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the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

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the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby tobi777 » 23 Feb 2015, 20:57

Hi everybody,

does anyone have further information about the dark blue Stratocaster Chris played in the 80s?
I've only seen him using this guitar in 1986 - not before, not after. Some say it is in the colour "Lake Placid Blue" but to me it looks different, less metallic and darker. What happened to it?

And what about the second red Stratocaster - does it really exist? I was told the second one was tuned in standard tuning ("Pinky" is tuned in open-E tuning, EBEG#BE) and there is a video on Youtube from the '85 Concert at Lorelei where he played "Josephine" with a red Strat which could be this guitar - because "Josephine" has no slide guitar in it and the solo is in standard tuning. But it looks very, very similar to "Pinky" and in 2014 he played "On The Beach" also on "Pinky" at a few gigs.

Thanks for any help.
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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby andrew fischer » 12 Mar 2015, 14:32

Hi Tobias,

thanks for raising this issue, this all also has been puzzling me over the years.

First I thought it was his Bluey guitar in another (original) paint, as Chris tells in an interview it was dark-blue when he bought it (wishing for a Ry Cooder style guitar). But now that I am not quite sure and sometimes it seems to me that dark blue one is another guitar and it sounds different to Bluey. I hear it in slow live versions of Josephine, for example.

The dark-blue guitar appeared in 1985, not in 1986, as it can be seen in this video from Golden Rose of Montreux dated 08.05.1985: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaXbs6nN8OY

Here are also some pictures with this guitar, from Montreux, 08.05.1985 (with Willie and the Poor Boys sticker on it) and from Rotterdam, 25.11.1986 (already with Formentera sticker):

Image
Image

An I think these black and white photos from late 1986 also depict the dark blue guitar:

Image
Image

Some short info about this guitar from 'Watersish' website: http://www.watersish.com/archives/cat_c ... rettyPhoto[pp_gal]/7/

Regrettably, I cannot remember the other videos in which this guitar can be seen... To be honest, I still suspect that dark-blue one became light-coloured Bluey in 1987, as there is not hint on dark blue guitar after 1986 and neither is of Bluey prior to 1987...

Moreover, Chris seems to have used the dark-blue guitar for the same songs in which he later used Bluey, that is why I thought they are the same, just in different color, Bluey in its light-blue colour first appears in 1987 (see picture below from Munich Circus Krone, 16.11.1987), it is also seen at Rock am Ring (04.06.1988): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egqQJxRNvek

Image


For the second red guitar, it is even more tricky question, long since unsolved. I was also puzzled by Chris's not playing Josephine with the blue guitar at Rockpalast Lorelei (17.08.1985). And you can see Chris playing red strat in the beginning of the gig (Bombollini) and the 2nd red guitar is definitley seen behind him:

Image

My friend from Moscow once tried to ask Chris about this guitar in Moscow back in 2006, but the translator did her job badly and asked Chris something stupid. I assume that second red guitar was lost when Chris's home studio was flooded in early 1986, he tells about it in this interview: http://chrisrea.biz/full/Guitarist%201986_04_2.jpg
I think that here Chris also mentions buying Bluey in early 1986.

And here is the more peculiar picture of Chris from 1985, where he seems to play live with a Telecaster!

Image

And for the dessert, Chris playing live with acoustic guitar (I think it is performance of Fool from a 1984 gig):

Image

Hope I can manage to find more info on this so we sort out all these things one fine day...

Thanks again and best regards
Andrey
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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby tobi777 » 13 Mar 2015, 11:42

Hi Andrey,

thanks again for your effort, I appreciate it. Marvellous pictures as well.
Your theory of a repainted "Bluey" is very interesting - never thought of that.

I've also read the '86 interview you provided the link for and was even more confused. In his excellent video that came with his signature guitar from Fender he talked about this incident but said that it was the very guitar he is still playing. No mention of a second pink one that was also affected.

So either both pink guitars were exposed to water and only one survived - the one he is still playing today - or they were able to save "Pinky" and he stopped using the second one at osme point.

