Few guitarists have had a more illustrious career then G.E. Smith. From his run with Hall & Oates to his decade of leading the Saturday Night Live band, Smith has played with nearly everyone including Mick Jagger, Tina Tuner, Eddie Van Halen, Buddy Guy, Al Green, and Bob Dylan. Smith hung out with Premier Guitar’s John Bohlinger after soundcheck before a recent show at Nashville’s City Winery and gave an up-close look at his killer, old-school rig.
G.E. Smith’s lifelong No. 1 remains his 1952 Fender Esquire. Although the guitar is labeled an Esquire, it has had two pickups in it since Smith got it. It has been re-fretted twice, but other than that, nothing has changed during their half a century together.
Next up is G.E. Smith’s signature Fender Telecaster. This guitar takes design ideas from Smith’s old lap steel. The bridge pickup is screwed right into the wood and the inlays mimic a vintage Fender lap steel. G.E. wanted the store models to be finished in dakota red, but Fender put the guitar into production with candy apple red. This prototype is the only one with the original dakota red finish.