Kansas guitarist Rich Williams on why he never got into Strats: “They’re such a mystery to me”
Rich Williams, guitarist of legendary prog-rock outfit Kansas, recently revealed why Strats have never been his weapon of choice.
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The musician was speaking to Guitar World, where he discussed some of his favourite guitars over the years, including a rare Gibson L6-S he used to play in the 70s.
“The guitar was straight out the box, too,” Williams said. “I did do a little work to it eventually where I moved the input jack to the bottom instead of the front, sort of vice-versa. I still had the six-way switch on it, and I think I might have added a tone control, too, where there was a switch. It’s been that way for so long, and I still have it.”
Explaining his love for five-way switching on electric guitars, Williams said that while he does have a PRS McCarty with a three-way switch, he’s “much more comfortable with a five-way on PRS guitars”.
“I really like [five-way switches] because it’s like going back to using the L6-S, but with the sound choices that are more like the Les Paul,” the guitarist said. “Having said that, sometimes I do like the Les Paul better because of the ease of the switch.”
Asked if he’s ever tried switching to a Stratocaster, Williams replied: “After the Gibson, I did buy a Strat, but I’ve never been a Strat guy. They’re such a mystery to me. I’d watch guys like Eric Johnson play a Strat and it’s got such a beautiful sound, yet when I pick it up, it just sounds horrible! It truly was not designed for me, but I did use it on a few things.”
“The Les Paul-style setup – from a PRS to a Les Paul to my Dean guitars, all of those, that’s where I feel more at home.”
Williams also looked back on his time with the Gibson ES-335, explaining in particular how his bandmates had opposed his use of the iconic semi-hollow electric.
“Prior to the L6-S, I was using an ES-335 but the band thought it was a cowboy guitar,” he said. “And because we were not a cowboy band, they made me trade it for that L6-S. The L6-S was probably worth $500, while the ES-335 was probably worth $25,000!”
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