Don Felder on how he ended up with iconic double-neck 'Hotel California' guitar

News 18/04/2019

During a recent interview, classic Eagles guitarist Don Felder spoke about his double-neck Gibson guitar - commonly associated with 'Hotel California' live footage - explaining how the instrument wasn't used during the song's creative process.

The guitar is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC as part of the 'Play It Loud' exhibition, which features over 130 instruments used by such icons as Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Jimmy Page, The Beatles, Chuck Berry, and more.

"I didn't develop 'Hotel California' on that guitar. I actually just played a bunch of different guitars in the studio - an acoustic 12-string with a pickup in it, a Les Paul, and some other different guitars..." Felder said. 

"When I got to the soundstage to rehearse how we were going to go out and play the 'Hotel California' tour, I said, 'How am I going to play all these guitars with different sounds?' So I sent a guitar tech out to a music store and said, 'Just buy a double neck with a 12-string and a six-string on it, I'll see if I can make it work. So he brought it back, he brought back this white guitar, and I said, 'Why did you get a white one? Why didn't you get a black one or a red one? Why so girly looking?'. He said, 'That's all they had.' So I took a drill, drilled a hole at the top of it, wired it, so it was really two separate guitars,"

When asked if he misses being with the Eagles and being part of the team, Felder responded:

"You know, the energy and the creativity, the amount of talent that was in the Eagles when all the original people were there was just an amazing assemblage of incredible vocals, lyrics, guitar parts - it was really magical. I think that production of all arguments and disagreements we had while we were going through making those records really kind of stands the test of time because of those records,"

"It took three days for Joe Walsh and me to do just the guitar solos on the end of 'Hotel California.' When you hear it go by, you don't realize all that time and effort that went into it. The vocals were put under the microscope so nothing went out on the Eagles record that was the slightest bit out-of-tune or out-of-time, or a bad choice of notes. It was really scrutinized by everybody. So I miss being able to have that much talent together."

Felder also talked about his new solo album 'American Rock 'n' Roll', which features guest appearances by such major names as Slash, Richie Sambora, Orianthi, Peter Frampton, Joe Satriani, Mick Fleetwood, and more.

"I've known most of these guys for decades. Even back in the '70s, Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles toured together, so we wound up just being friends, we do charity work together... as a matter of fact, a lot of these connections come from doing charity work with people. So when it came time to think who I should have to help me on this record, the casting was the interesting thing, to be able to have the right person to play on the right song,"

"Slash was just down the street from me, and I was trying to figure out, 'Okay, what track would be best for him?', and obviously, 'American Rock 'n' Roll' was the one. Not only is he mentioned in the lyrics, but it's just perfectly down his musical alley, and along with Fleetwood as well. Yet you wouldn't put Slash on this really delicate ballad, something like 'The Way Things Have to Be,' but it was perfect for Peter Frampton, his sound and tone just hit so well on that track,"

"Knowing these people, how they play, it really helped in casting who was going to play which song. There's a lot of people that just kind of fell together, a lot of them were friends of mine that I asked them to come and play on. It was just such a treat to be able to put it together that way with a lot of friends and have a lot of fun doing it."

You can listen to 'American Rock 'n' Roll' in its entirety below: