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Fender honours Canvey guitar hero Wilko
7:30am Tuesday 10th September 2013 in Local News
GUITAR maker Fender has produced 400 replicas of south Essex’s rhythm and Blues legend Wilko Johnson’s signature guitars.
The honour is rare and reserved only for the most prestigious guitarists, who have so far included Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.
American-based firm Fender makes replicas of stars’ guitars for fans and fellowmusicians to purchase and play.
Wilko’s signature black telecaster, with distinctive red scratch plate, has now joined the ranks. They are each priced at about £650.
Wilko, who lives in Westcliff, plays without using a plectrum and often cuts his hand. That’s why he favours a redcoloured scratchplate, as it disguises any blood which drips on his instrument.
Wilko has so far specially signed two of the instruments – one will be auctioned for charity and the other kept at PMT music shop, in Southend.
He visited the store in Queens Road to autograph both guitars on Friday.
He was modest about Fender’s decision to replicate his famous black and red Telecaster.
He said: “I used to be the only person in the world with a black and red Telcaster.
“Now all they need to do is learn the funny walk and you can do the whole thing.
“It’s nice to think that when I started out all those years ago twanging on my guitar Fender would name a guitar after me. All my guitars have been Fender. In my whole life I’ve had about five and I’ve still got four of them now. I’m not one of these people who accumulate lots of guitars.”
Joint managing director of PMT Simon Gilson said: “When someone gets to a certain level of fame and are famously technically amazing guitarists Fender will make a replica.
“For this to happen to a lad from Canvey is amazing. It puts him in a very prestigious place and that is very cool.
“It is normally reserved for huge American stars. We managed to get hold of a third of the allocation for Europe and they were all pre-sold.
“But these two are unique because they are signed. We are keeping one for display in the shop and won’t be selling it. Wilko took the other to be auctioned for charity, so it should raise a reasonable sum of money.”
Wilko revealed in January he has terminal pancreatic cancer, but has continued to make public appearances, including one at last week’s GQ awards when he presented Elton John with a genius award...only for Elton to hand it back to him, saying he deserved it more!
Wilko was a founding member of Seventies Canvey band Dr Feelgood, whose raucous rhythm and blues sound helped inspire the punk movement.
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