This article will attempt to draw together knowledge about the electric guitars used by Hank Marvin, particularly during his time with The Shadows. It has the word "some" in the title because of the extensive period of time over which Hank has performed and also the wide range of music genres covered. He has certainly played many, many more instruments than listed here, particularly after The Shadows early period, and it would be almost impossible to try for a complete list. In particular, I have focussed on those known to have been used either in recording or in concert, and so many of the Fender Custom Shop Hank Marvin "signature" guitars, including those released as the 25th and 40th, anniversary models are not yet included, even though Hank may have played a role in the development of some of them.
The information presented here is an on-going exercise and, as such, is subject to amendments and extensions. It has been collated from a number of sources including discussions with Hank, various published interviews with Hank and other members of The Shadows, photographic and video evidence, discussions on the various Shadows chat sites and private communications. For all of these I am grateful and I have tried to give some more specific acknowledgements at the end of the article. Also, I would welcome hearing from anyone who could contribute further to the list.
As with the accompanying articles on echo units and amplifiers used by The Shadows, the list is presented in roughly chronological order. While it might be tempting to try to say what tune was recorded with what guitar, apart from the major changes in equipment (e.g. Strat to Burns, the move to the Black Strat in the 1970's, the extensive use of the 1958 Strat during the 1980's, the three Fender custom Strats from the 1990's onwards), and also some obvious cases (e.g. the Burns Double Six, Fender Bass VI), there is no definitive way of knowing, particularly in the transition periods, and so I have largely refrained from such speculation.
1. Hofner Congress used up to around 1958 (pre Shadows/Drifters).
Not originally an electric guitar, but Hank fitted a pickup so that he could be heard when playing solos.
2. Antoria LG50
Used from 1958 to 1959.
3. Vega (one Rickenbacker pickup near the bridge)
Used up to 1959
Shown here being used by Bruce, Hank playing 34346.
4. Japanese copy of a
Gretsch White Falcon
(borrowed from a friend)
Used on Living Doll in 1959 before Hank got his
Hank states that the guitar was a Japanese copy
of a Gretsch though there is some circumstantial
evidence that it might have been Bruce’s white
Grimshaw or possibly an Egmond hollow body.
He mentioned in an interview on Undercover in
2007 that the vibrato at end of Living Doll was
done by pressing on the tailpiece.
Bruce with his white Grimshaw.
Tony Harvey with his Egmond, which might have been
borrowed by Hank.
5. Fender Strat (Fiesta Red, maple
fingerboard, gold hardware, number 34346)
When Used: late 1959 - early March 61
6. Fender Strat
(Fiesta Red, rosewood fingerboard, chrome hardware)
When used: early March 1961 - late 63
Use in The Young Ones and Summer Holiday.
7. Gretsch (6122 Country Gent)
When used: 1961 on Nivram and A Girl Like You, as reported by Hank.
Seen here on a stand during the 1961 Wembley Pollwinners' concert and at some later time in the studio.
8. Fender Strat (White/White then White/Tortoiseshell) - Early 1963 to late 1964
Probably used on Los Shadows EP and many singles at that time.
9. Fender Bass VI
Used on: Stingray 10/1/65.
Hank still has this guitar, used on Cliff and The Shadows Reunited CD, double tracked with a Strat in On the Beach.
10. Burns Marvin, both white and greenburst.
When used: late 1963 - 72. Used on Flingel Bunt (25/2/64)
and most probably the tracks on Dance with the Shadows
that were recorded in February 1964 (with John Rostill on bass).
In 1965, the Burns company was sold to Baldwyn and the guitars were retro-fitted with the Baldwin name.
This is Hank (MW&F) in 1971 with the Baldwin name fitted.
11. Burns Marvin S prototypes
Used on 1967 Australian tour but never put into production.
12. Burns Double Six greenburst from circa 1964
(normal guitar strings paired with light bass strings in octaves). Used in Wonderful Life 1965,
On the Beach, I'm the lonely one. Also another Burns Double Six greenburst, but with the normal 12 string setup
13. Fender Strat. Purchased around 1972 following the theft of his Burns Marvin.
Originally white with maple fingerboard, body later repainted black sometime around 1975 and fitted with various pickup combinations (including Gibson humbucker, Di Marzio FS-1 and Fender wide range humbucker). It was given to his son
Ben sometime late in the 1990's and the neck changed to rosewood with some other electrical changes.
When Used: 1973, 1979 tours, 1974 Cilla Black Show (white), 1975/6 Eurovision song
contest (black), 1977 20 golden greats tour, 1978 Thank You Very Much tour with Cliff, 1979 TOTP.
One of the many incarnations of the scratch plate on the black Strat.
14. Les Paul Custom and Deluxe.
Used in the 1980's (MW&F).
Deluxe shown here from live performance in Amsterdam in 1972 (licensed from Gettyimages).
15. Roland guitar synthesiser.
Reputedly used on Love Deluxe and Honorable Puff Puff and 1978 Royal Albert Hall concert.
Seen here (bottom right) in a 1986 photo of Hank's guitar collection, as are many of the
other guitars described here.
16. 1957 Fender Strat (Sunburst, white scratchplate)
ex Tony Hicks (Hollies). Used in the 1980's.
17. Giffen Custom (humbuckers)
Built for Hank in 1975 and used on Cliff and The Shadows Reunited CD
18. In 1980 Hank purchased a 1958 Fiesta Red Strat from Patrice Bastien. He used it extensively up to about 1989. Apparently fitted with a Giffen neck and Kinman Hx pickups at some stage.
19. Fender Strat (1986 Fiesta Red, copy of 1957 original, number V000002)
Presentation from Fender in 2/12/86 as second guitar made following staff takeover of Fender
from CBS. #1 is hanging on the wall at Fender.
Used on Cliff and The Shadows Reunited CD in 2009 with 12 -52 strings.
20. Three Fender custom Strats.
When used: 1989 - present, including 2004/5 and 2009/10 tours. Two from Fender Custom Shop,
one built up by Arbiter, strung with 10's, 11's and 12's. Had Kinman Hx pickups but now fitted with CS 54's
Hank still has the 1989 prototype that he said "initially had many things wrong".
21. White HM Strat, played by Hank at the Knebworth concert in 1990
22. 1956 reissue Danelectro Baritone (Green, MW&F)
Used on the Cliff and Shadows Reunited CD
23. Burns, white 50th Anniversary model (fitted with Kinman pickups) and "Shadows" model.
Used for 2004/5 tour.
24. Mexican Standard Strat finished in custom "Scotsman" livery.
Used on Cliff and The Shadows Reunited tour 2009-2010.
25. Burns Double Six Apache
Used on 2009/10 tour.
26. Custom Shop CRS59 "Oasis" Strat (number 51).
Seen on TV Today (18/09/2009) in promotion for Reunited tour.
27. Various acoustics.
Though beyond the scope of this article, Hank has also used many
acoustic guitars, including Gibson B25 (& B45) in Redburst and
Gibson J200 in Sunburst. Also models by Ramirez, Lakewood, Maton,
Yamaha, David Hodson, Aylward, Collings, Favino, Selmer, Gitano Martin,
Huss and Daltonamongst others.
Much of this information was gleaned from discussions on the various
Shadows chat sites, with particularly valuable contributions from Jim Nugent,
Charlie Hall, Stuart Duffy and George Geddes.
I am also grateful for the many images sent to me
by Bjarne Vang, some of which appear here.
I apologise for any other names that I have overlooked and should be included,
please let me know and I will be happy to make amends.
Hanks guitar rack for 2009/10 Reunited tour.