Gallery: The Real Gear of Fake Bands

Ever watch a movie about a fake band and totally lose the plot because you got caught up drooling over the very real instruments you’re seeing on screen? You’re not alone.

Today, we’re exploring rigs from eight of our favorite flicks that feature the best bands that never existed. Who did we miss? Let us know in the comments.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Some folks may be sad, "so very, very sad," to learn that the songs of Sex Bob-Omb were originally written by indie rocker Beck for the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Nonetheless, the group shows off their iconic gear and performance skills while competing in a battle of the bands in this cult classic movie.

Spotted Gear:

  • 1. The bass here is very likely a Rickenbacker 4003, but if it's from the '70s, it could be a 4001.
  • 2. This drum set is almost impossible to confidently identify, but we think it's probably a super cheap import kit.
  • 3. We see a Peavey 400, a '70s Peavey combo, which is fitting, given the ubiquity of Peavey amps for garage bands like this.
Almost Famous

Based on director Cameron Crowe’s real-life experiences as a teenage scene reporter for Rolling Stone, no doubt the sound and antics of fictional band Stillwater struck a familiar chord for many fans of ‘70s rock. But did the gear featured in the film hit/miss the mark?

Spotted Gear:

  • 1. This looks to us like an old Conn Strobotuner.
  • 2. This is a broadcast/radio mixer that is probably custom, as radio consoles were largely custom-made "back in the day."
  • 3. Here we've got what looks like a classic Gibson Hummingbird acoustic, but Jason Lee is also seen in other scenes with a very similar-looking Gibson Dove.
  • 4. It's hard to tell exactly which model we're dealing with from this angle, but this looks like a National Style O.
  • 5. This looks like a Gibson Les Paul Standard in sunburst.
  • 6. This is a '70s Ludwig Vistalite Pro-Beat outfit in Amber.
Freaky Friday

"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage the next act in the KllSFM Wango Tango auditions, from right here in Los Angeles, let's give it up for Pink Slip!" Honestly, who could forget the legendary tone of Pink Slip in Disney’s Freaky Friday?

The band featured the playing styles of actress Lindsay Lohan, and through a strange sequence of events, the guitar soloing of Jamie Lee Curtis. Some might say their gear is "the ultimate," but let’s take a closer look.

Spotted Gear:

Frank

This 2014 Lenny Abrahamson gem focuses on the journey of aspiring songwriter Jon (Domnhall Gleeson), who is taken somewhat by surprise when he is adopted into psychedelic noise rock outfit the Soronprfrbs. The band is fronted by the mysterious Frank (Michael Fassbender), who sports a giant papier-mâché head both on and off stage.

From a painful and exhilarating recording session in a remote cabin to their disastrous debut at SXSW, the band (played by actors Maggie Gyllenhaal, Francois Civil, and legit drum royalty Carla Azar behind the kit), the Soronprfrbs have a fascinating collection of instruments to toy with.

Spotted Gear:

School of Rock

You’re not hardcore unless you live hardcore. And the legend of this gear is way hardcore! That said, let’s educate ourselves about the instruments that helped School of Rock...uh...rock.

Spotted Gear:

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

For those unfamiliar with Russ Meyer’s 1970 cult classic take on the soapy Valley of the Dolls story, let us entice you. At its core, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (penned by famed film critic Roger Ebert) is the story of a rock trio who makes it big in Hollywood and becomes entangled in the dangerous, edgy world of music stardom, with some surprising...and deadly...turns along the way.

With a truly excellent soundtrack, and an era-appropriate cameo by Strawberry Alarm Clock, the band at the film’s center (The Carrie Nations) goes through a number of transformations. But clearly, we’re here to talk about the gear.

Spotted Gear:

  • 1. This semi-hollowbody looks to us like it could be a Yamaha SA-50.
  • 2. "I've been to parties where they danced to records by Strawberry Alarm Clock, but this is the first time the Strawberry Alarm Clock has been to the party!" The ladies borrow some gear (and band members) for a house show: a mid-'60s Precision Bass. The Les Paul is interesting because it has P90 pickups, which means it's either an actual early '50s Goldtop, or one of a batch of more recent reissues Les Pauls that Gibson made when first reintroducing the Les Paul in 1968 and '69 that had P90s.
  • 3. No telling what the drum set is from these images, but Yamaha in this era would have been an imported Japanese brand, so the set is probably of a similar ilk—any number of MIJ Ludwig-style.
  • 4. Another potential pair of Yamaha SA-50s. The bass is a similar SA-70.
Josie and the Pussycats

With vocals supplied by Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, it’s no wonder that group Josie and the Pussycats skyrocketed into fame in this 2000s' classic. The film showcases the group recording a hit single in preparation for their mysteriously sold out shows. Was their gear truly "a five-star triple-threat"?

Spotted Gear:

  • 1. The amp looks to be an Acoustic 360 with possibly a 405 2x15 cab. The guitar is a Samick, possibly a model called Tornio, possibly custom-made for the movie.
  • 2. Here's a better view of the Samick (potentially Tornio) from the first picture, as well as a Samick PJ Bass.
  • 3. Here, the guitar appears to be a Gretsch Double Jet. The guitar amp is a Marshall JCM 800 or 900, and the bass is styled after a Fender Jazz Bass, though the headstock suggests it's a Samick.
The Muppet Movie

We know we’re supposed to be talking about fake bands. Obviously, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem is a real band, with real musicians at the top of their game. Nevertheless, we’re going to take a look at some of the gear they use in The Muppet Movie, because we do this every weekend.

Spotted Gear:

  • 1. The tape delay above Scooter’s head is a Roland Space Echo (there are a few models I think). The amp up front is a Silverface Fender Princeton Reverb.
  • 2. The slim, wide drum machine in the middle looks like a Roland TR-77. The TR-77 was similar to some of Ikutaro Kakehashi's Ace Tone organ-accompaniment machines, but was one of the first releases from the newly founded Roland, after Kakehashi left Ace Tone.
  • 3. We couldn't figure out what exactly Janice's guitar was based on (maybe a '60s Crucianelli Spazial?), but we have no doubt that it inspired the Kawai Moonsault that hit the market in the early '80s.
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