If I remember correctly some years ago I saw pictures from an official auction in which Chris gave away one of his pink Stratocasters (can't find it anymore).

Another interesting thing: Chris said that "Pinky" was originally more of a Candy Apple Red than pinkish but in '62 CAR was not listed an optional colour and it would have sparkled, too. So he must be wrong.
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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby andrew fischer » 13 Mar 2015, 13:21

Hi again Tobias,

thanks a lot for your further comments on this subject!

tobi777 wrote:I've also read the '86 interview you provided the link for and was even more confused. In his excellent video that came with his signature guitar from Fender he talked about this incident but said that it was the very guitar he is still playing. No mention of a second pink one that was also affected.

So either both pink guitars were exposed to water and only one survived - the one he is still playing today - or they were able to save "Pinky" and he stopped using the second one at osme point.


I agree, it is unclear from 1986 interview what happened to each guitar. Chris tells in this article he actually uses 2 strats (not mentioning the colour) when speaking about Pinky. He also points out that, after trying various guitars, he got stuck to 2 strats at that moment, but does not mention which ones exactly. He also tells about a "really hard blue strat he just acquired" and I suspect he speaks about the dark-blue one he first played in 1985. It seems that he must be talking 'bout Bluey and Pinky there, after all, especially if the dark-blue strat really is Bluey.

I assume in 1985 Chris was still trying to find a proper guitar for standard tuning, and the 2nd pink strat (in standard tuning) at Lorelei was a substitution for the dark blue one seen at Montreux Golden Rose. I also think that it is Pinky, his main guitar from 1980, which he regrets that much being suffered from the flood, but it seems it survived and got back for good in the end; and the 2nd red strat did not and it was not that valuable to revive, so it was replaced with the blue one.

I aso remember the words of Tommy Willis, CR's guitar tech, that when he started working with Chris, presumably in 1987, Chris had only 2 main guitars, the red one and the blue one.

toby777 wrote:Another interesting thing: Chris said that "Pinky" was originally more of a Candy Apple Red than pinkish but in '62 CAR was not listed an optional colour and it would have sparkled, too. So he must be wrong.


Thank you for this deep insight on model years and colour line-ups! Yes, Chris may be wrong in defining the color, he often tends to be inaccurate in his memories, so either building year (1962) is incorrect (which I doubt) or the original color is slightly different, but I do believe it was not pink originally and the bright red colour faded with time. BTW, that is why I assume dark-blue guitar is Bluey - it also lost its bright color at some point (but was not repainted).

toby777 wrote:If I remember correctly some years ago I saw pictures from an official auction in which Chris gave away one of his pink Stratocasters (can't find it anymore).


I can hardly recall anything like that, but I strongly suspect it was 1999 CR Signature strat that was put on that auction, or just another new built strat in a suitable colour (that Chris might use for a while).

UPDATE: here is the interview where Chris tells a short strat of Bluey strat: http://chrisrea.biz/full/guitarist%202001_2_5.jpg

It appears to have been BLACK originally, but seems Chris to get it in Lake Placid Blue, just like Ry Cooder's '62 strat he admired. So it really seems that Lake Placid Blue coloured strat later become light-coloured Bluey, always used for standard tuning.

Thanks again and best regards
Andrey
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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby andrew fischer » 16 Mar 2015, 09:33

tobi777 wrote:If I remember correctly some years ago I saw pictures from an official auction in which Chris gave away one of his pink Stratocasters (can't find it anymore).


Hi again,

here is the article in which there is a charity contest/advertisement of 1999 Chris Rea Signature 'Pinky' Strat:
http://chrisrea.biz/full/guitarist_1999_4.jpg

I am pretty sure it is the charity event you were talking about.

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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby tobi777 » 20 Mar 2015, 21:31

Hi Andrey,

I think it was an official auction like Christie's or Sotheby's but maybe my memory is cheating me.

Another curious fact: On the Facebook group page (Chris Rea fans) is a pic of Chris with "Bluey" and you can clearly see that the logo and other parts of the the headstock decal are nearly gone.

On newer pics the headstock looks complete and nearly good as new.

