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“I was playing at three times the speed that I normally play at” Pete Townshend says he bought his first Jackson at the age of 78

“I thought, ‘Fuck it. I’ll try one out.’”

Pete Townshend of The Who

Image: Sergione Infuso – Corbis / Getty Images

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It’s never too late to dip your toes into new guitar territory, as 78-year-old Pete Townshend could probably attest to with his recent Jackson purchase.

Speaking in a new interview with Guitarist, the guitar-smashing showman of The Who says that he’s still very much ‘learning and having fun with guitars’ despite being in the game for more than five decades.

Of his latest six-string discovery, Townshend admits: “The other day, I thought, ‘It’s time for me to try a Charvel, or one of these sort of heavy metal guitars.”

“I’ve stuck with Eric Clapton-style Strats for such a long time now, though I do pick up Les Pauls and SGs and I love them, but they don’t allow me enough scope and change on stage. So I’ve always thought, ‘If I buy a Charvel or a PRS or any of those super-fast new jazz guitars, I’m going to have one sound and it’s going to be finger memory.’”

“But the other day, I thought, ‘Fuck it. I’ll try one out,” says the rocker, who eventually decided on a brand-new Jackson.

“I didn’t know that they were owned by Charvel and that Charvel are now owned by Fender, but I bought a Jackson. I got it out of the box and it’s got very light strings on and a notch where the strings are locked down, and it’s got the strings locked at the other end, too, and you tune them with little buttons. And so, the whammy bar is extraordinary!”

“I was playing faster. No question,” Townshend adds. “I was playing at three times the speed that I normally play at. And when I did fingering, drumming, it didn’t stop. It didn’t go thunk; it went ding. Because these guitars are built for a particular kind of thing.”

“So I’m still learning and I’m still having fun with guitars.”

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