Dave Brock Guitar Stuff

This is very incomplete, will be updated when and if more information comes to light.  If you
have more information, please
email me or add it to the Guestbook on the Index page.  Thanks
go to Captain Bl@ck, Doug Pearson, Marc Sperhauk, Mick Crook and Guy Thomas
ABOVE: A Westone Spectrum LX - probably how the Captain's looked
before the custom paint job

RIGHT: Dave's Ibanez Artist, with Roland GK1-A guitar synth pickup
...and post-...: *4* pickups!
Above:Westone Paduak, 1986

Left: Westone Spectrum LX,
1985...
The Dick Knight guitar
pre-the 1974
customisation...
Boss BE5M effect unit: where the crunch comes from.
Pic by a tall Dutch fellow named Frank - thanks mate!
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It's difficult to get much detail on this subject, because I think Mr. Brock is not really terribly interested in
guitar-related things.  Considering the wide variety of guitars he has used, it is probably a case of whatever
works...The following list shows what I know he was using at any given time:

Year | Guitar                 | Amp          | Effects
-----|------------------------|--------------|-------------------
1969 | Harmony Stratotone     | Vox AC30     | Echoplex
-----|------------------------|--------------|-------------------
1971 | Dick Knight custom     | WEM and/or   | SolaFuzz Wah
   | (Gibson Les Paul custom| Marshall     | Binson EchoRec
   | copy)                  |              |
-----|------------------------|--------------|-------------------
1972 | '68 Zermaitis          | 100 watt     | Coloursound
  | custom 12-string       | Hiwatt stack | Wah/Fuzz/Swell
-----|------------------------|--------------|-------------------
1975 | Fender Jaguar          |              |
-----|------------------------|--------------|-------------------
1977 | Gibson SG Junior       |              | Coloursound Phazer
-----|------------------------|--------------|-------------------
1979 | Ibanez Artist          | H/H 100 watt | Flanger, Phaser,
   |                        | head, H/H and| H/H echo unit,
   |                        | Hiwatt cabs  | Echoplex
-----|------------------------|--------------|-------------------
1982 | Westone Paduak         |              |
-----|------------------------|--------------|-------------------
now  | Westone Spectrum LX    | Roland JC120 | Boss BE5m
   | Gibson Les Paul Custom |              | Roland Guitar Synth
   |                        |              | Line6 POD amp/effects unit
I think Dave has had 2 or maybe 3 different Westones, the current incarnation of which looks like the
Spectrum LX model to me.  (They were also sold under the name of the Electra Phoenix, btw. But Guy
Thomas, confirms that "The Captain's has a locknut, so it is definitely a 1985 Spectrum LX.  The 1986
model has the jack socket on the side.")  The one he has used for the last few years has a very distinctive
custom paint job, done by former roadie Alan Arthurs, I believe.  The Westone Spectrum LX is perhaps a
rather strange choice of guitar.  Westones are not expensive, in fact you can buy them very cheaply.  
Expect to pay under £120 for one like Dave's ($180).  They are built like a rock but for some reason have
very low resale values.  I don't think they're still being made (the 80's were Westone's heyday)... Dave
started using Westone in the early 80's and even endorsed them in Westone ads at the time.  His first one
was a Westone Paduak, adorned with a custom paint job featuring Warrior On The Edge Of Time artwork.

On the subject of the Westone Paduak, here's some interesting background from Guy Thomas: "Just to
confirm, that I did paint Dave's Westone, back in 1984.  Here's a summary taken from the Westone site,
about the history of my Hawkwind-painted guitar (actually, Hawkwind is regularly mentioned in the
discussion forum):

1982 - Saw Brock playing a Paduak-1 at Donington. (Harvey was playing a Thunder-II bass, and I believe
Huw had a Concord-II)

1983 - bought the same Paduak-1

1984 - painted a really cheap Jazz bass with the warrior cover, both sides. (back & front of the LP cover)