Maybe he changed the neck or there are different "Blueys"?
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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby tobi777 » 23 Mar 2015, 17:44

It appears to have been BLACK originally, but seems Chris to get it in Lake Placid Blue, just like Ry Cooder's '62 strat he admired. So it really seems that Lake Placid Blue coloured strat later become light-coloured Bluey, always used for standard tuning.


That would explain why the dark blue colour never looked "right" to me - regarding the Fender colour charts. But the black tape he put on the light blue guitar after 2000 after his illness - and at that time the guitar had been light blue already.

BTW I don't believe that the Lake Placid Blue faded into the light blue that fast - in just one year from '86 to '87!
Additionally it would be very unusual because fading is always irregular and Lake Placid Blue tends to get more greenish - and also only after many years of exposure to sunlight etc. - but it never gets that light colour.

So either it was really refinished and that explains why "Bluey" still looks good after all these years - or we are talking about two different guitars and "old Bluey" hasn't been played in public since '87. Maybe he traded it against the other guitar.
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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby andrew fischer » 24 Mar 2015, 07:51

Hi Tobias,

thanks a lot once again for your active research on this amazing issue!

tobi777 wrote:On the Facebook group page (Chris Rea fans) is a pic of Chris with "Bluey" and you can clearly see that the logo and other parts of the the headstock decal are nearly gone. On newer pics the headstock looks complete and nearly good as new. Maybe he changed the neck or there are different "Blueys"?


This is the easiest part of the puzzle - I find it quite evident he simply replaced some parts of the old battered Bluey, including its neck. He said not once that the frets almost lived their days away and the overall neck may not stand a full concert cone day, so that he did not play it much and used the brown strat instead. Now that he finally decided to exchange/renew the neck of the Bluey.

tobi777 wrote:It appears to have been BLACK originally, but seems Chris to get it in Lake Placid Blue, just like Ry Cooder's '62 strat he admired. That would explain why the dark blue colour never looked "right" to me - regarding the Fender colour charts.


In this case I cannot tell for sure - whether Chris got this guitar in black and made it repainted being its new owner, or he was told that it was once black and Chris bought it as he liked its Ry Cooder-ish colour.

tobi777 wrote:But the black tape he put on the light blue guitar after 2000 after his illness - and at that time the guitar had been light blue already.


Yes, of course, Bluey had been light blue before being wrapped in black vinyl in 2000-2001. It was also light blue again in 2004, and in 2002-2003 Chris seems to have not used Bluey at all. Please correct me if my memory does not serve well.

tobi777 wrote:I don't believe that the Lake Placid Blue faded into the light blue that fast - in just one year from '86 to '87! Additionally it would be very unusual because fading is always irregular and Lake Placid Blue tends to get more greenish - and also only after many years of exposure to sunlight etc. - but it never gets that light colour.


Thanks again for the notice about the colour charts and their changes with time, I really lack this knowledge. Yes, this really puzzles me. First I thought the change in colour was due to the flood in Chris's studio, but it was early 1986 and the guitar was still dark-blue in late 1986. I assume Chris got it refurnished after 1986 as he considered it looking too new, not bluesy enough, as he points out in 2001 Guitarist interview.

tobi777 wrote:So either it was really refinished and that explains why "Bluey" still looks good after all these years - or we are talking about two different guitars and "old Bluey" hasn't been played in public since '87. Maybe he traded it against the other guitar.


After all I still tend to stick to the point that there has always been one single Bluey in different appearances.

tobi777 wrote:I guess it is even more confusing. We need high quality pics of both blue guitars and we should ask CR himself.


Well, asking Chris himself is guite an unbelievalu thing to do, but we can try to get to his old guitar tech, Tommi Willis, he must know the answer and give even more precise information than Chris, as Chris is always VERY inaccurate when recalling things and events from his distant past.

