Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire Guitar Up Close

Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire

Syd was fond of many guitars during his career but the guitar that he admitted feeling "most close to" was his dynamically customised Fender Esquire and (almost in tribute) his successor in Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, used a sunburst Fender Esquire; which he later modified with an additional pickup. Syd’s Fender Esquire was refinished in metallic silver and featured a series of 15 mirrored style metal discs stuck to the front of the body and on the scratch plate (this singular disc also featuring a small yellow sticker), giving the guitar an "other worldly" look that worked beautifully with the music that the group were producing at the time with the help of Syd’s Zippo lighter and some echo equipment. This guitar is known as "The Mirror-Disc Telecaster" but the mirror discs WERE NOT ACTUALLY GLASS MIRRORS AND THE GUITAR WAS NOT A TELECASTER! 


Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
The Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire was created by applying a silver plastic sheeting which was shrunk into place (by heat), this was a material commonly used to insulate Radios and other electronic equipment.


The Silver plates (mirrors) were actually thin, polished, metal plates having a bit of an opaque reflectiveness (believe it or not these plates were a bit of a hippy fascination item in the 60's, people glued them to anything from doors, pants pockets to hats and car wheels! They were everywhere in London in the mid to late Sixties as the Hippy Era came in. You'd get little ones stuck on dresses, big ones on bags, they were stuck on hats, all sorts of stuff, because you could go into a "head shop", buy them singularly and stick them all over anything you wanted. Syd would polish them prior to shows to play with the light effects that Mark Leonard projected. Besides that, the only modifications he seemed to make to the guitar was the pickup height (closer to the strings makes the tone thicker).

Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
It's a good question as to where the original is right now. As far as I read from several books, Syd once quoted that he gave it away for a black telecaster he ended up having (however rarely played, seemed he played it finally when he did his last gigs with 'Stars' before they split after about 3-4 gigs).


Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Rolling Stone has kind of an interview with Syd in Issue No. 98. December 23rd, 1971. He talks about his new guitar he bought and about the mirror disk esquire and tells where it went. This it what it says:

He produces a guitar and begins to strum out a new version of "Love You" from Madcap. "I worked this out yesterday. I think it's much better. It's my new 12-string guitar. I'm just getting used to it. I polished it yesterday." it's a Yamaha. He stops and eases it into a regular tuning, shaking his head. "I never felt so close to a guitar as that silver one with mirrors that I used on stage all the time. I swapped it for the black one, but I've never played it."


Syd, in another interview somewhere mentions (I paraphrase): "the discs had gotten worn".

Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire

Well yes, they would if you didn't polish them all the time, they're metal, they get roughed up, scuffed, and lose their reflective quality.

Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire
Syd Barrett Mirrored Esquire






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