1984 - Earth Ritual Spring Tour.  Got backstage at Slough, met the band, showed Dave a piccy of the
Warrior Jazz bass - he liked it

1984 - summer - painted my Paduak, just on the front, with the warrior cover

1984 - Winter tour - took the Paduak to Crawley - Brock loved it

1984 - Winter tour - Dunstable gig, Brock gave me his Paduak to paint the same way!  Far better than the
paint job on my own!  Returned to Brock, one week later at Reading gig, where he used it for the very first
time on Orgone Acumulator, when a string snapped on his main axe!  Just after the previous track, he gave
his main guitar to his roadie to restring, legged it back to the dressing room, to pick up the Paduak,
returned to the stage and was fumbling with the switches to work out the loudest setting and it was
horribly out of tune too!  Aha - fond memories!  He's since had the pick up replaced (I'd painted the
original yellow, to blend in). I wonder if he still has the original Paduak pick-up?"

2006 - the Paduak gets some live use during Hawkwind's set at the Eastern Haze festival (22/07/2006).  See
Photo Galleries
300 and 301 The fact that the Captain seems to have started the set off with the Spectrum
LX and then switched to the Paduak-1 suggests the Spectrum is still his preferred guitar and the Paduak is
a backup.  Still, it was nice to see it reappear after all this time!
Right: ...and in 1997, with the custom paint job
On with the story.  I know (since he told me
on an IRC band chat) that Dave uses the bridge
humbucker pickup and that his amp is a
"special Roland amp" - subsequently clarified as
a Roland Jazz-Chorus 120, or JC120.  He has
been using the same amp and guitar for 10+
years, so it's most probably an 80's
model.These are transistor amps, not tube
amps, and are renowned for their sparkling
clean sound and reviled for their horrid
distortion, so it seems likely that DB uses his
Boss 5EM multi-fx unit to obtain his overdriven
sound.  This is his only current effects unit
(apart from a Line 6 POD) and comprises the
following effects: Chorus, Limiter, Delay,
Overdrive/distortion and Compression......
Dave's guitar from 1971-75 looks very like a
Gibson Les Paul Custom but was in fact built by
the late Dick Knight - see company website,
here. According to Keith Kniveton, this guitar
originally had 2 pickups but was then customised
(in 1974) to have 4 in all!  During this time period
he was also using a 1968 custom 12-string made
by luthier Tony Zermaitis, and a pre-WW2 Milner
6-string acoustic.  On the subject of old guitars,
here's a quote from Jeff Watson (old friend of
Dave Brock's) in Hawkfan no. 10.  This
concerns DB's guitars in the days of Eel Pie
Island, long before Hawkwind.  "Dave had a
'Michigan' guitar, that is Spanish style with a
resonator in the belly.
He also had a 12 string on which he used to use a top banjo string on the second pair of strings.  He also
taught me a very good way of claw-hammer picking, using the thumb and first finger instead of thumb and
first three fingers."  There is a photo of Dave busking around this time, in Photo Gallery 14.  The guitar he
is playing may be the Milner - it certainly isn't a 12-string (with or without banjo strings) and doesn't look
like it has a resonator.
The Fender Jaguar which he was using in
the mid-70's (left) is a guitar which is said to
have a superb rhythm tone.  I think it must
be this guitar on Kings of Speed (Astounding
Sounds, 1976), which has a really powerful
snarl to it.

