Guitar Aficionado

Ritchie Blackmore Shows His Guitar Collection

He tells the stories behind several guitars, including some he used with Deep Purple and Rainbow.

You may have never heard of a group called Roundabout, but you certainly have heard them perform under the name with which they became famous: Deep Purple.

It was on April 20 in 1968 that the group played its first show as Deep Purple, at a gig in Taastrup, Denmark.

It was guitarist Ritchie Blackmore who suggested the new name, taking a cue from his grandmother, of all people. One of her favorite tunes was “Deep Purple,” a song written by Peter DeRose and Mitchell Parish that became a 1933 hit for Paul Whiteman and his orchestra.

According to Blackmore, whenever he told his grandmother that Roundabout had a show, she would ask if they were going to play “Deep Purple.” Apparently, the idea took root, and Blackmore convinced the band to adopt the moniker.

Blackmore hasn’t performed with Deep Purple since the mid Nineties. Beginning in 1997, he took his music in a different direction entirely by teaming up with Candice Night in the folk-rock duo Blackmore’s Night.

Which brings us to the video below. It’s an interesting document in which Blackmore, along with Night, talks about several of his guitars, including instruments that he used with Deep Purple and with Rainbow, the rock band he led from 1975 to 1984 and from 1993 to 1997. Among the guitars shown are his main Fender Stratocaster that he says he’s played for the past 30 years.

In the video, Blackmore talks about scalloping his fretboards, a process that takes him three days to achieve. He also tells a funny story—or a sad one, depending on how you look at it—about a luthier who undid his handiwork by replaning the fretboard to make it flat again. Take a look.