What Guitar Did Hank Marvin Play

What Guitar Did Hank Marvin Play?

Hank Marvin was 16 when he joined the Drifters, who were Cliff Richard’s backing band. They had to change their name from the Drifters because of the American band, that were having a comeback with their back catalogue of hits being rereleased in the UK. So in 1959 Cliff Richard and the Drifters became Cliff Richard and the Shadows.

Hank, along with the Shadows became the best selling British instrumental group of all time. Their first hit “Apache” was released in 1960 and has been covered in 63 songs worldwide. Some notable samples of “Apache” include the Sugarhill gang, Sir Mix-A-Lot,and Fatboy slim.

It was originally recorded by Bert weedon, but the song’s writer Jerry Lordan preferred the Shadows version. So did the British public incidentally, as they were both released at the same time, with the Shadow’s version topping the UK charts for 6 weeks and Bert’s only climbing to number 24 in the chart.

What Kind Of Guitar Does Hank Marvin Play?

Hank Marvin was the first English guitarist to own a Fender Stratocaster. He had joined Cliff’s band with a dodgy old Japanese guitar, when Cliff suggested replacing it, Hank said he jumped at the chance. He had seen Buddy Holly holding a Strat on the album cover “The chirping crickets” and even though there was a trade ban in place for buying anything from the US, Cliff Richard bought Hank a brand new 1959 Fiesta Red Fender Stratocaster.

This became Hank’s trademark guitar, and although there are many other guitars that Hank has owned or has in his collection,it is always the Strat that he is identified with. At some point during Hanks’ career he has played other guitars. Like the Burns Marvin which he used on “The Rise And Fall Of Flingel Bunt” (released in May 1964) and went to number 5 in the British Charts.

There have of course been countless Fender Stratocasters, and a Gibson Les Paul used in a live show in Amsterdam in 1972, a Roland guitar synthesiser used at the Royal Albert hall in 1978. A Giffen Custom built for Hank in 1975, and used on the Cliff and the Shadows Reunited CD, and used on the same CD was a 1956 reissue Danelectro Baritone. There was also a Gretsch Country Gentleman used in 1961 on the track “A girl like you”. 

Hank Marvin’s Acoustic Guitars

Hank has used many acoustic guitars over the years, including A Gibson B-45 and the smaller Gibson B-25, a Gibson J-200. Plus many other acoustics made by Ramirez, Maton, Yamaha, Selmer and Gitano Martin to name but a few.

Who Has Hank Marvin Influenced During His Long Career?

Many top guitarists list Hank Marvin as one of their first influences when it came to playing the guitar. Including:

  • David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)
  • George Harrison (Beatles)
  •  Brian May (Queen)
  • Mark Knopfler ( Dire Straits)
  • Steve Howe (Yes)
  • Peter Frampton
  • Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)
  • Jeff Beck
  • Jimmy Paige (Led Zeppelin)
  • Pete Townsend (The Who)
  • And many more

What Strings Does Hank Marvin Use?

When Hank got his first Strat it had heavy strings on it, and Hank has been using heavy strings ever since, although not as heavy as back then. With that said, he still uses a wound G string. He used to play .013s but now he uses .011s. 

What Amps Does Hank Marvin Use?

Hank is well known for playing Vox amps, he even requested that they do something to combat the noise of the adoring fans back in the day, so that his guitar could be heard. Vox came up with the Vox AC 30.

Hank has also used Fender amps on occasion, and we suggest that if you are trying to recreate the Hank Marvin sound, you equip yourself with a Fender Mustang GT. The GT is a modeling amp and can recreate the sounds of clear valve amps, plus it has effects built in like reverb and delay.

What Effects Pedals Does Hank Marvin Use?

Hank used tape echo effects and reverb pedals, many of which are no longer available, we suggest you go with the Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy which is easy to operate and with just 4 knobs to twiddle it won’t take long to attain that Hank Marvin sound. Try coupling this with a Maxon AD10 delay pedal,and you’ll be sounding like Hank in a short time.

What Pickups Does Hank Marvin Use?

Hank has used many pickups through the years, from humbuckers to P-90s and most everything in between but he favours Kinman’s stacked humbuckers. Because they have a lower noise level.

What Chords Does Hank Marvin Use?

The tune “Apache” is played using 2 chords for the most part they are Am and D with a slight run up to F towards the end. Most of Hank’s guitar work was lead guitar so the chords were just ”shapes” to make it easier for us who are trying to emulate his style of playing.

What Pick Does Hank Marvin Use?

From what can be found on line Hank used a “Bert Weedon” style pick, almost a house shape, square at the top tapering down to a point at the base. It would have been tortoiseshell or celluloid and Hank used to use them upside down,(using the square part on the strings,and holding the pointy bit in his hand). Most early picks were this style and shape.

Judging purely on the thickness of the strings, Hank’s pick would have been fairly thick. Possibly a 1.5 mm or a 2 mm.

Hank Marvin
genesee.gbh, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What Kind Of Music Does Hank Marvin Play?

Hank Marvin has played rock guitar since the late 50s, but he is also classified as a beat artist, rock and roll and instrumental rock guitarist.

How To Play Guitar Like Hank Marvin

To play the guitar like Hank Marvin, start with the strings, you need heavy gauge strings, if you can handle them, you want .012s as a base line. These strings should be fitted onto a Fender Stratocaster and run through a  Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy and a Maxon AD10 delay pedal. All of this needs to be powered by a Fender Mustang GT, this amp also has a few effects on board, so Hank’s sound should be quite easy to obtain. (If this amp is out of your reach, and you are able to get hold of a Fender Twin Reverb plug into through the clean channel instead).

To play as authentic to Hank as possible, get into the habit of never letting go of the tremolo arm, also experiment with where you pick the strings. The sound is totally different near the bridge, compared with near the neck.

What Age Did Hank Marvin Learn Guitar?

Hank Marvin started playing guitar at the age of 16 by which time he could already play the piano and the banjo.

Frequently Asked Questions

What key is Apache by The Shadows in?

Apache by the Shadows is in the key of A minor (Am).

5 comments on “What Guitar Did Hank Marvin Play?

  1. I’m not 100% sure of the model but the acoustic guitar Hank is using for Guitar Tango is a Lakewood semi acoustic.

  2. hello .lookin for a track named chicago that toddling town un which the shadows played accoustic guitars.i saw it a long time ago on youtube.thanks.

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