This odd member of the Les Paul family was produced in limited runs during the mid-1970s. Like its solidbody brethren, it has a gold top and a sharp lower cutaway. But the body is actually semihollow, features two “f” holes, and has a very 335-like upper cutaway and wide bout. Les himself was said to have liked the shape (apparently more than the SG shape, which he did not like), but there wasn’t much of a market for the model. These LP Signatures are rarities as they were produced for only about 5 years with only a few hundred manufactured each year.
: Guns N’ Roses - “Appetite For Destruction.”
Released in 1987, GNR’s debut album force-fed piledriver guitar riffs, the heavy use of wah-wah pedals, and high levels of amplification back into the core of hard rock. Featuring the dual guitars of Izzy Stradlin (Jeff Isbell) and Slash (Saul Hudson), the album was one of the most intense American guitar creations since the heyday of Aerosmith and Van Halen.
From the opening freight train riff of “Welcome To The Jungle” to the closing spaciness of “Rocket Queen,” Slash and Izzy’s guitar sound was loud, abrasive, distorted, and unrelenting. Driven by Gibsons and Marshalls (Slash became Gibson’s de facto Les Paul face for the next two decades), the sound of “Appetite” was angrier than anything else that metal and rock guitarists were playing at the time.
In retrospect, it’s doubtful that any guitarist since Uriah Heep’s Mick Box has gotten as much mileage out of the wah wah pedal as Slash. It is certain to be in evidence on his upcoming solo album, which features a performance by Izzy.
: The Alabama Jammer
During the course of 2011, the state of Alabama is singing the praises of legendary Alabama musicians ranging from Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers to the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. As part of this yearlong celebration of its music history, The Alabama Jammer guitar (or “Bama Jama” as it’s known) was carved in the shape of the state.
It was commissioned from Gibson, which has in the past produced its “USA” guitar in the shape of the lower 48 states, and the instrument has standard Les Paul appointments, with the addition of star inlays. Mike McGuire in the Custom Shop oversaw the creation of the Alabama Jammer. More info about its origins at: http://www.yearofalabamamusic.com/alabama-jammer
: Norlin LABSeries Amps – “Ronnie Montrose.”
Back in 1980, conglomerate Norlin owned Gibson guitars, Maestro effects, and Moog synthesizers. This ad, featuring Ronnie Montrose, showed off not only the Gibson ESD 1275, but also the Lab Series L5, a 100 watt solid state amp that featured 2 12” speakers.
This guitar gained fame as the instrument that Clapton used on the 1966 “Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton” album—while playing through a Marshall amp. The Les Paul is known as Beano in reference to the album cover photograph, which depicts Clapton reading “The Beano” comics newspaper, a publication popular in England after World War II. The actual guitar was stolen before Clapton went out on a Cream tour that same year, and few specifics are known. It is believed to have been a 1960 LP, manufactured just before Gibson switched Les Pauls to the SG shape. Part of this dating is due to Clapton remembering it having a slender neck. Clapton made minor modifications to Beano; he removed the pick covers, revealing a double cream PAF in the neck position and a double-black PAF in the bridge position, and he replaced the original tuners.
The fact that the guitar has never been “authentically” found hasn’t stopped Gibson from reissuing it as a Clapton signature model. Several musicians, including Bernie Marsden of the original Whitesnake, are believed to have had Beano in their possession at one time. Whatever its current location, Beano helped establish the Les Paul-through-a-Marshall sound that has been used innumerable times in the four decades since the original disappeared.
: Jimmy Page - Gibson EDS-1275 Doubleneck.
No other rock guitarist is so associated with the electric doubleneck as Jimmy Page. Looking for a way to play parts of various Zeppelin songs live onstage without switching guitars, he chose the doubleneck as the best option. Gibson produced the EDS-1275 beginning in 1958, but had discontinued the model in the 1960s, so Page had one custom-built for delivery in 1971. He immediately took it out on tour for use on songs like “Stairway To Heaven” and “The Song Remains The Same.” The two necks allowed him to play disparate parts within the songs by toggling quickly from the 12-string neck (primarily for rhythm) to the 6-string neck (primarily for solos).
The guitar was nicknamed “The Aerial” (British term for antenna) because it picked up large amount of interference on stage. Page has said he used the doubleneck only a few times in the studio over the course of his career, notably for “Carouselambra” on “In Through The Out Door.”
: Ted McCarty - “Flying V Patent.”
On this week in 1958, Gibson’s Ted McCarty was awarded a patent for the design of the guitar that came to be known as the “Flying V.” That was 55 years ago, folks. Happy birthday to the V.
: X-Ray - “1905 Larson Acoustic.”
Guitarist and professor John Thomas has created an exhibit featuring X-rays of vintage acoustics, including Gibsons, Martins, and Larsons. Called “Vintage Steel,” it is currently on display in New Haven, CT. Many of the instruments in the exhibit are over 100 years old, including this 1905 Larson.
Thomas’ intent is to show the internal structures of these instruments, from truss rods to bracing, that can’t be seen without dismantling the guitars. Look closely and you can see the floral inlay on the fretboard. Some truly great x-rays, and truly great guitars, are featured. You can find out more at http://www.fairhaven-furniture.com/web/gallery/gallery_index.html.
We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!
Did you see Gibson’s Les Paul float in the Macy’s Parade?
Paul Bigsby died on June 7, 1968. While most guitarists know him because of his wildly popular Bigsby vibrato, most are not aware that Bigsby is widely considered to have crafted the first true solidbody electric guitar. Bigsby was a motorcycle mechanic during the 1940s in Southern California. He became friends with noted country star Merle Travis when the two met at a motorcycle racetrack. Travis discovered that Bigsby was a notorious tinkerer, and asked Paul if he could fix a vibrato tailpiece on a Gibson L-10.
Bigsby ended up replacing the vibrato with a better one of his own design.
Travis then asked Bigsby- in 1946 - if he could build an entire electric guitar, complete with pickups that wouldn’t feed back. Using a design from Travis, Paul created what may have been the first solidbody electric guitar. The guitar had a single cutaway and a headstock that featured all the tuning pegs on one side instead of the standard three per side arrangement. This was similar to a design used a centrury before by German luthier Johann Stauffer. It would later show up in a very similar form on the Fender Stratocaster.