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“I helped Mike build the pickups for an electric guitar he’d made. It was a semi- acoustic with f-holes. I used to hold the wire around an electro-magnet, around the centre of an old wind-up gramophone, to wind the wire round the magnet, using a bit of a fag packet as the support for the magnet.
"I would tinker about with that, but one day I saw this Harmony Meteor, with DeArmond gold-foil pickups. My mum paid a few quid down, and we got it on what we used to call HP – like credit, you know? The never- never. That’s when I started to really learn fast, when I had my own guitar. I used to copy records. Ray and I would be playing The Shadows and The Ventures and Johnny And The Hurricanes and all that stuff.
“We didn’t have an amp at first. We would look through the Exchange & Mart for cheap amps, and there was an amp called a Linear 30. It was 20 quid or something. We bought that, and we built a little speaker enclosure. That was probably my first amp. It was pretty s**t, but it made a noise; that was the main thing.
"I loved it. Then we started to play; we started to play together a lot. Then we met Pete [Quaife, original Kinks bassist]. He said he had a Fender when we first met, but it wasn’t; it was a Futurama.
It was a cheap copy of a Fender. Everybody wanted a Fender or a Gibson, because the American guitar players played them.
“The three of us played guitar and started hanging out together, and we started a little band at school. We bought a Watkins Dominator amp. I remember there was a band that had Watkins Dominators, and we thought, ‘Wow!’ They were really space-aged, they were triangle-shaped.
"One of our first ever gigs was me, Pete and Ray, and a kid that played drums at school, called John Start. All three of us, three guitar players, all plugged in to one Watkins Dominator! It was bouncing up and down. Then we had to make a decision: who was going to play bass? I’m afraid that Pete drew the short straw.”