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Anyone Can Play Guitar

For over three decades, Ed O’Brien has been the guitar glue in Radiohead. His knack for unusual sounds has remained a constant as the band have pushed boundaries, but now he’s turned his attention to inspiring the next generation with a new Fender guitar – and it’s definitely not a signature model…

As we step into the London rehearsal studio where we’ll be chatting to Ed O’Brien, the affable 49-year-old utters a sentence that raises the stakes before we’ve even got our recorder out: “First things first, sit and have a go…” He gestures to a stool in the middle of the room where, set up in front of his favoured Fender Vibro-King amp and in pride of place, is the reason we’re here today – the brand new Fender EOB Sustainer Stratocaster.

O’Brien is clearly excited to see four years of work finally come to fruition… but we’ve all been in that situation when we’re put on the spot and every bit of guitar skill we’ve ever had dribbles out of our ears. Now imagine that feeling when you have the 6’4 frame of a guitarist from the most influential British band of the last 20 years watching, waiting for your feedback… We just about manage to bash out some noodling, noting the guitar’s reassuringly meaty neck and unconventional pickup layout before gratefully handing it back to a man who is much more qualified to handle such a unique instrument.

Firing up our voice recorder we sit down for something we’re much more at ease with – talking nerdy about guitars, and one guitar in particular. The EOB Stratocaster is the first piece of signature Radiohead gear ever… well, we say signature, but from the off Ed is keen to point out that’s not what this is:

“There’s no signature on it. It’s a co-design [with Fender],” he explains. “I had no plans to co-design an amp or a guitar or anything… I had a dream! I had a dream one night four years ago, I woke up and was just like, ‘This guitar needs to be made’.”

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About Guitar Magazine

The polls are closed, the votes have been counted and in the new issue of The Guitar Magazine we reveal the winners of 2017’s Gear Of The Year awards, as chosen by you! But we’re not going to spoil the surprise just yet – to find out which products have won you’ll have to pick up a copy of this special collector’s edition and rip open the bag! Inside you’ll also find a stellar set of artist interviews as we catch up with Queen legend Brian May, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien and indie darlings The National. We also put an incredible Eric Clapton-spec ES-335 under the microscope in Vintage Bench Test, bust a few myths about guitar cables, review new gear from the likes of Marshall, Fender and Lowden and whole lot more besides. Get your special collector’s edition of the January 2017 issue of The Guitar Magazine now!