Keith Richards’ Gallotone Valencia

Keith bought this guitar sometime in the early sixties, and it was his first steel-string guitar. He used the guitar circa 1961 with the band called Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, consisting of Keith, Mick, Dick Taylor, Bob Beckwith, and Allen Etherington.

My guitar, this time an f-hole archtop Hofner steel string, was Blue Boy–the words written on its face–and because of that, I was Boy Blue. That was my very first steel-string guitar. You’ll only find pictures of it in the club gigs, before the takeoff. I bought it secondhand in Ivor Mairants, off Oxford Street.

You knew it had had one owner because of the patches and sweat marks on the fretboard. He’s either playing up the top, the fiddly bits, or he’s a chord man. It’s like a map, a seismograph. And I left it either on the Victoria line or the Bakerloo line on the London Underground. But where better to bury it than the Bakerloo line? It left scars. 

Keith Richards; Life

Based on the few photos of Keith with the guitar (see comments for one of them), this was most likely not a Hofner, but a Gallotone Valencia – contrary to what Keith said. He must’ve confused the models, or there is a possibility, although less likely, that these were two different guitar – both with “Boy Blue” write on them.

Keith Richards on the far left, playing a Hofner archtop.

As noted in the quote from Keith above, he forgot the guitar on a train on one of the London Underground lines, and that was the end of it. It’s funny to consider that someone must’ve picked it up, and probably never knew that this was the first electric guitar that Keith Richards ever played.


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1 year ago

I think the guitar could be a 60s Gallotone Valencia (the same brand of guitar that was used by a young John Lennon in the early Quarrymen days). Either that or it was Keith’s second electric guitar used.