Francis Rossi is finally parting with the green Fender Telecaster he used onstage with Status Quo for 46 years when it's auctioned at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London on 17 December with an estimate of £100,000 - £150,000.
Rossi has owned the guitar for more than 50 years and only retired it from stage use in 2015. A year before, Total Guitar caught up with him and late bandmate, the much-missed Rick Parfitt to find out more about their long history with their main Teles.
The Quo leader bought the guitar for £75 in 1968 and as he explains in the video, he refinished it a couple of times before his final choice of green Ronseal. And as he also confirms in the video, he's also had a bit of a "love / hate" relationship with the guitar over the years.
“First I had a stereo Gibson and Rick had a 335 on Matchstick Men," he told Total Guitar in 2016, "Then I had this Grimshaw that I got from the guy from Badfinger [Pete Ham]. A week later, the bridge collapsed in the middle of a show. Our roadie got me two Teles, and I kept one.
"I sanded it down and painted it in green Ronseal. The purists can’t stand the fact it’s got different pickups, bridge, frets, machine heads, neck. The only thing that’s original is the body, and even then I’ve taken the lacquer off.
“I’m heartbroken that my Tele doesn’t work any more," he added about its retirement at the time. "We had a tuning issue. I’ve always found it very hard to play that Tele."
This guitar has huge significance in Quo history from its first appearance on record for 1970's Down The Dustpipe to nearly every album and single up to 2015. It was a familiar site for anyone who saw Quo's gigs until that year, including the band's heroic opening set at Live Aid in 1985.
- Status Quo on riffs, grooves, punch-ups, prison and Kit-Kats
- One for the road: Status Quo's Rick Parfitt on first gigs, pratfalls and stage rigs
- Weekend riff: Status Quo - Down Down
“The green Tele served me extremely well for almost 50 years," says Rossi, "and I’m always amazed when I look back and realise what a chequered history we had together.”
Head over to Bonhams to view the auction catalogue.