Andy Rourke's Gear

This is all the information I have been able to collect regarding Andy Rourke's instruments, amps and setup. I will add more information to this entry as it becomes available. Please email me if you have more information or want to correct an error.


Andy's early Smiths rig was a Peavey Mark III bass head with Ohm 4x10 and 1x15 cabinets. He later used Trace Elliot GP-11 heads with Trace Elliot 4x10 and 1x15 cabinets, as well as an Ampeg SVT head with Ampeg 8x10 cabinets.

Peavey Mark III bass head

Trace Elliot GP-11

Ampeg SVT

Ampeg SVT


Andy often used a Boss CE-2 chorus, and sometimes a Boss GE-10 EQ. He has said he used a Boss flanger as well, but I haven't seen one in any photos.

Boss CE-2 visible on top of amp

Boss CE-2 visible on top of Trace Elliot GP-11

Boss GE-10 equalizer

Boss GE-10 and CE-2


Andy tuned his basses up to F# in the early days of the Smiths. In later years he would use a dedicated F# bass for older songs alongside a bass in standard E tuning. Early basses such as the Guild and various Squier's have only been seen tuned to F#. The Yamaha BB2000, as well as the '62, '64, and '66 Fender Precision basses have been seen in both F# and E tunings at different shows. He used medium-gauge Rotosound strings. A drop-D tuning was used on “How Soon Is Now” and “Shoplifters of the World Unite”.


Guild B-301

Andy's first Smiths bass. Was first seen on January 21st, 1983 at Manhattan Sound. It's last known appearance was May 6th, 1983, the same month Andy began using his P-Bass copy.

Antoria P-Bass Copy

1970's Japanese P-Bass copy, branded as Antoria. Andy's first known use of this bass was May 21st 1983, and it was last seen on June 29th.

Squier Precision Bass

This bass was first seen on July 6th at the Hacienda, shortly after Andy stopped using the Japanese P-Bass copy.

Squier Precision Bass, Black with Black Pickguard and Maple Neck

This bass is likely the same as the Squier above, but with a changed pickguard. It was first seen with the black pickguard on October 5th 1983 at the ICA. It was used in the video for This Charming Man, and was Andy's main bass for the remainder of 1983. It was last seen in this configuration on the Earsay program on March 31st, 1984.

Squier Precision Bass, Black with Black Pickguard and Rosewood Neck

Only one known known appearance: June 14th, 1984 on Top Of The Pops. It's very possible that this bass is Andy's regular Squier with another neck.

Yamaha BB2000

Described by Andy as being used "for the funky stuff", this was the bass used to record Barbarism Begins At Home. It's first known appearance was at Glastonbury in June 1984. It saw use on the Smiths Spanish tour in May of 1985, where it was used once per show, for Meat Is Murder. It was also seen on the Scottish tour in September of 1985. It was last used on a performance on The Tube on April 10th of 1987- The Smiths' second-to-last TV appearance. The bass was sold on eBay in October 2003.

Here are some photos of the bass in 2013, courtesy of the current owner.  Big thanks goes out to Gary for sending these in:

1964 Fender Precision Bass

“I got my main P-Bass when Seymour Stein from Sire took us down to Manny’s Music in New York to buy Johnny a guitar and me a bass. I picked out this old beat-up bass because its label said 1964—same year I was born. It has a really warm sound. When you crank it, it has a good growl that I don’t think you can get from any other bass." -Andy Rourke

This bass had it's first documented appearance on January 26, 1984 on a Top Of The Pops. Perhaps Andy's most iconic Smiths bass, it was heavily used throughout 1984 and continued to see use as one of his main live basses during the 1986 tours. It was last seen at the final Smiths show in December of 1986, where it was Andy's dedicated F# bass.

Here are some recent photos of the bass which were sent in by my friend Joel Perry:

1962 Fender Precision Bass, Fiesta Red

This P-Bass was first seen on February 14, 1985 on Top Of The Pops. It saw heavy use throughout 1985 and was the main bass on the Spanish tour, as a dedicated F# bass. It was last seen at the final Smiths show, where it was tuned to E.

1966 Fender Precision Bass, Olympic White(slab body)

The first known appearance of this bass was May 20th, 1986, on Whistle Test. It was used as a main bass on the 1986 tours, in both E and F# tunings. It's quite a rare instrument; it's said that less than 20 were ever made. It was last seen on February 7th, 1987 at the San Remo Festival.

Fender Jazz Bass

This was used at two TV appearances in February and April 1987. This was the last bass that Andy used with The Smiths.


Anonymous said...

Great with some bassgear! I always thought Andy basically only had the BB2000 and the 64' P-Bass.

Interesting he had a slab P-Bass… that was John Entwhistles alltime favourite P-Bass model and he had several, some of which were smashed and later became the famous Frankenstein. Maybe he could have got it off the who some way, since Johnny had tons of gear that used to be Petes and Johns. Obviously I don't know, just thinking out loud, interesting to know though…

Love the Blog!

Thom said...

Thanks for the comment! I didn't directly speculate that the slab bass was Entwhistle's, but I had that same thought as well. I think it's pretty likely, but maybe we will get an answer one of these days.

Bobby Kewley (The Smiths Indeed) said...

Excellent! Great to see a section dedicated to Andy's gear at last :) Great to hear about the tunings in detail too, there's not too much about it on the net. I've been carrying both an F# bass and standard tuning bass with me on tour with The Smiths Indeed, but it's not so well known that Andy did so. Great to see the 62 fiesta red P bass mentioned; always wondered about the origins of that one. Good work mate!

Thom said...

Hi Bobby, thanks for the comment. I will probably post in the future in more detail about Johnny and Andy's tunings, both live and on record. In general, the debut and Meat Is Murder were F# with few exceptions(the song Meat Is Murder was E). The Queen Is Dead era was a shift to E for Andy and standard tuning for Johnny, for many songs.

That's cool that you are touring with an F# bass as well! I hope to catch one of your shows someday.

Dayal108 said...

Great site! However, I saw the Smiths in June 1985 in Oakland, CA USA on the Meat is Murder tour. Andy was playing a blue Ibanez Roadstar II bass. Any pics of that?

Thom said...

Thanks for the info, Dayal. I will try to confirm that. I haven't seen Andy playing that bass, but I will look for some photos from that tour. Maybe it was a one-time appearance of a borrowed bass?

Dan said...

I believe that Entwhistles had three knobs because they had some sort of preamp in them. This one appears to only have 2.

Thom said...

But Entwhistle is known to have owned at least 3 slab P basses, maybe more... so it's not just the one we would be comparing it to.

Unknown said...

This is fantastic!!! I knew Andy had used a few different types of Precision basses, but it's really nice to see he used Squier early on and still made it sound amazing!!

Thom said...

Yeah... and if you have ever looked into buying a Smiths-era MIJ Squier bass, you'll see they aren't cheap!

Linds in Oz said...

Great resource - answered a lot of questions for me - thanks a million, mate! Very pleased to see Andy used a GE-10 - I've been using one with my bass rigs since the mid-1980s ... along with my MIJ Squire P-bass...

bluealnico said...

Hi there,
My names Will and I sold Andys Yamaha bass on eBay for his behalf.I was playing in a band (Spectre) with him and Mike Joyce at the time.(I also played with them in The Mighty Wah briefly).
A lot of the more vintagey stuff was often aquired through the late great Alan Rogan who worked for The Who so theres a very good chance Andys '66 Slab P-bass was one of Entwistles.
Incidently Andy used my '61 Candy Apple Red P bass in Freebass at one of the Mancester Versus Cancer shows at the MEN Arena.
Will Deegan