The Gibson SG was used on and off for a
couple of years (1976-78).  There are
photos of it in the Quark tour programme,
and included in one of the photo albums on
this site.  Perhaps it was this guitar which
was sold to a fan straight from the stage of

Hawkwind's last gig (in San Francisco) at
Hawkwind's synth player, now owns this guitar, and has this to say:
"...it's an  'Ibanez Artist Active EQ' (model 2622) according to its
instruction manual
(still got that!).  There is a pic of an identical
instrument on the old Ibanez website, which makes me think it wasn't a
one-off.  Dave used the guitar live right up to 1986 - in fact when I
bought it there was a set-list from the tour still in the case.  Incidently,
the flight case is still adorned with various stickers and passes from its
time on the road.  Something else you may not be aware of was that
Alan Davey used this same guitar for his album Captured Rotation.  
You might be interested to know the function of the controls - the two
large knobs are Volume and active boost gain, the three smaller ones
are Lo, Mid and Hi boost and cut. There is also an Active Boost on/off
switch and a standard bridge/neck/both pickup switch.  It still has the
optional Ibanez mains power supply too, which powered the guitar
through the audio-out jack socket.  The third photo shows the guitar as
it was when I bought it, complete with Roland GK1-A guitar synth
pick-up fitted."  (The photo he refers to is shown at the top of the
page.)  Active EQ was a popular feature of electric guitars at the time,
which soon fell out of fashion and never came back in... By the way,
the Ibanez Artist was a great guitar and they have now been reissued.  
You
used to be able to pick up a late  70's / early 80's one for £300-£400, which was a great price for a top
quality guitar.  They may have gone up in price as a result of new ones being made available again, though.  
(This happened when the Yamaha SG2000 series was reissued a couple of years ago: my 1984 Yamaha
SG3000 original, which I bought for £350 in 1990, is now worth something like £900!)
I've just found an early Hawkfan which confirms the equipment Dave
was using on the 1979 tour: 2 H/H 100 watt amps, 2 H/H echo units, 1
Echoplex unit, 2 old Hiwatt speaker cabinets (dating from 1973), 1 H/H
cabinet, Ibanez Artist guitar.  He was also using 1 Korg synthesizer and
1 EMS synthesizer.  It is possible that one of the H/H amps, one or more
of the speaker cabinets and one or more of the echo units were used
with the synthesizers and not guitar.  Dave also puts echo on his vocals
a lot, so the echo units may have been used there too.  Not listed in the
above, but mentioned by Dave elsewhere in that same article, is the fact
that he was also using a phaser and a flanger at the time.  You can
definitely hear a flanger at work on the Live 79 version of Master of The
Universe.

With reference to the guitar effects, the only specific ones he is known
to have used are listed above.  Most of the guitar effects heard on the
studio albums are probably derived from studio effects devices, not
guitar pedals.  For example the phaser on the Doremi version of Lord of
Light.  (What a fantastic effect, though...the best bit of phase-shifting
ever committed to vinyl!)  Oddly enough, for the man who invented space rock, Dave Brock doesn't
actually use a lot of guitar effect these days.   According to Keith Kniveton (him again! - a valuable source
of information!)  Dave also uses a Roland GR50 guitar synth.  There is apparently a dedicated pickup for
the synth, wired between the bridge pickup and the bridge itself.  Quite which elements of this go to make
up Dave Brock's unique tone is open to question. But...

If you wanted to try to recreate Dave Brock's guitar sound, the easiest way would be to get hold of a Line6
POD multi-effects unit.  Plug any electric guitar into it and select the POD Crunch setting: set the Drive on
full.  Boost the high mid frequencies to taste, and off you go...gives that "Needle Gun" sound to a T.   In
fact, Dave has bought a Line 6 POD this year (2004).  Or you could buy a very expensive Dumble amp and
just run that at full tilt...
the end of their US tour in 1978.  Captain Bl@ck confirms that "it's in the
photos for the Astounding rehearsal.  Marc Sperhauk has that one."  Marc
has been kind enough to send me a photo (right) and to identify this guitar
precisely, it's actually a Gibson SG Junior, manufactured in the period
between late 1963 and mid-1965.

The Ibanez Artist guitar was equipped with active electronics (where the tone
controls actually boost the bass and/or treble rather than just filter them out.)  
You can hear this on the intro to Motorway City, with the chords being
strummed while Huw is up in the stratosphere somewhere.  (Keith Kniveton,