Alvin Lee - Equipment

Gibson 335 with Kahler tremolo arm and nut lock

MARSHALL Jubilee 2550, 50/100 watts


Alvin uses Gibson strings:

Gauges with Wang bar are....9,11,15,28,42,52.
Gauges without Wang are....10,12,16,28,42,52.
Gauges for tuning to D are 11,13,17,32,44,54.



4 X MARSHALL 4X12" speaker cabinets, each cabinet must be [16 ohms]
i.e. 16 speakers in total

1 X MARSHALL 100 watt guitar amplifier, and all mains and speaker cables.
Provided for stand-by only

It's sadly true that Alvin Lee no longer travels with his beloved BIG RED, although Gibson has made him a duplicate of it. BIG RED has simply become too valuable to take on the road - Alvin has been offered $500,000 to part with it (not bad, as his purchase price was in the neighborhood of $90) , making it worth more than the average home and even more to insure

Notes from Alvin about his guitar modifications:

Humbucker & Strat. Sounds like a really cool law office.

I always liked the Strat sound but when I play a Strat I find my little finger on the right hand keeps turning the volume down unintentionally. I figured that by adding a Strat back PU to my 335 I would have the best of both worlds.

I've always liked messing about with electronics. I built my own amp and speaker cabs when I was 16 and as soon as I got my first 335 I took off the humbucker covers to get a bit more edge and turned the bridge PU round the other way for extra bite.

I remember when I first met Les Paul and told him about this he said " I do all this work to make pick ups that dont hum by putting screens on them and the first thing you do is take them off again" He did have to admit though when I challenged him that he used to do the very same kind of thing to all his equipment in the early days. It's the result of an experimental mind and an inborn instinct to fiddle. Without that I doubt if Les would ever have made an 8 track tape recorder out of a Cadillac flywheel... Respect!!!

The Strat PU is wired between the jack socket and the 3 way toggle switch. If you solder to the centre position on the switch you can bring the Fender PU in to either or both Humbuckers with the added Volume pot. You have to try different Strat PU's to find a good match to the Humbuckers as they all vary a bit depending on model types and age.

Working on the 335 electronics is a bit like keyhole surgery I used to fasten guitar strings to the pots, toggle switch and jack socket before dropping them into the body and pulling them out the F holes. That way there is a good chance of getting them back in place again later. Loads of fun when one falls off!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Alvin

More on wiring, Big Red, Tokai & Heritage:

Big Red and Tokai are one side of Fender middle pick-up to the extra Volume pot then on to the mid position of the 3 way toggle switch the other wire goes direct to the jack socket. The strength of the Fender pick up and the value of the extra volume pot make a lot of difference to how effective the Fender Blender sound works. Changing the pick-ups can improve the Heritage but it is a matter of trial and error to get the best results. Good luck.

- - Alvin


Main Features
  • plain maple top, back and rims
  • single ply cream binding on top and back
  • custom authentic faded cherry finish with stickers
  • aged gold and chrome hardware
  • ABR-1 bridge, TP-6 tailpiece
  • 22 fret rosewood fingerboard
  • '57 classic humbucking pickups plus Seymour Duncan single coil