Special Pricing only at The Official David Bowie Webstore
- Limited quantities available
- Individually numbered
- Mirror-finish Bowie headstock inlay
- Supro Vistatone pickups
- 24 ¾” scale length
- 12” fretboard radius
- Ergonomic set-neck design
- Supro Gig Bag Included
- Signed and numbered certificate of authenticity included
- Please note, international shipping will be available soon!
Guitars are expected to ship during the week of January 6th.
Supro is proud to introduce the David Bowie 1961 Dual Tone. Replicas of one of the two Supro Dual Tone guitars owned and loved by Bowie, this hard-tail version was the first Dual Tone that David acquired, just prior to recording the Reality album. This Supro Dual Tone became such an integral part of the sound and imagery of the Reality album that David purchased a second one for the ensuing Reality Tour.
“When Reality got underway, Bowie had only recently invested in several Supro guitars, one
of them a hard-to-find white model similar to that played by Link Wray on 'Rumble'. He'd
managed to pick this up on eBay (I kid you not) and had it revamped by Staten Island
designer/ manufacturer/ restorer Flip Scipio. After Scipio went to work on it, Bowie ended
up with a guitar that, according to Tony Visconti, "was never meant to sound so good", and he
played this a lot during the Reality sessions, along with a Supro 12-string that had also been
overhauled by Flip Scipio, and some harsh-sounding Supro valve amps.” – Richard Buskin from
“Recording Reality” – Sound on Sound Magazine, October 2003
David Bowie’s love of the Dual Tone was strong, as evidenced by the guitar’s frequent appearance in promotional photos from his post-9/11 era in New York City. Bowie’s Dual Tone guitar features prominently on the cover of the New Killer Star single, echoing the cover art for Link Wray’s iconic “Rumble!” With Bowie’s face just out of view, the focus of the image becomes the guitar itself. This begs the question: why is Bowie’s face cropped out of the image? Why is the focus on the guitar? Maybe we aren’t supposed to know? Then we remember the album title: Reality.
“I feel that reality has become an abstract for so many people over the last 20 years. Things
that they regarded as truths seem to have just melted away, and it's almost as if we're
thinking post-philosophically now. There's nothing to rely on any more. No knowledge, only
interpretation of those facts that we seem to be inundated with on a daily basis. Knowledge
seems to have been left behind and there's a sense that we are adrift at sea. There's nothing
more to hold onto, and of course political circumstances just push that boat further out.” -
David Bowie from “Recording Reality” - Sound on Sound Magazine, October 2003
One thing we know to be real: we love vibey iconic guitars with lots of character—and we love
them even more when they’ve been worked on by a top luthier. This is what we’ve
endeavored to deliver and are happy to bring to reality for 2019. Here is something you can
hold on to: The first batch of four hundred David Bowie 1961 Dual Tone guitars will be
released on January 8th, 2019 in honor of David’s birthday. Each instrument is numbered by
hand and comes with a Supro deluxe gig bag and certificate of authenticity.
Dual Tone Guitar History:
The Dual Tone model first appeared in Supro catalogs in the early 1950s. The distinctive tone
of the Supro Vistatone pickups has been a consistent highlight of this instrument throughout
its evolution. The 1953 Supro catalog boasted: “We sincerely believe the pickup system to be
the finest we have ever produced in over two decades of electronic development. Make an
honest comparison with any instrument for tone, volume, and performance—you’ll be truly
surprised. “Over the subsequent five years after ’53, the neck was improved, headstock
changed, body widened, pickup wiring changed, and contoured bevels added to the body. By
1958, the Dual Tone was totally dialed in, and became a bestseller for Supro.
In keeping with the spirit of innovation that evolved the 1953 Dual Tone into the 1961 model
favored by David Bowie, the construction of the David Bowie 1961 Dual Tone guitar has been
further developed with subtle tweaks and refinements to carry the torch into the present day
—while retaining the vibe of the original instrument. This incarnation of the Dual Tone guitar
features a 24 ¾” scale maple neck with a Pau Ferro fretboard and set-neck construction. The
mahogany body has a tummy cut for increased playing comfort, as well as an ergonomic neck
joint, allowing full access to the high frets. Hardware appointments include reverse stairstep
tailpiece, tune-o-matic bridge, butterfly tulip tuning pegs and a matched set of vintage correct
Vistatone pickups, designed to replicate the genuine Supro sound that David Bowie
As a final touch, the David Bowie 1961 Dual Tone features a mirror-finish Bowie lightning bolt
insignia on the face of the headstock.