The Who: Substitute

Remembers classic songs from the late 1950s and 1960s

The Who: Substitute

Postby (electrofaro) » Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:03 pm

What electric guitar model was used by Pete Townshend on Substitute? :?:
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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (collin) » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:50 pm

It actually sounds like an acoustic!

Guessing by when they recorded that, it's likely a Rickenbacker. He didn't switch to Telecasters until shortly thereafter.
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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (manta) » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:57 pm

I thought that was when he started playing & smashing Strats.

http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/gear/guitar/history.html#stage66

There's a shot under the Strat section that shows him paying a Strat while performing Substitute. I think there were actually 2 or 3 versions of Substitute done.

http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/gear/guit ... aster.html
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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (collin) » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:03 pm

Note: playing the song live is usually done well after it's recorded in the studio. :lol:
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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (manta) » Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:48 am

If you look at the timelines it's all 1966 on The Who site. But he was still smashing Strats before and after Substitute came out. Pete just being Pete! I saw him in Omaha in the stadium where they play the College World Series as the warm-up group to Herman's Hermits. :roll: :roll: He smashed a Strat in that show. We wanted to seeing him ram a RIC into a big stack but he was past that stage, but they were into using smoke bombs by then and we saw drums fly everywhere, lots of smoke and small explosions and Pete beating the **** out of his Strat. I honestly don't remember if they played Substitute then. They did do some songs from the mini-opera "A Quick One" so they probably did. 8)
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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (electrofaro) » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:02 am

Woops, forgot to mention I meant the studio version! Live I see Strats and Teles in 70s videos. Studio sounds acoustic, but listen to the last few seconds of the song, there is an electric hidden, and I think it is a Rickenbacker because of him doing the toggle switch thing he does on other Rickenbacker songs.
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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (collin) » Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:32 am

manta wrote:If you look at the timelines it's all 1966 on The Who site. But he was still smashing Strats before and after Substitute came out. Pete just being Pete!


Definitely smashed Srats after Substitute, but not before, to my knowledge.

Substitute was recorded on February 12,1966 at Olympic Studios. From Dec 1965 - March 1966 Pete was using Rickenbackers (1993,1998) and a Grimshaw electric model. By mid-March he was using Telecasters (his first use of Fender guitars from what I've seen).

Granted, stage and studio are two different things, but it's reasonable to assume he still used a Rickenbacker for electric in the studio at this point. I still think the main tracking is an acoustic, specifically a 12-string acoustic.
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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (JakeK) » Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:45 pm

The electric guitar is so buried in the mix (especially during the solo), but yes, I agree with Collin that it's presumably a Rick. One of my all-time favorites by The Who. FWIW, the 12-string acoustic was more than likely a Harmony: http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/gear/guit ... ony12.html

The BBC version is undeniably a Telecaster, and it even gives a good idea of the solo that Entwistle drowned out on the original. I like it better:
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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (manta) » Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:46 pm

I would tend to agree on the acoustic part as I remember in our neighborhood garage band we used an Eko 12-string acoustic to try to replicate the Substitute sound when we played it. 8)

This was the USA version of the song that we tried to cover:

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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (electrofaro) » Sun Apr 20, 2014 4:34 am

manta wrote:This was the USA version of the song that we tried to cover:


Being used to the UK version the US version remains a bit weird, but the electric toggle switch effect can be heard more clearly at the end of this US vinyl!

Somehow this song has become my favourite Who song - after all those years! :idea:
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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (manta) » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:12 pm

I remember the musicality of The Who group in the early years was what we watched and admired the most. They used a key change very effectively in My Generation, used a French horn in Circles and a couple other songs (Entwhistle played French horn as I recall) and Substitute had the big, booming bass solo at a time when lead guitar solos were the only thing you heard during the break. Later, Taj Mahal followed up the concept by using a tuba on the song Diving Duck, which was great fun. This led people to ask more about the group's background and Entwhistle and Townsend had pretty extensive musical training and parents with strong musical background. I think Pete's parents or at least one parent played in the London symphony if I recall correctly. For a young group, Substitute was such a revelation and departure at that time all of the neighborhood musicians in my area (and we had a lot of players around) started paying more attention to The Who. And The Beatles were going through some amazing changes then too. Hendrix came along. Butterfield's blues band took off and Bloomfield started electric folk with Dylan. It was an exciting time in Rock 'n Roll. The debut of Substitute was a big part of that period.
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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (collin) » Mon Apr 21, 2014 12:17 am

Good stuff Timothy, I agree!

For me, the most interesting part of the musicality of Substitute is that it sounds like such a basic three-chord song but isn't! Even today, most people play the chords incorrectly, it's not basic D-A-G-A cowboy chords, it's apreggiated versions of those three chords that make it sound correct.

Amidst all the showboating and visual gimmicks the band used, the compositions are quite detailed and arranged. Pictures of Lily is another great example - lots of chord changes, distinct bridge/interlude and a smooth key change. Brilliant..

And yeah - Pete's dad (Cliff Townshend) was an accomplished trumpet player, which is where Pete gets it from. He got Pete started on banjo before moving to guitar later.
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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (manta) » Fri Apr 25, 2014 5:40 am

Hi Collin,

Agreed... Pictures of Lily was a great song and kind of the standard that led to many of the rock power chord bands. But as you point out, there was a complexity, especially for a three instrument band, that bands on the horizon would ever pull off without The Who's talent and background. And how they managed to get some of those falsetto choruses to work was brilliant.

I think the rock musicians of the time noticed quickly but The Who, also quite brilliantly, tried to figure out a way to stand out from the myriad British Invasion bands of the time. I remember a friend during a ride home from school telling me he had just seen this band play and the led guitar guy smashed his Rickenbacker then rammed it into a Marshall stack that had a Union Jack for a grill cloth. He said the guy left the RIC hanging by it's neck from the Marshall stack. And I said, yeah, that's The Who. The guy is Pete Townsend. My friend played in a fairly popular local cover band but mostly did pop covers. Doing the theatrics, smoke bombs and feedback got a lot of people talking about The Who quickly.

Of course, those few of us who had saved our after school work as a stock boy money to buy a RIC were shocked to see a guy smash a RIC. We built replica RICs from plywood and would smash those. One local band did that and got kicked out of the prom it was playing for. School officials were totally freaked out but the audience by then knew.

I've been on the lookout for that clip that my friend saw but haven't seen one where Pete actually leaves a RIC sticking out of a Marshall stack so that may have been embellished a bit. But it certainly got people's attention!! :shock: :shock: :lol: :lol:
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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (JakeK) » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:25 pm

This is the closest clip at could find of Pete smashing a Rickenbacker:


Awesome story of the guitarist in your band smash his guitar...! :lol:
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Re: The Who: Substitute

Postby (manta) » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:48 pm

That could well be the event!! That's the stack with the flag for sure. :D
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