John Frusciante’s 1960s Bartell St. George XK12

This is one of the lesser-known guitars of John’s. It seems to have been mentioned only once by him, in an interview with Guitarist & Bass (FR), in March 2009, when he talked about The Empyrean album, and it was also seen on a few photos taken at John’s place sometime in the mid-2000s.


The guitar is a 12-string model designed by Paul Barth, who was one of the pioneers of the electric guitar. Prior to starting his own company, Paul worked as a designer for Rickenbacker, during which time he helped develop the first-ever electric guitar – the Rickenbacker “Frying Pan”. [Paul Barth – Magnatone Amps]

Frusciante’s guitar was made during the period from 1964 to 1968 when Paul partnered with Ted Peckels to build guitars under a brand called “Bartell”. It features two single-coil pickups, a non-adjustable aluminum bridge, individual switches for the pickups, a phase switch, and control knobs for volume and tone.


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