Saturday, 25 May 2013

Jim Rodford's doubleneck behemoth comprising Fender P-Bass and Strat

I was looking on YouTube for some footage of Argent's Russ Ballard playing his customised Holy Stratocaster (which also featured a cut-down body so that the top horn echoed size and shape of the lower horn), and found an interesting clip of Argent playing "Hold Your Head Up" on The Midnight Special TV Show in 1973 with an introduction from none other than John Denver (see below).

Sure, there was Russ playing his Holy Strat, but I was also intrigued to see bassist Jim Rodford thumping away on an enormous doubleneck seemingly composed of a Fender Precision Bass and a Strat. Alas I've not been able to turn up any better quality close-up photos of the instrument itself and so I though I'd have a little shout out to the faithful Guitarz readership to see if anyone has any more information about this remarkable instrument or knows where we might find some better photographs.

A Google search reveals various guitar and bass forum discussions in which this instrument is mentioned. Apparently the P-Bass making up one half of this doubleneck behemoth previously belonged to Chris White of The Zombies (keyboardist Rod Argent's previous band).

There are other clips of Rodford playing the bass as a single necked instrument (e.g. another performance of "Hold Your Head Up", this time from 1972) where the bass is clearly shown to have an enlarged or secondary pickguard on the upper portion of the body. One forum mentioned something about the doubleneck being convertible into two separate instruments, so possibly this upper pickguard was there to hide the join in the body with the upper horn section of the bass.

This is all conjecture on my part. I just think it's an interesting instrument worthy of further investigation.

G L Wilson

© 2013, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.


  1. Hi there,
    just found a whole load of high quality pictures of Rodford playing this doubleneck, here they are:

    Hope it'll help!

  2. The Wholly Strat is interesting. Looks like no middle pickup and headstock cut approximate Tele shape.

    1. The Holy Strat was originally a regular Fender Strat. Ballard had it customised with the cut-down upper horn and of course those holes. He told me that he was inspired by chairs that were populare at the time which had holes in them. The neck was originally as it should have been for a Strat - at one point it had a hole in the headstock too, but was later changed for a Tele neck. As Ballard had a habit of spinning the guitar around at the end of a song maybe he once dropped it and broke the original neck. The guitar has had various combinations of pickups over the years. I think latterly it had two single coils and a Gibson humbucker in the bridge position.

      My own Feline Holy Panther Strat - see - was influenced by Russ Ballard's guitar. I've even seen my guitar pictured on guitar forums and listed as being Russ's guitar. Russ has seen photos of my guitar and commented to me that it was like seeing an old friend.

      I've seen relatively recent photos of the re-formed Argent and Russ has been playing the old Holy Strat again - now refinished in gold and still with a Tele neck.

    2. If you are trying to track down the origins of this guitar,,, I was in House of Guitars Rochester NY. (1972) Saw one of these guitars and had one custom made,,,, half strat and half jazz base. used it for years!!! Wish I could find it!! I wonder if they got it there!!!

  3. Can confirm that Rodford's double neck was originally two guitars. I can clearly remember an article in the musiciany column in Sounds music paper about it. He said something like these models were out of favour at the time so turned up cheap. He had the idea to make a convertible set and had a luthier somewhere do the deed. I met him backstage at a gig in Inverness about 10 years ago, but I got all too star struck and shy to ask him about it ha ha.



Related Posts with Thumbnails