THE SQUIRE FILES

TUNERS/CAPOS/PICKS ETC


TUNERS

This is the type of tuner Squire used throughout the Stone Roses. A Boss TU-12 chromatic tuner. Again another Boss product in Squire's armoury. As you will have seen by now, John always sought the best in equipment. This tuner is considered the 'industry standard', which really means it would be the first choice of many people in the field of guitar. Professional players, guitar techs, guitar repairmen etc. It is a solid reliable piece of kit and comes with a very durable plastic casing. It has a needle and lights to cater for both sides of the tuning argument. It can also be used for Bass guitars aswell. The chromatic option is essential if, like Squire, you are playing tunes with a capo. This requires you to tune to flat(b) and sharp(#) keys.


Here is a pic of the Roses playing in Sweden. If we check closely on top of the middle speaker cabinet behind Squire, we should be able to make out his tuner. Although it isn't the closest picture, it is the same as the one pictured above left. Interestingly, there is another pedal in front of Squire which could also be a tuner. It looks very much like a boss pedal. These floor tuners have become very popular in recent years, especially the boss ones. The price of these will keep going up as they can't make them fast enough to meet the demand in this country. Probably about 80 at the moment.

The TU-12 tuners have jumped up in price over recent years. You would probably be looking at about 80-100 for this tuner today. I would say it is a bit overpriced. A second hand one would be a good bet for about 40-50. But not many people are keen to sell them. So that should tell you how good they are.

(Roses at Sweden pic courtesy of www.stoneroses.net)



CAPOS

John had a preference for the elastic capo on his guitars. For anyone who doesn't know, capos have a few applications. 1. Is if your singer is having a bad day and can't quite hit those high or low notes in the normal key your song is in, then you can transpose it up or down a bit to make life easier for them. Although this tends to get the bass players back up!! 2. If you want an open string ringy sound to your song but want to play it in a key like A flat (b) which is not an 'open chord' friendly key (A flat would usually require barre chords). The capo lets you play in your new key but still enables you to use your open chord shapes. 3. They are also useful tools for beginners as they provide an avenue for the player to learn their favourite tunes even if they are in awkward keys that would require barre chords. You just stick the capo on to the fret which would require the barre and then play your open chords instead. Easy!!

For electric guitars you would need a slightly curved capo as the flat ones are really just for classical guitars or very straight neck acoustics. The elastic ones are a bit of a strange choice for Squire as they are probably the cheapest option in the capo market. There are others that are more effective and provide more stable tuning like the shubb capos for example. Although these weigh in at a heady 15 pounds sterling!!


I believe now that Squire probably used Bill Russell capos. On recent inspection of footage the colour of the capo is a sort of dirty blue/grey and red. The colour seems fitting with these banjo capos previously available from Bill Russell. I use ones that are very similar. They cost 1.99 each (very good value!!) from a site I found on the net (Strings and things) and are virtually identical to squires. The recognisable big loop at the side is present, and also the zig-zag tartan type effect is the same. The only difference is the colour is red and black instead of blue and red.

Here (left) is a pic of Squire with his gretsch guitar sporting the afore mentioned capo. This pic is taken from the infamous 'Late show' performance of made of stone. If anyone can shed any light on the particular brand of these please feel free to mail me and I'll credit it on this page.



PICKS/STRINGS ETC

So, what does Squire like to strum his favourite axes with? Well from what I can make out, it seems to be mainly Jim Dunlop plectrums. They have a gauge of 1mm and are black in colour. This is a 'middle of the road' gauge of plectrum. Since Squire plays a bit of lead and does some chordal strumming too, this is a good gauge to use. A light plectrum can sound nice and whispy when strumming chords, but a bit thin sounding if used for lead stuff. Maybe something like a 0.7mm would be good for airy sounding chords. And a heavier gauge plectrum is better for single note lines as it gives the note more body, which in turn gives a rounder tone. So somewhere inbetween 0.7 and 1.5mm would be a good size. Most guitarists tend to use whatever they pull out of their pocket! But on most performances John can be seen to be using regular size (black) plectrums. The other possibility is 'reefer' plectrums. These are quite similar to Jim Dunlop picks, but have a canabis leaf design on them.

As for strings.... Again this is not a well known topic. I don't know which brand/s Squire favoured. However, I can give gauge estimations based on the guitars mentioned in the 'Guitars' pages. For the Gretsch I would think John would use 10" gauge. This is mainly a rhythm guitar designed for chords and finger picking styles. So this is not a guitar for doing screaming high pitch bends on the 'E' string! It's just not meant for that. If you are doing mainly chords and lead work that doesn't involve much string bending, you want the heaviest set you can get away with to give yourself the best tone.

For the Hofner I would again estimate 10" gauge. This is another rhythm based guitar so anything lighter wouldn't be doing it justice. The pink strat would probably have 9" gauge strings I reckon. This is a guitar built for a bit more finger gymnastics! Strat's can be quite hard to bend strings on with a set of 10's. There are some players who can manage big bends quite easily on strat with 10's on it, but I doubt Squire would be comfortable with them. I'm sure I read somewhere that he used 9" gauge on his les pauls (obviously an interview from a later time!!). So if this is the case then I would imagine his strat and the custom jaguar received the same gauge, as both guitars are designed with the lead player in mind.

Again if anyone can provide evidence of particular brands of strings Squire liked to use during this era then please feel free to contact me and I'll credit it on this page.



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