Saturday, April 26, 2008

Three Great Guitarists and their Gibsons - Richards, Page and Hendrix

The Greatest Gibson Guitarists by Lyndon Ogden

The three greatest Gibson players are in my humble or someone who acquires fame through nothing but bad behavior. A legend is someone with a body of listenable work that transcends publicity and whose work spans the ages.

My three top guitarists are -

Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones has used a variety of Gibson's throughout his career; he's favoured Les Pauls and ES models, but has also occasionally been seen with assorted other models, including reverse and nonreverse Firebirds, a Flying V, an SG, an L6S and a Melody Maker. Richards obtained a 1959 sunburst Les Paul in 1964.The guitar, outfitted with a Bigsby tailpiece, was the first "star owned" Les Paul in Britain and served as one of the guitarist's main instruments through 1966. It went up for auction in 2004 from Christie's Auction House in England with a starting price of $400,000 but remained unsold.In the mid-60s Richards also acquired a 1954 Les Paul Gold Top and a number of 1957 Les Paul Customs; one of the latter, hand-painted with psychedelic patterns by Richards himself, was one of his main stage and studio guitars from 1968 through the end of the Stones' 1970 European tour. Throughout the 1970s Richards continued to use various Gibson's on stage and in promo videos; on the Stones' 1972-73 tours he made extensive use of a second 1959 sunburst Les Paul and a 1954 Les Paul Custom (featured on the cover of the 1975 Gibson catalog). From 1973 through 1978 the guitarist also used a 1958 cherry red Les Paul Junior, replacing it in 1979 with the 1959 TV yellow Les Paul Junior that he's used regularly on stage ever since. Since 1997 an ebony ES-355 has been among his favourite stage guitars, along with a white ES-345 that he unveiled in 2006; in rehearsal and studio photos and footage he's also frequently seen with an ES-350 and ES-175D. Hummingbirds have been among his preferred acoustic models since 1965.

Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin uses a 1958 Les Paul Standard ("Number 1"), a 1959 Les Paul Standard ("Number 2", a gift from Joe Walsh), a 1973 Les Paul Standard, an EDS-1275, a 1977 RD Artist, an ES5 Switchmaster, a Goldtop Premium Les Paul and a 1991 Custom Shop Les Paul (built to be an exact replica of "Number 1" and re-nicknamed "Number 3"). Page also owned a modified 1960 Les Paul Custom "Black Beauty" with a Bigsby Tailpiece and a 3-pickup configuration, a gift from Keith Richards. This guitar was stolen in 1970 and never recovered. For acoustics Page used a Hummingbird, a J-200 and an A-2 mandolin. Gibson has released a Jimmy Page Signature Model Les Paul replicating the features of "Number 2".

Jimi Hendrix of The Jimi Hendrix Experience while generally regarded as an iconic Stratocaster player, Hendrix used several Gibson models including an SG Custom, Flying V, Les Paul Special and a Les Paul Custom. Gibson also gave him two guitars in 1970, a custom Flying V and an ES-345. Both of these guitars were left handed models. Gibson has released a Flying V model replicating his 1967 Flying V including the psychedelic floral design which Hendrix himself had hand painted on the original.

Lots more Gibson Guitar related stuff at my website.

Lyndon is a collector of vintage guitars. His website is where you will find articles, information and useful links about vintage guitars.

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1 comment:

  1. Hendrix played a Strat most of his carer. He played a right handed guitar in a left hand positon and it was almost always a strat. He very seldom played a Gibson. Your pic of him with a Flying V is one of the few pictures with a Gibson.