Although the Manic Street Preachers frontman has played a lot of different guitars and drawn inspiration from six-stringers as wide ranging as Simple Minds’ Charlie Burchill and Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, it’s the white seventies Les Paul Custom and Slash-influenced solo stylings of his early work that still defines him.
Bradfield’s main Les Paul is signed by Sex Pistol Steve Jones on the back – “I’m such a sad c**t I had it laminated immediately” – and speaking to Guitarist magazine in 2004 he revealed a still-strong love for Les Pauls:
“Strats always seemed like a slutty guitar – too easy! When I see young kids putting on a Les Paul and saying, Aww, it’s very heavy… I just think, Ponce! You feel you have to drag the music out of Les Pauls. You have to fight it, they’re much more confrontational to the player, but I think that’s good.”