I am sometimes surprised by the number of guitars that are hanging around on stage (if you’re in a local gigging band) or being passed from Tech’s to Artists if you’re a successful touring act, there is a guitar for any eventuality, a six string electric, six and twelve string acoustics, Humbucker equipped electric, single coil equipped electric and any permutation in between.
Back in the day many guitarists got by with one or two guitars managing to make a humbucker equipped guitar emulate a single coil equipped guitar (and vice-versa) via tonal controls on the guitar and amplifier not to mention sheer talent & technique.
Ray Monette was one such talented guitarist, I had the great pleasure of visiting Ray at his home in Detroit to collect his very well used 1969 Fender Strat that you see here, prior to the sunburst 1969 Strat Ray was playing an earlier 1960’s black Custom Color version but left it under a bed at his hotel, never to be seen again, the band ended up in Paducah KY for a Rare Earth show & Ray realised his error, he found the nearest music store where he saw the 1969 guitar hanging there, he played it, loved it and bought it, he played the sunburst strat during his entire tenure with Rare Earth, literally every show.
Ray had two main guitars throughout his career, the 69 Strat has been covered here, there is a 2nd guitar to discuss in a few days or so, one that has a direct link to an individual and a guitar that would change the course of the history of guitar construction, coming soon.
As a footnote to this post here’s a little insight into the influence of the musicianship of Ray Monette. When Phil Collins decided to record a full album of Motown and Soul classics he elected to put the Funk Brothers back together as his backing band and so it was that in 2010, Ray, after having received an out of the blue phone call from Phil, found himself in Geneva Switzerland along with his former band mates Bob Babbit and Eddie Willis, both luminaries in their own right, after completing the album the band with Phil left for the UK for TV work in London to promote the album & also to feature at the Montraux Jazz Festival.