Michael Schenker's guitars

Hey guys! 

I'm doing a little bit of research on what guitars that Michael Schenker used in his UFO days. 

I've seen him playing a cherry medallion V, a natural V, and a white V with a black trussrod cover. Was it the white one that went on to be painted with the classic black/white finish? Which ones did he use on Strangers in the Night? Since I've read in interviews that the pickups were always stock, they have to be T-tops, right? 

Any info would be appreciated! 


  • MAdX said:
    Hey guys! 

     Was it the white one that went on to be painted with the classic black/white finish? 
    I think so. I remember reading that.  Beyond that I don't know.  I'd be surprised if there wasn't good info on it somewhere on the net. See if you can find any Japanese Schenker sites.
    I threw me guitar out. Why bother? Why bother? Use it as a coffee table. Because I can't play it like that. 
    -- David St. Hubbins.
  • MAdXMAdX Posts: 2,039
    What I've found so far:

    1967 Gibson Flying V with cherry finish and Vibrola tailpiece (used 1976-1977)
    1971 Gibson Flying V Medallion (used 1973 - unknown)

    Found this on https://1967-flyingv.weebly.com/
    Serial number:  001747.  This is the 1967 Cherry Flying V from Batch #2 that Michael Schenker used in the 1976-1977 time frame.  During the 1977 Lights Out tour he had the tremelo removed and had it painted black.  Soon after that it disappeared.  It recently turned up in September 2020 after disappearing 43 years ago.  A collector (now deceased) owned the guitar and some of Michael's old UFO equipment and one of Rudolph's Medallion Vs  for the pasts 20 years.  The same collector also owned Michaels old Ovation acoustic from the early MSG days.  Someone down through the years painted it with Michael's trademark black and white flip flop design.    Thanks Justin.  Posted  September, 2020.

    Flying V Medallion #56  (This is the famous Medallion Flying V that Michael Schenker used on the first 3 or 4 UFO albums.  He is pictured on the back of the "Force It" album playing this guitar.  In the mid 70's Michael had it painted black, then white then it disappeared.  It surfaced about 15 years ago and had been refinished to the black and white flip flop color combination that he started using in 1979.  No one is really sure if this guitar was actually painted in the black and white flip flop combination way back in 1979 or not.   He had a 75 Flying V that had the black and white flip flop combination.  It is said that he got the idea for the black and white flip flop color combination from the German V-2 rocket.  Michael originally borrowed this guitar from his brother Rudolph in 1973 and never returned it.

    I don't think it's the same guitar as the white V below since it's missing the medallion. 

    I also found a Pintrest board with a pretty extensive collection of photos: https://www.pinterest.es/shiki321821/michael-schenker-ufo/

    Based these photos, apart from the two aforementioned guitars, you can also see;

    A white V with 70's headstock, no medallion, black pickup rings, white Strat knobs, and a black trussrod cover. 
    A natural/walnut V with 70's natural finished headstock, no medallion, and black pickup rings
    A black V, headstock shape not clearly visible, could be either the 71 or the 67

  • MAdXMAdX Posts: 2,039
    edited November 2020
    "The V I got from Rudolf was I think a sort of cherry colour. But I saw somebody playing a V with a natural wood look, and I liked it, so I took the colour off mine. I took a hammer and chisel to it -- and then I had a guitar with lots of grooves in it where I'd damaged it. Some guitar tech filled all the holes with white stuff and then painted it over so you couldn't see the damage any more. I didn't know if I should play a black V or a white V, so I asked him to spray the guitar black and white, and that was it."

    I'm not sure Michael's memory can be trusted as the most accurate source here, with his previous lifestyle in mind and his general disinterest for gear in general. 

    What we know for sure is that more than one of his guitars was refinished at some point. The 71 Medallion Flying V was actually black and white when in resurfaced; "No one is really sure if this guitar was actually painted in the black and white flip flop combination way back in 1979 or not." but it still has the medallion in place, and I have yet to see any pictures of Michael playing a white/black flying V with a medallion. 
    Post edited by MAdX on
  • MAdXMAdX Posts: 2,039
    This video dates from 1974 and you can clearly see that he is playing the 1971 Medallion V. 

    In this live video I have spotted two different black Flying Vs.

    In the 1975 footage, he is playing a black Flying V with the 70's style headstock, black trussrod cover, no pickup covers, and white Strat knobs. No medallion in sight though. The black trussrod cover, along with the white knobs, lead me to suspect that this is the same guitar that can be seen with white finish inside the Strangers in the Night cover, and the official music video for Only You Can Rock Me from 1978.

    In the 1977 footage Michael can be seen playing a black Flying V with the 60's style headstock, white trussrod cover, and pickup covers, and no Vibrola, so that has to be the '67, since the previous source stated "During the 1977 Lights Out tour he had the tremelo removed and had it painted black. Soon after that it disappeared" 

    So... which guitar was it really that he put the hammer and chisel to and ruined? Since it was supposedly cherry finished, it could have been either the 67 or the 71. It's very possible that it was the 71, which would lead me to believe it's the same black V that he's playing in the video from 1975. What throws me off is that I can see no trace of the actual medallion. Could it have been removed or painted over? 

  • MAdXMAdX Posts: 2,039
    Some more clues:

    Here is a very flattering magazine spread from 1976 where he is holding a cherry finished V with 60's style headstock. It has to be the 67 V before it was refinished black.

    Here is a picture of him playing a natural V with natural headstock in 78, so that has to be a different guitar, probably a newer addition since Gibson produced Vs with this finish in 1975 and 1979 

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