A series from Melody Maker

Jan. 9, 1971

Which guitars does Greg Lake play with Emerson, Lake and Palmer? (Howard Jones, Bangor)  What is their PA equipment?  (James Duffy, Dublin)

• I play a Gibson JT100 custom guitar which costs £600 and is the model used by Elvis Presley.  It is miked through the PA via an AKG condenser mike and I use Darco strings, which are made in America.  My bass guitar is a Fender Jazz Bass, with Rotosound wire-wound strings.  It goes through two 200-watt Hiwatt amps.  I have four tuned Hiwatt cabinets containing 1,600 watts of bass speakers.  I also have a fuzz and wah-wah on the bass, which are operated by foot pedals.  Our PA is a WEM consisting of 2,000 watts of speakers driven by two Crown stereo amplifiers.  There are four Loudmouth stacks, 16 4x12, 7 6x10 and 4 Tannoy cabinets.  We have a 20-channel stereo mixer.   ~ GREG LAKE

Oct. 23, 1971

Which make of guitar did Greg Lake use in the middle of "Battlefield" on "Tarkus?"  When did he start playing and what made him leave King Crimson to join ELP?  (Philip Allan, Glasgow)  During Greg's solo in "Take A Pebble" there is a slight sound like a pebble being dropped into water.  How was it done?  What will ELP's next album contain?  (Jayne Law, Wolverhampton)

• I used a Fender Telecaster with an extra Gibson pick-up and a hand-built neck on "Battlefield," but while in the States a few weeks ago I changed it for a Gibson, Stereo.  I started playing guitar 12 years ago when I was 11.  I had lessons privately.  I didn't leave King Crimson - the band dissolved and at the same time I happened to meet Keith Emerson.  The pebble sound was achieved on the Moog Synthesiser.  We used reverb on it to get a sound like water dripping in a cave.  Our next LP will include several numbers we are constantly asked about, including "Pictures At An Exhibition" and "Nutrocker."  ~ Greg Lake, Emerson Lake and Palmer.

Jan. 8, 1972

Which instruments did ELP use when recording "Pictures At An Exhibition?"  (Stephen Perry, Lancaster)  On the first ELP album, the credits for "Knife Edge" are Emerson, Lake and Fraser.  Who is Fraser?  (Chris Hills, Bromley)

Does Keith use a wah-wah pedal, and Echorec Binson or even a Leslie on his Moog on ELP's incredibly fine work on Mussorgsky?  (Demetries Stratos, Milan, Italy)

• On "Pictures," Keith played Hammond L100, Hammond C3 and Moog Synthesiser, with two 100-watt Hiwatt amps driving two Hi-watt 4 W 12 cabinets.  He had three Leslies, one of which was a PRO 900.  The other two have been modified and there are special hi-frequency units on top.  The Moog was custom-built, specially modified by Bob Moog.  Greg Lake played a Fender bass guitar and a Gibson J200 acoustic and used two 200-watt Hiwatt amps with two 4x12 and two 4x5 cabinets.  Carl Palmer used a Gretsch drum kit with Paiste cymbals and gongs.  Dick Fraser was a friend of Greg Lake and gave him a hand with the lyrics.  He was road managing ELP at the time.  Keith didn't use any of the accessories described.  It was all Moog 900 series equipment.

Sep. 30, 1972

Which instruments does Greg Lake play?  (Jane Porter, Northfleet)  How did he learn bass guitar and on which King Crimson LPs did he play?  (Paul Williams, Hounslow)  What kind of acoustic guitar did he play on "The Old Castle" from the "Pictures" album?  Can I get words and music for this?  When are ELP going to do any more gigs in London?  (Virginia Chee-a-tow, London SW20)

• My guitars are a Gibson J200 with Guild strings, which I played on "The Old Castle," a Fender Jazz Bass, a Rickenbacker bass with Fender pick-ups and Les Paul electric, all these fitted with Rotosound wirewound strings.  My amp is a Phase Linear of about 1,000 watts, 500 each stereo side, and I use a crossover system with Martin bass bins, Altec midrange horns and JB Lansing high-frequency dividers.  I began a year's tuition on guitar when I was 12, but am self-taught on bass, which I started to play when I joined King Crimson.  I played bass and sang on their first album, "In The Court of the Crimson King," and sang on their second LP, "In The Wake of Poseidon."  We are shortly doing a song book containing our most-requested numbers, including "The Old Castle."  We shall be playing at the MM Poll Winners concert at Kennington Oval on September 30.  ~ GREG LAKE

Nov. 25, 1972

Did Greg Lake ever play with a group called the Gods?  Why didn't he play the bass guitar on King Crimson's second LP?  (Eric Walker, Bienne, Switzerland)  What PA was used at the Oval MM Poll winners concert, as it was the clearest I have heard at an outdoor event?  Were ELP mixed directly through the PA?  What setup did Greg Lake use?  Where did he get his black Rickenbacker?  (Dave Flockhart, London NW2)  What make and gauge of strings did he use at the Oval on an acoustic number called "Lucky Man?"  (Paul C. Doyle, Hull)

• Yes, I did play with the Gods before I joined King Crimson.  I didn't play on Crimson's second LP because I was not then a member of the group.  I left after the first album to join ELP.  At the Oval we were mixed through the PA, which was our own system.  My set-up was Rickenbacker modified bass and Fender Jazz bass, with two 200 watt Hiwatt amps, two Martin bins, an Altec Multi-cell horn and Lansing hi-frequency drivers.  I bought the black Rickenbacker as a standard model in San Franciso and have had it modified with Fender pick-ups by Michael O'Shea, who works for ELP and looks after all my guitars.  He specialises in the repair and modification of guitars and makes banjos.  I used a Gibson J200 with Guild medium gauge strings on "Lucky Man."  ~ GREG LAKE

Jan. 20, 1973

What make of acoustic and electric guitars did Greg Lake play on "In The Beginning [sic]" on ELP's album "Trilogy?"  Can sheet music or even guitar parts be obtained from any of the tracks on their albums?  (David M. Unsworth, Fleetwood)  What guitar and strings did Greg Lake use on "Lucky Man" and will he ever publish the music?  (John Gay, Wednesfield, Staffs)

• I played a Gibson J200 acoustic and a Gibson Les Paul electric on "In The Beginning [sic!]" and a modified Fender Telecaster with Fender light-gauge strings on "Lucky Man."  I've now changed entirely to guitars custom-made by Tony Zemaitis, whose instruments are great. Altogether he has made or is making for me four guitars:  (1) an electric metal-fronted one, (2) a beautiful acoustic with inlaid mother-of-pearl body and a soundhole in the shape of a heart.  It has similar properties to the J200, (3) a double-neck electric with bass and six-string necks, (4) a 12-string acoustic.  As yet, none of our music is available, but we really do mean to get a song book together quite soon - things with simple melodies and perhaps some piano solos.  I know we keep on promising to do it, but obviously it takes a lot of thought and time and we want to make a really good job of it.  We will definitely give it our urgent attention.  ~ GREG LAKE

Oct. 13, 1973

I'd like to ask Greg Lake of ELP, if the song "The Endless Enigma" was written from imagination or or a real-life experience of his own, and if so, how did it end for him?  (R.J. Purdue, Erith, Kent)

• I can't honestly remember and I've even forgotten the words because it was so long ago, but as a rule most of what I write is the result of imagination and not based on actual experiences.  ~ GREG LAKE