop or a Custom, an Epiphone Casino, with the extremely rare Vox Phantom V or with a Guild Starfire (one of the few models that he really did miss). But perhaps that most related with the Kinks’ glorious years is his Gibson Flying V; a guitar that he bought in a pawn shop after losing a Gretsch at an airport that had originally been made for George Harrison, who had got rid of it.

Currently Davies can be seen with a Gibson Les Paul Studio or a Fender Telecaster with Lace Sensor pickups installed and plugged into a Peavey Classic 30. The years pass, the guitars pass, along with the amplifiers, and nothing remains. It is clear that Dave Davies doesn’t form a part of the vintage club, and much less of creating emotional links with his guitars. He has used them, he uses them and he will use them to make music… but he is clear that he is the one making the music and the guitars are only an instrument.

Find you own way to the tone of Dave Davies