Right Said Fred’s Fred Fairbrass on 80s Strats, ignoring advice and getting lost backstage

In addition to being partly responsible for global megahit I’m Too Sexy, Right Said Fred guitarist Fred Fairbrass says he’s also a guitar aficionado with a penchant for FujiGen Strats.

The moment it all started…

“Probably when I saw a local band play at my school during the lunch break. I think they were called The Game; I was about 11 years old maybe 12. I knew then that I wanted to learn to play. I pleaded with my dad to buy me a guitar, he eventually bought me a classical guitar, not very sexy but great for beginners. It forced me to learn the correct hand positions and finger exercises.

The first guitar I had that felt like a ‘real’ musician’s guitar was a Takamine dreadnought acoustic. It’s an early 70s model. My dad got me a great deal from Ivor Mairants in Rathbone Place, London.”

I couldn’t live without my…

“I have four Fender JV Strats, they’re all from 1982 with red or grey bobbins. Personally, I have struggled to find a Strat that plays as well as these early FujiGen Gakki models. There’s just something about them, the necks are exceptional, they’re reliable on the road and sound great in the studio.”

The one that got away…

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“I sold a Sunburst 1963 Fender Stratocaster. For reasons I really can’t remember I traded it in and got a 1961 Cherry Red Gibson ES-345. Also a great guitar, but I should have kept the ’63 Strat.”

My signature model…

“I would probably ask Duesenberg to make me their version of a Strat. I use Duesenbergs on the road, they’re really good touring guitars and exceptionally comfortable on stage plus the people at Duesenberg are very supportive. A single coil Strat-style Duesenberg would be fantastic.”

The first thing I play when I pick up a guitar…

“If it’s an acoustic I generally play an open E minor or a G major. Then I’ll play a few chords up the neck to feel the action and the tonality. If it’s an electric, I’ll play chords all around the 5th and 7th frets.”

The best advice I’ve ever been given…

“There’s a few that still ring true. There are no rules. In the music industry that is definitely true and proven on a daily basis. Go with your gut. Again, that’s true. In the music industry there are a lot of distractions and naysayers; it took me a while to learn how to filter out the noise. No one knows anything is true when it comes to the music business, the record labels, in particular, are populated by some of the most pointless human beings I’ve ever met. Stick to your guns and ignore the A&R guys. They’ll probably be sacked within the year anyway.”

Good Times Everybody Right Said Fred

My Spinal Tap moment…

“In the early days of wireless technology, we had wireless guitars systems picking up frequencies from the local mini-cab firms. On a European arena tour, we couldn’t find the stage. From the dressing room to the backstage holding area was just a mass of identical corridors and fire doors. Eventually we got rescued by a lady from catering. During one show I fell over and was too drunk to get up, so I played lying down for a while until the room stopped spinning.”

My guilty pleasure…

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“Effects pedals. I buy lots and sell some. I just love swapping them around, some can be very inspirational for writing.”

Right Said Fred

The first thing on my rider…

“No stairs. After years of weight training I have delicate knees and lower back. After a show, stairs are a pain… literally.”

If I could just play one thing

“Not a style per se but just to be able to play faster and neater when needed, that would be very cool.”

Right Said Fred’s Tide and Good Times Everybody are out now on RSF Recordings under exclusive license to Phoenix Music International.

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