ELP's Greg Lake

Although ELP guitarist Greg Lake is known primarily as one of the world’s premier bassplayers, he still stocks a collection of acoustic guitars for song­writing purposes in his townhouse near London or at his new house on the south coast of England.

“I write at home on my Martin 000-45 which I found in Nashville,” Greg notes. “It’s a late 50’s model and the guy who sold it to me had arthritis, so it’s almost like new. I also have a Martin 00-45 and the Martin New Yorker as well as my Gibson 2000 that I played “Lucky Man” on. I also write with my Steinway piano.

“I don’t really practice on my own with the bass, though, because I don’t find it very rewarding. Bass guitar is an instrument that has to be played in relation to other instruments. It’s really supporting and not very colorful on its own.”

Greg suggests, however, when you are first learning to play bass that you do sit down on your own and commit yourself to mastering the basic techniques. “But the sooner you can get to play with other people, that’s the real education. I had a guitar teacher for a year when I was very young who put me on the right path, but the first thing I did when I was able was to join a band.”

His first bass guitar was a Fender Jazz Bass and his first acoustic a Hofner President. Most of Greg Lake’s current electric guitars are custom-built by Alembic. Greg has a six-string, a twelve-string, an eight-string bass, and a four-string bass, all with specially designed inlays. The latest addition to his Alembic basses is a set of LED’s— Light Emitting Diodes—placed at intervals along the neck which light up so he can see fret positions in the dark when he is performing on stage.

On the road at the time, Greg Lake fondly recalled his collection of guitars at home. His first bass was a Fender Jazz Bass. Left, an Alembic custom.