I began playing guitar in the summer of 1966 on an acoustic borrowed from my friend Chris New – the bottom four strings only to start with. I'd seen a Fender bass in a Swindon music shop and decided that's what I wanted to play. I formed a little band with Chris (drums) and his mate Martin Woolford (guitar), and we taught each other how to play some simple songs.
Thanks to my paper round income, I saved up a deposit for my first guitar by Christmas 1966; a second-hand Egmond/Rosetti solid hire-purchased from Kempster's Music Shop in Commercial Road, Swindon, for 14gns.
Progress dictated my move to lead guitar but within a month I was sacked by my piano teacher for not practising, infuriating my mother. We enlisted another mate from Purton, Alan Shurey, to play bass. Played our first gig in March 1967 for the village youth club; couldn't agree on a name... Four Aces we ended up with!
Only when the Rosetti was paid for could I afford an amplifier – purchased a used Watkins Dominator 2x10" combo (the little blue-and-grey job with the angled front) for 16gns from Kempster's in autumn 1967.