We can also watch again the videos from 1985-1988, as there is quite a lot of the on YouTube now:

1985-05-08 Josephine live at Golden Rose of Montreux +
1985-05-11 (?) Telebox Special 40 min. 0
1985-08-10 Steel River live in Rotterdam, NCRV Los Vast Kuipspektakel +
1985-08-17 Rockpalast Lorelei VHS +
1986-05-16 Dublin, Self-Aid 2 songs (Live for Ireland DVD) +
1986-07-10 Montreux (less 2 songs) +
1986-08-24 Ohne Filter Extra, Baden Baden, SWR TV Studio +
1987-10-15 Tokyo VHS +
1988-02-20 London, Royal Albert Hall, AIMS Gala DVD 5 songs +
1988-06-04 Rock am Ring, Nuerburgring 3 songs +

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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby andrew fischer » 27 Mar 2015, 15:32

Hi again Tobi,

it seems I have found the information about the other CR's red Strat sold in an auction, here are the links:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/511369732661162362/
http://www.vintageandrare.com/product/F ... a-Red-3566

Decription: Fender Stratocaster 1962 in Fiesta Red this guitar we believed to have been owned by Chris Rea. This guitar has been in a private collection for many years. He had 2 of these Fiesta Red Strats with Motor Circuit Maps. The guitar is all original but shows much wear to the finish. If any fans have any more info or pics. it would greatly appreciated. It has a later case.

Picture:
Image

So, it seems to be the twin Pinky Strat seen in 1985 RockPalast Lorelei video. It is told to have been in a private collection, so it was not Chris who put it on an auction.

best regards
Andrey
Last edited by andrew fischer on 27 Mar 2015, 16:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby tobi777 » 27 Mar 2015, 15:53

Hi Andrey,

a big, big THANK YOU! I was about to doubt my memory but now I am sure I saw this very picture. One mystery solved - but it is still peculiar why Chris said that he lost one Strat in the "flood".

Maybe this one was not sounding good anymore after the incident and so he sold - or traded it. At least this explains why he was never seen with two red Strats again.

Thanks again
Tobi
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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby tobi777 » 27 Mar 2015, 16:14

BTW here you can see a pic in high resolution of Pinky - 2006 state I suppose regarding the pickups, and with a new pickguard,as well.

http://www.guitarhq.co.uk/gallery.html

Interesting: it seems to me that Pinky was either produced in late '62 or early '63 - but not earlier because it already has a rosewood veneer fingerboard instead of a so called "slab board" (thick rosewood) only used until end of '62 - and not later in '63 because it still had the old position of the pickguard screw (second screw from above on the left).

The picture you kindly provided only shows the body but I've watched some videos of the Rockpalast '85 gig and it seems that the other Strat was also a late '62 or early '63 model.

The wear on the guitar body seems identical to the Strat he played at the Lorelei gig so I am pretty sure it was really this guitar he played in standard tuning.
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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby andrew fischer » 27 Mar 2015, 16:41

Hi Tobias,

once again thanks for your activity and appreciation!

For the flood aftermath - it still uncertain, whether he talked then of Pinky which survived, or this twin red Strat which he gave away.

I know these HD pictures from Guitar Repair website, they provide a perfect close-up to see the detailed technical side of Pinky.

Thank you very much again for precise production year detection, very good to know all these technical details. BTW, could you do the same detection of Bluey's year of issue?

Thanks a lot again
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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby andrew fischer » 18 Jan 2016, 09:04

Hi Tobias and others,

here is the scan of the "bonus" page from the December paper issue of The Blues Magazine with the big article on Chris ("Straight shooter", see it here: viewtopic.php?f=17&p=13146#p13146), the extra part is called "A few of my favourite things" and Chris tells here in short some important things about his main guitars and some other stuff:

Image

I was most impressed by his words on the "mysterious" dark brown battered guitar which he now uses for the live versions of Julia, Josephine, Morning Sun and some others.

Take care
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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby ann268 » 18 Jan 2016, 09:53

Great Andrey, thanks for the share.
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Re: the dark blue Strat / the other red Strat

Postby tobi777 » 26 Jan 2016, 22:19

Thank you, Andrey!

I was very pleased to read the part about the worn brown Strat.
Now we know more about this guitar - at last.

Cheers
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