The Dual Tone model first appeared in Supro catalogues in the early 1950s (a similar model was used on Link Wray’s iconic track The Rumble) but was adopted by Bowie for the Reality sessions, appearing alongside a Supro 12-string and Supro amps, all of which Bowie had acquired.
UK and ROI distributor JHS says: ‘The distinctive tone of the Supro Vistatone pickups has been a consistent highlight of this instrument throughout its evolution. The 1953 Supro catalog boasted: “We sincerely believe the pickup system to be the finest we have ever produced in over two decades of electronic development. Make an honest comparison with any instrument for tone, volume, and performance – you’ll be truly surprised.”
‘Over the subsequent five years after the ’53, the neck was improved, headstock modified, body widened, pickup wiring changed, and contoured bevels added to the body. By 1958, the Dual Tone was totally dialled in, and became a bestseller for Supro.’
This latest incarnation of the Dual Tone guitar features a 24 3/4″ scale maple neck with a pau ferro fretboard and set-neck construction. The mahogany body has a ‘tummy cut’ for increased playing comfort, as well as an ergonomic neck joint, allowing full access to the upper frets. Hardware appointments include a reverse stair step tailpiece, tune-o-matic bridge, butterfly tulip tuning pegs and a matched set of vintage-correct Vistatone pickups, designed to replicate the genuine Supro sound David Bowie loved. As a final touch, the David Bowie 1961 Dual Tone features a mirror-finish Bowie lightning bolt insignia on the face of the headstock.
The first batch of four hundred David Bowie 1961 Dual Tone guitars will ship following The NAMM Show at the end of January. Each instrument is numbered by hand and comes with a Supro deluxe gig bag and certificate of authenticity. The limited edition guitar will retail at £999