The Definitive Prefab Sprout Gear List

ernie ballI’m currently mining a rich seam of photocopies of old paperwork, and having previously posted a partial 1985 gear list, I’ve come upon the entire carnet for the 1986 Italian tour, which has some fascinating detail.

One of the benefits of being in the EU is not having to bother with carnets any more – extensive customs declarations that were pored over by the authorities when going to another country, and woe betide you if there were any discrepancies. I remember sweating over the carnet for an early portable PC – just one item – but for a band on tour the complexity is beyond belief and filling it out was actually a major expense in itself.

However the nice thing from the point of view of looking back is that you get a lot of detail on the equipment that was used.

One missing item however is the strings Paddy preferred. Which were Ernie Ball regular slinky 10s exactly like the pack illustrated to the right. He used Whirlwind Heavy Duty leads. Neil favoured Footes R.K. drum sticks and Remo Coates Ambassador drum heads.

And with that out of the way, we can look at the gear lists in the carnet itself.

The most interesting sheet in the carnet is probably the third, which lists Paddy’s guitars and effects chain. Of these, the HM-2 raises an eyebrow or two. It’s known as the “Swedish Chainsaw”, very popular with death metal bands. HM stands for “Heavy Metal”. Let’s have a listen…

You have to say, it’s not your classic Prefab Sprout sound. It’s a distortion unit that goes up to 11 and beyond, and I can only really place it in Faron Young or the classic Led Zep set from the soundcheck.

The chorus unit, CE-3 is far easier to place, and a very familiar 1980s sound.

The delay is just a delay really. Just a delay really. Just a delay. Just a. You get the idea.

On the guitars, Paddy had two Strats – for the mimed promotional spots at the start of the tour at Sanremo (of which we will hear a lot in forthcoming posts), he had a very nice black Strat, black pickguard and pickups and maple neck. I’m not sure whether that was one of the ones on the carnet or provided locally by the TV station, I’m fairly sure the carnet just covered the gear for the concerts which was driven directly to the venues (and arrived late due to customs clearance problems, amusingly). But of the Strats listed, the JV serial one was a Japanese Vintage model, a Far Eastern but beautifully made copy of earlier Fenders. And his acoustic guitar, the Takamine EF591MR is a very nice cutaway model, very sought after guitar, you can see it on Cruel in the Alabamahalle/Munich Video. He took a Telecaster too – on the preceding tour this had been the paisley decorated model but no idea whether this was the same one. Generally though it’s quite a simple and direct setup, nothing fancy at all. I guess he used the Marshall amp.

For the rest, it’s fun to browse the sheets, which do give all the detail anyone could possibly want on what the band used on the road. And a perfect base for a tribute band to work from.

carnet1 carnet2 carnet3

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