New Rolling Stones Exhibition Opens at Saatchi Gallery


"Exhibitionism" is the name of a new Rolling Stones exhibition, which opens today at the Saatchi gallery in London.

Rolling Stones exhibition

As the buzz generated by our Fender Keith Richards Telecaster April Fool's showed, there's still a whole lot of interest for the Greatest Rock'n'roll Band On Earth, The Rolling Stones. They are (still) unstoppable: currently in the middle of another successful World Tour, they've recently played a landmark gig in Cuba, and have announced that they'll start recording a new album. 2016 seems to be a vintage year for the septuagenarian rock'n'rollers, so the timing of their new exhibition in London is perfect!

Taking over the entire two floors of the Saatchi Gallery with 9 thematic galleries, EXHIBITIONISM combines over 500 original Stones' artefacts, with striking cinematic and interactive technologies offering the most comprehensive and immersive insight into the band's fascinating fifty year history.

Rolling Stones at the Exhibitionism opening Rolling Stones at the Exhibitionism opening

From never before seen dressing room and backstage paraphernalia to rare instruments; original stage designs, iconic costumes, rare audio tracks and video footage; personal diaries; poster and album cover artwork; and unique wraparound cinematic experiences that celebrate every aspect of their Careers. Centre stage is the musical heritage that took them from a London blues band in the early 1960s to inspirational cultural icons.

The Rolling Stones have shaped popular culture, often in their own image, and this exhibition will offer a unique perspective that only the band's own archive can provide. Collaborations and work by a vast array of artists, designers, musicians and writers will be included - from Andy Warhol, Shepard Fairey, Alexander McQueen, and Ossie Clark to Tom Stoppard and Martin Scorsese.

Keith Richards Gear Guide

Keef Richards, Live Keef Richards, Live

No doubt, for Rolling Stones fans who also play guitar, checking some of Keef's guitars will be one of the highlights when they visit the new exhibition. We don't know yet which ones will be on display, but we're hoping there'll be a few! Keith Richards is not just one of the greatest and most influential guitarists ever - he's certainly one of the greatest guitar collectors, too! It's probably easier to mention the guitars he's never played than the ones he's used over his more than 50 years as the Rolling Stones guitarist. Keith owns more than three thousand guitars (kept in storage) and uses quite a few different ones when touring.


To make things a little bit easier, we'll simply pick 6 of his most legendary guitars:

1) Epiphone Casino

Keith Richards & his sunburst Epiphone Casino Keith Richards & his sunburst Epiphone Casino

The Epiphone Casino is one of the most important semi-acoustic guitars in rock. Widely used by The Beatles during their psychedelic years, it was also used on oneof the most memorable guitar riffs in rock: The Kink's 'You Really Got Me'. Keith was also a great fan of this guitar and widely used it in the studio and live. Great news for modern players: despite its iconic status, it's still very affordable!

Epiphone Casino guitars

2) Gibson 1959 Les Paul Standard

Keith Richards and his 1959 Les Paul Keith Richards and his 1959 Les Paul

Keith Richards was the first high-profile guitarist to use a 1959 Gibson Les Paul, almost two years before Eric Clapton. He also used it to record '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'. Keith would use a 1959 Les Paul occasionally live and in the studio until the 'Exile On Main St.' sessions.

1959 Les Pauls for Sale

3) Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty

Keef and his Black Beauty Keef and his Black Beauty

Keef bought a 3-pickup Gibson Les Black Beauty in 1966, and it soon became his most used guitar of this period, probably his main instrument on the classic 'Beggars Banquet' and 'Let It Bleed' albums. When you listen to his piercing guitar solo on 'Sympathy For The Devil', it was played on a Black Beauty! Epiphone does a superb Black Beauty version, view here.

4) Gibson Les Paul Jr

Keith Richards and his les paul Junior Keith Richards and his Les Paul Junior

Keith started using his Les Paul Junior in 1979, and it's nicknamed the "Dice". He usually only uses it for one song - 'Midnight Rambler - but over the years it has still become one of his most significant guitars.

5) 1950's Fender Telecaster

keith Richards and his Custom telecaster keith Richards and his custom Fender Telecaster

This is perhaps the ultimate Keith Richards guitar - a 1950's Telecaster with a Gibson PAF humbucker on the neck position, and tuned to Open G, without the low E. Keith loves Telecaster guitars and stil plays a few different models at any gig, but the one with humbucker has been his trademark for at least 30 years now. There are a few Telecaster Custom models (by Fender & Squier) which also have a bridge single coil/ neck humbucker configuration, and those are the ones a Keef-wannabe should choose!

Keith's guitars on tour Keith's guitars on tour - mostly maple neck Fenders!

Also note that he only plays maple neck Telecasters.

Telecaster-style guitars

6) Gibson Hummingbird

Keith Richards playing a HummingbirdKeith Richards playing a Hummingbird Keith Richards playing a Hummingbird

The Gibson Hummingbird is Keef's most notorious acoustic. He used it for classic tunes such as 'Street Fighting Man' and 'Jumpin' Jack Flash'. After befriending Gram Parsons (who also played the same model), he got another Hummingbird, which he kept with a "Nashville Stringing" - using the 6 high-octave strings from a 12-string set.

Hummingbird guitars


Keith using an Ampeg VT22 during the 'Exile On Main St.' sessions Keith using an Ampeg VT22 during the 'Exile On Main St.' sessions

Like most British guitarists in the early Sixties, Keith's main choice used to be a Vox AC-30. He then moved to louder Fender Showman amps and ended the decade using Ampeg guitar amps, which he did throughout the Mick Taylor years.

Today, he uses two vintage Fender Tweed Twin amps, thought to be the oldest still in use! To capture some Keef's vibe on a budget, you can go for a tweed Fender Blues Deluxe, or a Limited-edition Fender Blues Junior in Laquered tweed.


Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz Tone Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz Tone

How ironic. Keith Richards was one of the first guitarists to popularize fx pedals, but he never actually cared for them much! He used a Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz Tone for the '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' guitar riff, but never intended to actually keep it - he just wanted to use it for the demo, to more-or-less simulate horns. But, thankfully, the band decided to keep the original, which is still one of the most iconic fuzz pedal sounds, ever. If you want that same sound, get the Electro-Harmonix Satisfaction, which replicates the Maestro Fuzz Tone.

In the late Seventies, Keith used a MXR Phase-90, but today his rig is mostly effects-free: he uses a Fulltone Tape Delay, and a Ibanez TS-9 Tubescreamer for a subtle overdrive. But he prefers to keep the effects offstage, operated by a roadie:

“Hey man, it’s enough to stand up straight let alone poking around on buttons. Any of those effects that I need actually can be done from behind [the stage]. Because I need to know where to put my feet. Tripping over those boxes, it just ties you down.” - KEITH RICHARDS

Ok, Keith. After more than 50 years rocking, he knows what's the best for him!

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