Syd Barrett’s 1962 Fender Esquire

Syd bought this guitar in early 1965, allegedly agreeing to pay for it in installments. He would use this guitar as his main until late 1967 when he purchased a white Fender Telecaster with a rosewood neck.

This guitar was originally white, but in late 1966 Syd wrapped it in silver melinex plastic film and glued a few circular polished metal discs on the body. He was most likely inspired to do this by Mike Leonard, a landlord of the house where members of Pink Floyd lived in 1965.

Mike is an architect who experimented with light effects in the 60s, and he was the man orchestrating light effects during early Pink Floyd shows. He was one the first people to build color light show devices, or essentially projectors to be used to improvise light effects during the band’s live performances. Syd himself would use the mirror surface of his guitar to reflect those lights back on the audience and create ever more dazzling effects.

Metal disks on the guitar eventually became worn and Syd for one reason or another slowly stopped using the Esquire and switched to a white Telecaster by late 1967. He allegedly left the guitar outside in the rain one night, and this resulted in some of the hardware becoming oxidized – so that may as well be one of the reasons.

Nonetheless, Syd has been quoted saying that even though he went through a number of different guitars, this one was by far his favorite. He kept it until Pink Floyd’s second album, when he swapped it for a black Fender Telecaster with a maple neck, but regretted making that decision ever since. Its current whereabouts are unknown, and the person in the possession of this guitar might not even realize the value that the guitar holds.

I never felt so close to a guitar as that silver one with mirrors that I used on stage all the time. I swapped it for the black one, but I’ve never played it.

Syd Barrett: The Madcap Who Named Pink Floyd


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