By this time I had acquired a Bigsby-equipped Hofner Verithin guitar and a sweet Marshall 50-watt amp. I traded up to my first Fender in April 1970, a Burgundy Mist 1963 Stratocaster for which I paid £55 plus the Hofner. Six months later, traded in the Marshall for a Vox AC30 combo and a Rangemaster Treble Booster in homage to Rory Gallagher. Orange split late 1970. Neglect of illness, no musical outlet and the slings and arrows of early romance threw me into an emotional tailspin.
I stayed pretty much indoors evenings for about eighteen months, soaking up as much music as I could from BBC radio broadcasts; made a few half-hearted attempts to form groups but without success.
Sold the Strat (which I regrettably butchered) in March 1971, replaced with a rare 1969 Fender Telecaster with factory Bigsby unit. Retro-fitted Gibson humbucking pick-ups (the butcher strikes again!)
I answered an ad in the local paper from C & W band in August 1972; joined Eric Dus' New Country Roads (aka Blue Velvet) who saved my life! Gigged regularly for eighteen months, semi-pro, cheered up a bit; extra cash all went into new gear - traded the Telecaster for a mint 1965 Gibson SG Standard in November 1972 which I still own today (see photo). Added a 1961 much-modified Stratocaster May 1973; met Calne guitarist Larry "Mole" Williams in a Swindon music shop, summer 1973.