The latest Guitar Gavel podcast episode is with the amazing Pete Flynn. Pete has such a whopper of a guitar story that it’s the focus of this week’s newsletter. The lineage of the 1959 Strat that Pete now owns started with Dylan and passed through the hands of Johnny Winter, Rick Derringer, Mike Bloomfield, and Sandy Toranto. Below is the story in Pete’s own words. We also talk about it in the podcast which I hope you get a chance to check out.
“I own the 1959 Candy Apple Red Stratocaster that was on the cover of Rick Derringer's ‘All American Boy’ album with Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo. It was originally purchased by Dylan's manager John Hammond, (who was also Billie Holiday and Steve Ray Vaughn's manger), who then gifted it to Bob Dylan. Dylan years later gifted it to Mike Bloomfield during the recording sessions for Highway 61, then he had his girlfriend paint it purple.
Then in the 70's Bloomfield gifted it to Johnny Winter who loaned it to Rick for the photo shoot of the ‘All American Boy’ album cover and gatefold. Johnny then had it painted Candy Apple Red by Phil Kubicki when he worked at the Fender factory. Shortly thereafter he had the tremolo removed and added the stop tailpiece and the knurled Tele knobs so he could play slide on it.
Johnny then gifted it to Sandy Toranto who was the guitarist for Edgar Winter at the time. My brother Michael and I bought it from Sandy in August 1993 as we had been in the Chicago China Club house band with Sandy.
I met with Rick Derringer in November of '93 and had him sign it.
Two years before Johnny passed I met him when I worked for Dean Zelinsky at Dean Zelinsky Guitars and Johnny signed it for me.
I'm not sure there's another guitar out there that has this much star ownership/pedigree behind it. The guitar also appeared on the cover of Vintage Guitar magazine in 1994. It is currently on display at Rumble Seat Music in Nashville.”
Pete added, “I like to have it out in the public eye for all to enjoy.”
And that last line of Pete’s narrative says it all. He’s an amazing guy, super gracious and humble, and a complete gentleman. When you find the time I hope you will watch or listen to the podcast, it’s time well spent.
Here are my show notes:
There is so much goodness in this episode with Pete Flynn that I really struggled to write a concise, yet comprehensive summary of his story.
At the end of the day my first draft did not do our conversation justice and nor was it concise, so here’s a “from the gut” synopsis:
Pete is a world class nice guy, a world class guitar player (and drummer), guitar tech, and now a world class pickup builder. His stories go on for days and include a long list of household names that he's done work for, built pickups for, or played with.
Recording this show with Pete on a Saturday night was the highlight of my week. If you take the time to watch or listen I promise it’s time well-spent.
Quest for tone:
After a 40-year mission to find the “perfect” amp was complete, Pete moved on to finding the perfect pickup. (He shares his amp setup in the show)
It started with a 1950 Broadcaster Pete owned and his desire to build a clone. He finished the replica in about a year, but after experimenting with five sets of custom pickups the original Broadcaster tone remained elusive.
So he decided to make his own proper set of Broadcaster pickups and managed to unlock the magic. Next up, recreating a 59’ PAF and once again, mission accomplished. Pete goes into depth on his pickup builds and how he conquered the task.
The pickup business is relatively new, but Pete’s initials are PAF, enough said.
Thank you for being a guest Pete, it was truly a privilege.
Here’s where you can find Pete:
Pete’s current band- www.pettyunion.com
Lick of the Week with Stevie K
Grid Board Organization
Put your thinking cap on and be prepared to take a few notes. Steve’s lick is in his favorite key, they key of D… and it’s a 5-minute Master Class. Thank you Steve for sharing your time, treasure, and talent! Enjoy!