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Check Out Pete Townshend’s “Pinball Wizard” Isolated Guitar Tracks

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We haven’t done an isolated track for a while so it’s time for another one. For those of you who have heard The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” over and over for the last 50 years, you’ve probably never heard some of the parts in great detail (I know I haven’t). Here are the isolated acoustic and electric guitar tracks from the song.

A few observations:

Gibson J-200 played on “Pinball Wizard”
  • Pete Townshend is a great rhythm guitar player. It’s not easy to keep that rhythm going as solidly as he’s done it here. Yes, it’s easier to do in the studio, but remember this was back when tracks were limited when so much was done live. The acoustic guitar (a Gibson J-200 – it’s now in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland) also sounds great.
  • The electric guitar is cleaner than we thought. I know when I was playing in cover bands back in the day, we always thought that there was some sort of distortion on the electric (especially in the intro parts) yet it’s either a ES-355 or an SG-Special (I can’t seem to find the definitive answer) directly into a custom built Hiwatt 100.
  • Check out the nice delayed reverb on the electric. It definitely sets it back in the mix.
  • The electric parts on the bridges are very defined. I never remember hearing the phrasing that clearly before.
  • Listen to the electric guitar on the outro. It’s a lot more intricate work than I remember. There’s a bit more here than I think is on the original record as well.
  • Listen to the high octaves played by the electric during the second and third verses. I can’t say I remember hearing that either.

There’s a lot that we’d still like to know about the recording of the song (like the microphone locker of the session), but for now, just enjoy these guitar tracks like you’ve probably never heard them before.

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