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The Great Ron Wood and His ESP Ltd Signature Telecaster

Wesman Todd Shaw started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old. He loves nothing more than to pick one up and pluck some strings.

Ron Wood with his ESP Telecaster

Ron Wood with his ESP Telecaster

Ron Wood has been a professional musician for more than 50 years. He's been with The Rolling Stones for more than 40 years, and music is just one of his artistic pursuits.

For all but a very tiny sliver of my lifetime, Ronnie Wood has been a member of one of the biggest musical acts on the planet. If there are people in the Western world who don't know who The Rolling Stones are, they are few and far between. Rocksteady and rock solid, behind the gleaming spotlights most often focused on The Glimmer Twins, Ron has played his parts and helped hold it all together as the second guitarist. Still, Ronald David Wood is much more than a second guitarist. His inventive guitar playing has played an important role in rock music over the years, and it's impossible to talk about Ron without mentioning his iconic guitar.

This article will explore Ron Wood's signature guitar and elements of his career including:

  • A Guitar Review: The ESP LTD Ron Wood Signature Telecaster
  • A Short Biography of The Great Ronnie Wood, Artist, Entertainer, Author, and Musician
  • Ronnie Wood's History With Jeff Beck and Faces
  • Ronnie Wood's History With The Rolling Stones

Guitar Review: The ESP LTD Ron Wood Signature Telecaster

A guitarist such as Ron Wood plays a lot of different types of material, and so he owns a lot of guitars. What he carries on tour is going to be quite a lot, and he has backup instruments for every last one of his primary instruments too. There are guitars which are used more than others, and among his favorites are his ESP Telecasters. These are custom made just for him.

ESP guitar manufacturing is based out of Japan. They can make Fender-style instruments as well as Gibson-style instruments as well. They also make completely original instruments. ESPs LTD line is much more affordable as they are made in South Korea, except for the very least expensive models, which are manufactured in Indonesia.

The ESP LTD Ron Wood Signature guitar is of the South Korean flavor, and brothers and sisters, those Korean-made LTD guitars are professional quality at a great price. Say what you will about trade deficits and Donald Trump, but Asian import guitars like ESP LTDs are like gifts from heaven for working class stiffs who need something that will absolutely get the job done with fine style.

Take a closer look at the ESP LTD Ron Wood Telecaster and you should notice two things. The first thing is that the neck pickup is a humbucker instead of the small single coil pickup that comes with a standard Tele. This is the type of Tele commonly referred to as a blues boy. To be clear, what makes a Tele such a blues boy is the humbucker in the neck position. The second thing I'd think you would notice is that this is the exact same style of Tele that Keith Richards so often uses, and Keith's, of course, is famously known as "Micawber."

The ESP LTD Ron Wood Is Not Another Micawber

This guitar could rightly be considered a bluesboy, but do not think of it as another Micawber, as it is not that at all. Ron Wood doesn't play like Keith Richards, and so his similar looking Telecaster is not like the one Keith plays at all. For one thing, this guitar is strung with six strings, and that's one string more than what Keith is stringing his Tele with.

This ESP LTD Ron Wood Tele has a U neck profile. Now, I find these profiles comfortable. You know for sure you've got something in your hands when you fret some notes on a U profile neck. It's a fat neck, and I simply must recommend that anyone thinking of buying first know for sure they can handle that sort of neck. It's like a baseball bat.

The guitar is available in black finish and in sunburst finish. Those are the only two options for finishes, and with the black finish you get a maple fingerboard, and with the sunburst finish you get a rosewood fingerboard. Either way, it is a 22 jumbo fret board, and the jumbo frets absolutely make big string bending much more doable.

Our pickups are both Seymour Duncan, and so these would be hard to be improved upon. The bridge can churn out all the twang in the world, and the neck provides much thicker, warmer blues tones. The chrome bridge is the newer style currently used by Fender, and will provide accurate and sustained intonation.

What's Great About The ESP LTD Ron Wood Signature Telecaster?

  1. Bluesboy style pickup configuration allows one to get all the country and rock tones of The Rolling Stones from the single coil bridge pickup, and all the thick, warm, bluesy tones from the neck pickup. The combination of the two together is yet another spectacular set of tones.
  2. Top notch craftsmanship. This is a Telecaster with a thicker neck than usual. Persons with large hands should find it more comfortable than the common Tele.
  3. Priced at under $800 dollars, this guitar is less expensive than US made Fender, but with its Seymour Duncan pickups, will play and sound as well as any.
ESP LTD Ron Wood Signature Guitar

ESP LTD Ron Wood Signature Guitar

ESP LTD Ron Wood Signature Guitar Features

  • ESP LTD Ron Wood
  • Familiar alder body style and bolt-on maple neck
  • Available in black or in sunburst
  • Regular U neck profile with 22 extra-jumbo frets
  • Nut Type: Bone
  • Passive Seymour Duncan pickups with volume, tone and 3-way switch
  • Neck Pickup: Seymour Duncan SH-1
  • Bridge Pickup: Seymour Duncan STL-2
  • LTD fixed bridge and LTD vintage tuners
  • Chrome hardware
  • Case sold separately

Short Biography of The Great Ronnie Wood, Artist, Entertainer, Author, and Musician

Ronnie Wood is a consummate artist and entertainer and was a big shot in music before joining The Rolling Stones. You could say Keith Richards and Mick Jagger are not even the best primary guitarist and singer that Ron has played behind. You could say that, but Ron probably wouldn't.

