The secrets behind Pete Townshend's tone on The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again

(Image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

Tone spotters and gear geeks frequently rely on photos and videos of live and television performances when trying to decode the recorded tones of famous players, but this can often be a misleading pursuit. One great example of why that is so is Pete Townshend.

In the early '70s, Townshend was almost always seen on stage with a late-Sixties Gibson SG Standard and massive stacks of Hiwatt amps, but in the studio during this period he rarely used either. Instead, his main guitar rig on classic Who albums like Who’s Next and Quadrophenia was a 1959 Gretsch 6120 plugged into a 1959 Fender Bandmaster amp.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.