“Around 1984 I decided that I wanted to get another single cutaway White Falcon like the ‘Sanctuary one as I loved the way it felt. Unfortunately at that time I couldn’t find one let alone afford one and I came across a Country Club that had the same feel.
So, I traded the Double Cutaway Stereo Falcon for it.
Originally it was a natural wood finish so I got it painted in London by a guy called Roger Giffin who was a guitar customizer under Kew Bridge. Instead of white I decided to get it painted black because I wanted to create my own ‘Black Falcon’ as I just thought it would look cool. The black guitar, white guitar ‘flim flam’ in the ‘Love Removal Machine’ video were the ‘Sanctuary’ Falcon and this Country Club. I don’t think I ever played live with it with the wood front though.
I think I invented the Black Falcon before Gretsch did!
When I got it painted by Roger Giffin, the paint that he used was supposed to be black but sometimes if you paint a guitar and there’s too much moisture in the air ‘clouding’ can happen. The finish got a bit cloudy like a milky black, almost with a green tinge to it. But in fact that’s what happens to some vintage black guitars anyway so more out of luck that good planning the Country Club became a black guitar with a vintage finish. Something else that happened was that in December 1989 we were on tour in Canada and it was extremely cold. This guitar was in a truck with the ‘Sanctuary’ Falcon and the paint lacquer finish on both of them cracked. But, it was in a very attractive 1950s way, which made both the guitars look kind of sexy and more vintage than they really are. It was a fortunate accident!
So combining the clouding paint effect and the cracked lacquer I ended up with a guitar that almost looked like it had been antiqued.
Later on, as I usually do, I changed out the pick ups at the bridge as for a hotter one which was a TV Jones. In the 1990s or 2000s I swapped out the tremolo arm for a White Falcon one that Fat Rick from New Kings Road Vintage Guitar Emporium found for me. For a long time it became my backup live guitar to the ‘Sanctuary’ Falcon but was never my primary guitar. I just had it there in case I broke a string on the regular Falcon but I never did as the ‘Sanctuary’ one was so reliable that I never needed my spare.
One final piece of trivia on this guitar is that in the 1980s Roddy Frame of Aztec Camera rented it to use in a video. He saw it in when I was having some work done on it and he asked to use it so I let him as I thought he was a nice guy and cool.
It still is a very pretty looking guitar and one of my favorites.”
Billy Duffy – January 2013
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