Someone with the artistic soul of our Ronnie Wood can hardly ever help themselves, they simply must create and express. Ron plays the guitar, bass, and keyboards. Also, give the man a harmonica, and few are on his level. He writes songs, authors books, and works as a radio personality. Further still, from the time he was a child, Ron was known as a visual artist. His sketches were featured on the BBC. His paintings, drawings, and prints have been featured in exhibits all over the world.

The Jeff Beck Group: Rod Stewart, Ron Wood,  Aynsley Dunbar, and Jeff Beck.

The Jeff Beck Group: Rod Stewart, Ron Wood, Aynsley Dunbar, and Jeff Beck.

Ronnie Wood's History With Jeff Beck and Faces

Beginning his career as a musician in 1964, Ron would play with several bands, but most notably with a group called The Birds. Please do not mistake this with the US band, The Byrds, as we're talking very different things. Ron had established himself as a songwriter and a guitarist, and he wrote half the songs The Birds performed and released.

This early band lasted three years before disbanding. Ron was a popular and in demand sort of fella, just like he has always been, and he quickly landed a job with an outfit known as the Santa Barbera Machine Head. It kept him busy until a much greater opportunity would present itself.

Jeff Beck was already a famous guitarist in 1968 when he'd form The Jeff Beck Group. Jeff had replaced Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds, and after Jeff left that band, Jimmy Page would take his place. Ron Wood would play bass guitar behind the great Jeff Beck in The Jeff Beck Group. While Beck was famously hard to get along with at times, Ron and vocalist Rod Stewart would form a more lasting relationship. After two albums of The Jeff Beck Group, Ron and Rod would work together in The Small Faces, and the name would be shortened to simply, Faces.

Though the music of The Jeff Beck Group doesn't get a lot of radio play, it was fantastic, and rivaled early Led Zeppelin in heavy blues rock, and who doesn't remember with some joy the great songs Rod and Ron recorded together in Faces? Stay With Me, Every Picture Tells A Story, though I was personally a child then, I always loved classic rock from the 1970s, and those are just two examples of songs Ron co-authored with Rod.

Ron Wood and Keith Richards, Charlie Watts in the background

Ron Wood and Keith Richards, Charlie Watts in the background

Ronnie Wood's History With The Rolling Stones

Keith Richards has never been known as an especially nice person. He'd insult Mick Taylor and then erase his guitar parts from the studio recordings, replacing them with his own. Rock music icons and their overly inflated egos are something of a cliche, but then there are persons like Ronnie Wood. Ron is a fluid sort of artist. He's happy to play bass, he's happy to play rhythm guitar. Ron is just happy to make music, and he'd not shown himself to be a guy who sought to dominate others.

Ron had been working with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards before even leaving Faces. He'd collaborated with the both of them for his first solo album, and then when Mick Taylor left The Rolling Stones, Wood was brought in to record with them, and brought along on tour too. There seemed little question as to which way the wind was blowing.

Before Jagger and Richards ran off Mick Taylor, they'd ran off Brian Jones. Jones had had a slide guitar style, and The Rolling Stones needed that style of guitar playing in their band. Their biggest hits required it. While Mick Taylor had never truly replaced Brian Jones, Ron Wood could more than adequately fill the slot, for Ron Wood had a great slide guitar playing style, and he could even play the lap steel guitar, and pedal steel guitar.

So you're going to get to join an established band, huh? Doesn't matter if the band is world famous like The Rolling Stones, or not. You should still take a lesson from Ronnie Wood. You don't try to jump into the spotlight, you should try to serve the band is as many different capacities as you can. Be willing to play other instruments, provided that you can play them. Serve the music and the band, and this is how you serve yourself.

From the album Black and Blue onward Ronnie Wood has been present with The Rolling Stones. I remember personally buying the cassettes to Tattoo You, and Some Girls as a kid. While The Rolling Stones may seem like a recording and touring act without end, we know this is surely not the case, and if you get an opportunity to go see them, then you'd probably best take it. You never know when the last show will be. At the time of this writing, The Rolling Stones are on tour in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe.

© 2018 Wesman Todd Shaw


ddchapin on August 05, 2019:

Re: that photo of the Jeff Beck Group - that must be Mick Waller, NOT Ansyley Dunbar, yes...?

Mohammed Abdullah from Cairo on April 08, 2018:

so nice!