Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr on his greatest gear buys, regrets and why he's an enabler of impulse purchases

Charlie Starr
(Image credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Blackberry Smoke)

What was the first serious guitar that you bought with your own money?

“Now, ‘serious’ is debatable. I bought a 1985 Gibson Les Paul Custom, a Pearl White one. I bought it because it looked like the pictures I had seen of Randy Rhoads playing one. I bought it for $500 and I had to borrow the money from my sister. I kept it for about five years or so. 

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David Mead

With over 30 years’ experience writing for guitar magazines, including at one time occupying the role of editor for Guitarist and Guitar Techniques, David is also the best-selling author of a number of guitar books for Sanctuary Publishing, Music Sales, Mel Bay and Hal Leonard. As a player he has performed with blues sax legend Dick Heckstall-Smith, played rock ’n’ roll in Marty Wilde’s band, duetted with Martin Taylor and taken part in charity gigs backing Gary Moore, Bernie Marsden and Robbie McIntosh, among others. An avid composer of acoustic guitar instrumentals, he has released two acclaimed albums, Nocturnal and Arboretum.