Getting That Sound: Rick Parfitt

A brief yet effective guide to getting a sound like Quo's WOMORR (Wild Old Man Of Rock & Roll), Rick Parfitt.

Ultimate Guitar
An Introduction; Rick Parfitt has been perfecting his sound with Quo for 50 years now. For most tracks, he just needs the drive of his guitar and a Marshall, combined with his relentless rhythm style (of course). Most people presume that he uses a Telecaster on every track, all the time. But that's not the case. The Telecaster is used more often than not, granted. But he's also been known to use Gibsons, Steinberger and Ovation, as well as those I'm about to mention in the following sections. I will now show a list of his equipment and a round-about way of getting his sound with cheaper alternatives... Main Guitars; - White 1965 Fender Telecaster. His main and most famous guitar. With damage all over, a disconected tone pot and a Lego wheel where the volume control used to be, this instrument is very unique indeed. - Natural-finish Fender Esquire (usually with one of Rick's own 'Facelifts' covering the front surface). Known to be tuned into Open G, with a capo on the 2nd frett (effectively having it tuned to Open A). Other Guitars; - Zemaitis Custom Deluxe. Tuned to Open B (Rick no longer owns this guitar) - Fender Telecaster Thinline. The same colours as his usual Telecaster, this was used during the 'Heavy Traffic' period. - Gibson Melodymaker. Used on '4500 Times', most memorably. Amplification; - Marshall JCM800, 4x12 cabinet, combined with a Vox AC30 amplifier. Also uses Marshall JCM900. Effects; - Roland GP-8 Signal Processor. This acts as his full effects unit, although he uses little effects. I would imagine that this acts as a channel pedal too. The effects are pre-programmed. An Easier Way Around All This; I've looked on the internet many times before now. The original Fender signature version of Rick's Telecaster is a little like Parfitt's, but lacks the correct bridge. This is actually out of production now and is hard to find. If you want a hand-made copy which is close to the original, you're looking at about 2600 from Tony Rockett Guitars. However, from the same site, you can pick up a cheaper version (with cheaper parts) for about 500-600. If this won't do, and you need yet cheaper, try and Squire Tele - although the quality won't be anywhere near what you're after. Providing you're not bothered about the look (having a Telecaster), you could also try an Epiphone (Les Paul or SG). Rick has been known to use Gibsons in the studio for that fat rhythm sound, and Epiphone are extremely well made for the price (the cheaper ones can range from 100-200). His effects unit, the Roland GP-8, isn't as expensive as you may think. On the internet, you can pick one up for between 120 and 200, depending on where you look. Bearing this in mind though, Rick uses this effects unit for a mix of chorus and flange, and an overdrive setting. These could be achieved with buying various alternatives. You could buy a BOSS ME-2 multi-fx pedal to easily combine flange and chorus. It could even be used as an overdrive/distortion unit too. These cost as little as 100. If this isn't right for you, buy seperate chorus and flange pedals, and a seperate footswitch, yet these prices vary depending on the brand; you could end up paying a lot more than the GP-8. At the end of the day, you might not even need the effects if you just wanna do the rock n roll stuff (not Don't Drive My Car, Mystery Song, Living On An Island etc.) His amplifier is an expensive combination. A Vox AC-30 can cost from 400 to 1000 (or more), the Marshall can come to 1000 and the cabinet can cost 200. Not cheap at all. However, most Marshall combi's can get a good live rock sound if you know how to use it. You would be better looking for a Vox (if you have the money) or Orange amplifier. I think HiWatt are quite good all round too, for the money (they can be picked up for 200). When you finally decide on an amp, it'll take a while to fiddle with it an find the right sound - just remember that live, Rick has a very trebbley sound. Prices; Here's a list/comparrison. You'll see just how big the difference is when you look at Rick's equipment. You'll get something close to Rick's sound, but you've got to bear in mind that your level of playing affects your sound too. You've got to work at it real hard to be as good a rhythm player as Parfitt is - even the other members of Quo find it hard. Rick's List; - Telecaster (Rick Parfitt replica) - 2600 - Marshall JCM800 - 1000 - 4x12 Cab - 200 - Vox AC-30 - 1000 - Roland GP-8 - 200 Total - ROUGHLY 5000 (and that's looking second-hand on most things) Your List; - Rick Parfitt 'Finese' replica - 500 - Marshall Class 5 Combo - 300 - Roland GP-8 - 200 Total - ROUGHLY 1000 Alternate List; - Epiphone Les Paul - 120 ...OR... - Squire Affinity Telecaster - 130 - HiWatt Maxwatt - 200 - Roland ME-2 - 100 Total - ROUGHLY 420/430 You've really got to remember that the cheaper you buy, the quality won't be as great. And ALWAYS try before you buy. Buying over the internet, although sometimes the only option, will not give you an idea of how the product sounds/performs.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Tony Rockett
    Price for a hand built copy of Ricks main guitar is not 2,600.00p.My prices are on the website! True price is 1, shipping. Price includes a hard case. Don't know where you got that price from.
    belavista man
    Tony Rockett wrote: Price for a hand built copy of Ricks main guitar is not 2,600.00p.My prices are on the website! True price is 1, shipping. Price includes a hard case. Don't know where you got that price from.
    Sorry pal! Must have heard it from somewhere else - I've looked at a lot of things, and I write some of these in the early hours. Much better price than what I'd previously thought.