Posts Tagged ‘David Bowie Limited Edition Dual Tone’

Developed by Supro with assistance from the David Bowie Archive, the David Bowie Limited Edition Dual Tone is based on the main guitar David Bowie played on the Reality album and throughout his final world tour, “A Reality Tour”, in 2003-2004. Although he played a variety of guitars throughout his career, Bowie enjoyed a special relationship with the iconic vintage 60’s Supro Dual Tone he had customized to his specifications.

“Of all the electric guitars that David played and owned over the many years that we worked together, he loved the Supro best. He was quite proud of it actually. I’ve never seen him get attached to a guitar, except that one.” Earl Slick, Bowie’s guitarist

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During the recording of the Reality album in New York City in early 2003, Bowie purchased two early-60’s Supro Dual Tone guitars on EBay. One of them, which is prominently featured on the cover art of the New Killer Star single, was a 1961 hardtail model. A second Dual Tone was modified by master luthier Flip Scipio, who inlaid the top five fret slots with rainbow colors after installing a Bigsby vibrato at Bowie’s request. “They brought me the second guitar and needed it done very fast, within one day,” recalls Scipio. “That is why I did not reinstall the top frets. The fret filler is made of dyed Japanese maple. David loved the way this guitar looked and sounded, so I chose the colors based on what I thought would look cheerful. I felt that if I can be happy with the guitar, then David would be happy with the guitar as well.” It was this highly customized Supro Dual Tone that became Bowie’s favorite guitar and main live instrument, appeared on the cover of the “A Reality Tour” live album, and inspired this limited edition 2018 re-creation.

Mirror finish Bowie Lightning Bolt insignia

Why did Bowie choose the Dual Tone? Guitarist Gerry Leonard, who played on both the Reality album and tour, says: “David was a discerning collector of not only art, but all things to do with music, music artifacts and specific instruments. The Supro was a guitar that nailed a few of these criteria for him. It’s a very stylish guitar and it has a great vibe and sound. It was a fantastic guitar and David loved it so much, it was the only one he wanted to play, even though we had many other great instruments from famous makers available to him.”

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