Peter Frampton details his farewell tour guitar rig

Peter Frampton
(Image credit: Frank Hoensch/Redferns)

“It’s three Marshall cabinets, dry/wet situation. It’s a stereo rig, it’s enormous. I feel embarrassed that it’s so big… but you need to have a big rig to be able to do all that, and lots of effects. 

“There are about eight or nine guitars that I’ll use in a show, acoustics as well as electrics. Basically, I have an old ’70s Marshall head that’s been modified to drive all the effects and to come out in stereo either side of the one Marshall cabinet, which is dry in the middle. It’s very involved, but it sounds godly. 

“I’ve worked on it for years and years until I got to what I really liked. I could just as well come up there with a little 2x12 combo and a couple of floor effects and do the same thing, but why when I’ve got all that beautiful stuff? I want it to be good.”

Is your Les Paul Custom still your main electric guitar?

“Yes and no. Yes, for the numbers that it recorded with Somethin’s Happening and Lines On My Face, Do You Feel [Like We Do], [I Wanna] Go To The Sun, numbers like that are on the live record. But on numbers I’ve done since, I have the ’64 ES-335 Gibson, the Freddie King year, which is an incredible guitar. 

“If I could only have one guitar other than the Custom, that would be it. A 335 just about covers every aspect of what a guitarist does. It’s not a Fender, but I don’t use Fenders that much – I’m a humbucker guy.”

There has been some talk on the internet recently about the switching system on your Custom. Does it differ from a standard three-pickup Les Paul?

“It’s very simple. Forget about the middle pickup for a minute. If you think about the bridge and the neck pickup and the selector switch, the selector switch still works exactly the same way with those two. You can have one on, the other on or both on. They are then only wired to the top volume. They’re both wired to one volume and one tone.

“Then the middle pickup is just wired directly to the bottom volume. There is no switch for it, but I can blend it in. It changes it from a Gibson to a fat Strat because you bring that middle pickup in like a Stratocaster. It’s in and out or it’s on its own because I can turn the other two off and just use it, which is another sound. You don’t have time to get bored with it. You can change the sound on a whim.”

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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.