Lindsey Buckingham’s Guitar Was Restrung Every 20 Minutes For An Iconic Fleetwood Mac Song

In the realm of epic guitarists, few are more popular or more enduring than Lindsey Buckingham. The singer, songwriter, and music icon is best known for his work in the band Fleetwood Mac, and his squabbles with his bandmates have become legendary over the years.

Buckingham has also done some impressive solo work over the years, working with many of the industry’s top musicians.

Still, his time with Fleetwood Mac is the most buzzed-about, and many stories have emerged about Buckingham’s legendary perfectionism, including the one time when he required his guitar be restrung every twenty minutes for the recording of a song.  

When was Lindsey Buckingham born?

Lindsey Buckingham performs onstage
Lindsey Buckingham | Steve Jennings/Getty Images

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Lindsey Buckingham was born in 1949, in Palo Alto, California. Raised in a family of rambunctious boys, Buckingham was athletically inclined early in life and spent some time swimming competitively. Eventually, Buckingham realized that his true passions lay with music and began playing the guitar. In spite of his interest in music, Buckingham was entirely self-taught, and never took formal lessons.

In 1966, Buckingham joined his first band, playing blues and rock music. The band, originally known as The Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band, shortened their name to Fritz, and welcomed a new member — Buckingham’s friend, vocalist Stevie Nicks.

For five years, Buckingham and Nicks performed with Fritz, gaining the skills that they needed to ultimately become rock royalty. In 1972, both artists decided to leave Fritz, and they formed their own group, recording the album Buckingham Nicks

When did Lindsey Buckingham join Fleetwood Mac?

Although their album Buckingham Nicks didn’t generate great sales, it did catch the ear of Mick Fleetwood, one of the founding members of Fleetwood Mac. Seeking to fill an empty spot in his group, Fleetwood reached out to Buckingham, offering him the job in Fleetwood Mac.

Buckingham agreed, on the condition that Stevie Nicks be offered a spot as well. Fleetwood hired both artists, and Fleetwood Mac officially expanded in 1974. 

Fleetwood Mac notoriously went through a number of different lineups over the years, and even Lindsey Buckingham was not immune to the massive power shifts within the group. In 1987, he left Fleetwood Mac, following his breakup from Stevie Nicks.

He pursued his own solo projects for a time, until 1997 when he reunited with his bandmates in Fleetwood Mac. Once again, Buckingham joined the lineup and remained a vital part of Fleetwood Mac until 2018, when he was unceremoniously fired

Lindsey Buckingham’s iconic guitar section in ‘Never Going Back Again’

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In the years since Lindsey Buckingham was fired from Fleetwood Mac, he has continued to work in the music industry, concentrating on his solo catalog and playing gigs on a regular basis. Still, fans still know him best as Fleetwood Mac’s signature guitarist and often look to his time in the band as the period when they produced their very best music.

Much of that can likely be attributed to Buckingham and Co.’s pursuit of perfectionism, which is especially apparent in stories about the band’s early recordings.

According to Rolling Stone, when Fleetwood Mac began recording the song “Never Going Back Again,” co-producer Ken Caillat noticed that “anytime he (Buckingham) played, there was a big difference in how bright his strings sounded after just 20 minutes. So I said, ‘Can we restring your guitar every 20 minutes?’ I wanted to get the best sound on every one of his picking parts.”

It took a full day just to get the one song recorded, due to the effort that it took to re-string Buckingham’s guitar every twenty minutes — but the results were, according to Caillat, “magnificent.”

Critics agreed, and the album Rumours as well as that specific song, received rave reviews, with music experts praising the “vintage” sound of the song and acknowledging the album as having “magic in the balance.”