In The Style Of 'Fast' Eddie Clarke

By Miguel Ángel Ariza

There are two bands that principally marked the career of 'Fast' Eddie Clarke - Motörhead and Fastway - and there are two guitars that are also key in both bands’ discography.   

The first, and perhaps the most important guitar in his life, is the 1972 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe that he bought new in that same year for just over 200 pounds and from which he soon removed its original pick ups to replace them with a DiMarzio. He then stuck with this brand for the rest of his days (including using its microphones and strings). It is with this guitar that we can see him in innumerable Fastway photographs of the time, as well as in the final years of his career.


However, despite having previously worked on such interesting projects such as the Curtis Knight Zeus, for the public and for history Eddie Clarke will always be the guitarist who appeared next to
Lemmy Kilmister. In Motörhead the only way to sound sharper than Lemmy's Rickenbacker was with a 'vitaminized' Fender Stratocaster with a Dimarzio SDS-1 on the neck, a DiMarzio X2N humbucker on the bridge and the Fender original in the half-way position. We have not been able to find out the year of this legendary guitar but the broad body, and it being a 'bullet' model with two 'retainers', suggests to us that it as at least from 1972 (like his Les Paul; although it could be later).


Of course these guitars are not the only two he has played, especially in the case of the Strat - as we have seen him many times with other models (with a similar configuration) -, but it is true that he is a guy who never moved much from his position in terms of sound. At the end of his career he claimed to continue using his 70s’ Boss OD-1 pedal, although he preferred his (at that time) new Mad Professor acquisition, the Little Green Wonder. He also used the Deep Blue Delay from the same brand. 


As for his amplifiers, we have not been able to find many photographs or videos to help us tell you something specific, but it seems clear that Marshall’s - first the Plexis and the JMP, and later the JCM 800 - have been where he has plugged his guitars in throughout his career.

Incredibly - for a guy who appeared at the end of the 70s, in a hard rock band, and who is nicknamed 'Fast' - we cannot hear a scale or a technique that is not pure and hard Rock and Roll. That is something that maybe at the time did not attract the attention of new rockers eager to see a ‘speed and tapping contest’, but now that the years and fashion for that has passed, it is can clearly be seen that what he did was what Motörhead’s music cried out for. 

In a world full of dizzying solos someone had to carry the flag of classic rock... and Fast Eddie Clarke did it.