One of the more distinctive lead players to come out of 70's stadium rock, Lindsay Buckingham started his musical career playing bass in a rock band called Fritz with his partner, singer and songwriter Stevie Nicks. "I started playing guitar first of all when I was about eight, because my older brother used to bring home all the Elvis records, Buddy Holly, the old Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis. Then I got into folk stuff and acoustic fingerpicking. When I got into rock and roll again I couldn't play screaming lead, which is why they put me on bass in Fritz", he later revealed.
When Fritz broke up, Buckingham and Nicks carried on as a duo, releasing the aptly titled Buckingham/ Nicks , but they were still starving in LA'. Purely by chance, Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood heard Buckingham/ Nicks and was so impressed he asked the duo to join the band a week later. The resulting album, Fleetwood Mac became the band's first US number one; the follow up, Rumours , became one of the best selling albums of all time.
Buckingham recorded four more albums with Fleetwood Mac, Tusk, Fleetwood Mac Live, Mirage and Tango In the Night, which included songs earmarked for what would have been Buckingham's third solo album.
Reluctant to tour in support of Tango In The Night, Buckingham left to pursue his solo career. Ten years later, whilst working on a solo album, he gradually brought in the other members of Fleetwood Mac to help out, culminating in the Fleetwood Mac Rumours line up reunion for The Dance.
Like Mark Knopfler and Jeff Beck, Buckingham uses his fingers to pluck the strings. "I still don't use a flatpick", he explained shortly after the release of Rumours. "I always use my fingers on stage; I kind of thrash out the lead with my fingernails." This technique of playing lead with the fingers can be heard in the solo in You Make Loving Fun from Rumours, and can be seen and heard in the live version of the song in the video and CD The Dance. "My fingernails take quite a pummelling sometimes, but it's just something you get used to. I've got a lot of calluses on the ends of my fingers. The only time I ever used fingerpicks was for bluegrass banjo, but I never used a flatpick for anything."
Shortly after he joined Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham's main electric was a stock white Les Paul Custom. "Before I joined the band I'd been playing a Stratocaster, but for some reason it didn't sound quite full enough live. I still use a Stratocaster more in the studio than the Gibson, but the Les Paul seems to be a very good, basic, solid stage guitar with a lot of output and fullness." Later, he was also much seen playing an odd bodied, single pickup Rick Turner electric.
"For amplifiers I used to use Hi Watts, but they all of a sudden somehow became real dirty sounding. So I got Marshall 100 Watts, and they seem to have a lot of bite. I use these tape recorder guts for fuzz. When I got out of Fritz and started doing lead, I bought a Sony 630 tape recorder deck for demo tapes. Then I got an Ampeg 4 track and started using the Sony 2 track for slap echo and effects like that with the pre amp output of the deck into an amp. It's just an amazing fuzz device. Since then I've taken the guts out of the preamp and put them in a little box, and that's what I use both onstage and in the studio. I also use a Roland Space Echo and a Cry Baby wah wah sometimes. My strings are Ernie Ball Regular Slinky, whatever set has an .010 on the top and a .046 or something on the bottom."
For acoustics, Buckingham used a Martin D 18 in the studio, heard on Landslide from Fleetwood Mac and an ovation for live shows. In the live video The Dance, he plays an electro acoustic.