Earlier this year Epiphone launched the Limited Edition Tommy Thayer “Spaceman” Les Paul Standard Outfit, a very cool silver flake Les Paul kitted out to Tommy’s specs and sporting a pair of Gibson USA Gibson 498T humbuckers and sporting some cool bonus stuff as well. These guitars have now sold out (Allans Music have one listed as in stock if you’d like to try your luck) and now were left with the question “What next?” At the end of the press release below, Epiphone states “Visit Epiphone.com for more news on Epiphone, Tommy Thayer, and possible future runs of the Ltd. Ed. Tommy Thayer “Spaceman” Les Paul Standard Outfit.” If there are future runs, I think it’d be great to see new designs based on some of the other guitars Tommy uses live with KISS. What do you think? Leave a comment! Here’s the press release: Continue reading
Aaah, I loves me a good guitar book. Sometimes I even loves me a bad guitar book. But 108 Rock Star Guitars looks like it’s going to fall squarely into the former category. Picture it: over 100 iconic guitars pictured in fine detail, including axes belonging to Jimmy Page, Slash, Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons, Keith Richard and even the late great Les Paul, who provided a foreword to the book when he was still with us. It’s available in standard and deluxe editions, with the latter including a die-cut collector’s box and a hand-woven, silk chiffon scarf in deep purple featuring the book cover design. Both editions will include a 16-page booklet, “The Inspiration Behind 108 Rock Star Guitars,” with additional behind-the-scenes photos and stories as well as a guitar pick printed with one of three custom holographic foil designs.
Here’s the press release: Continue reading
Whoa. Check this out. Slash has always had some of the coolest Les Pauls of all time, and his latest signature model is the Rosso Corsa, or “racing red.” It features a Grade-AAA flamed maple top, a pair of Seymour Duncan Slash Signature humbucking pickups, a TonePros Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, and a distinctive Slash graphic on the headstock, echoed in a silkscreen on the included black Gibson USA hardshell case. More info here, but first here are some pics… Continue reading
Steve Vai has been a frequent visitor to Australia over the past decade. He’s been out here for a few G3 tours (first with Joe Satriani and John Petrucci, and then with Satriani and Steve Lukather), he’s been a guest of Dweezil Zappa during the first Zappa Plays Zappa tour, and he even shared some pretty deep musical insights during a masterclass tour. But in that time we’ve only had one Vai solo tour, back in 2004. And you really don’t get the full Vai experience from a short G3 set, a guest appearance or an admittedly amazing masterclass. No sir, for the full Steve Vai experience, you have to see a full Steve Vai show. Continue reading
Now this is pretty neat: Gibson USA is releasing a Sully Erna Les Paul Studio with – get this – a built-in flanger. I love this rarely-seen-these-days idea, and I hope it’ll make its way into more guitars. In fact, I’m pretty amazed that a Tube Screamer-style overdrive circuit isn’t a standard feature in pretty much every guitar at this point. The Sully Erna model is very distinctively a Godsmack/Sully axe, with its huge pearlescent sun logo, double-star 12th-fret inlay and moon-and-star headstock inlay, so it’s probably only going to appeal to Godsmack fans, but if you happen to dig it on its own merits, I think it’s well worth checking out. Continue reading
Gibson’s 50s and 60s Studio Tribute series is a kind of odd one. They’re not exact recreations of actual models, but rather they tap into the spirit of instruments from that era, with lower-cost satin finishes and less ornamentation. But the 50s and 60s Tributes I’ve played have been great guitars, especially the 60s Studio Tribute Les Paul I reviewed a while ago. Now Gibson is releasing the 70s Studio Tribute line containing three models: a Les Paul, an SG and a Firebird. These models aren’t based on actual 70s guitars (no Norlin-era pancake construction, thankfully!) but they’re cool axes in their own right, and each features newly designed Dual Blade Alnico Mini Humbuckers.
On June 8 and 9, Julien’s Auctions are hosting an historic event: the sale of hundreds of personal items owned by the late great Les Paul (with proceeds going to the Les Paul Foundation). There’s some amazing stuff on offer, including:
Guitars used by Les in the 40s and 50s to test his inventions and ideas, including one of his famous ‘Klunkers.’
The key-changing harmonica rack Les invented when he was a child.
Dozen of Gibson Les Pauls: Studios, Orvilles, Historics and of course Les’s beloved Les Paul Recording models, including what is believed to be the first Les Paul Recording prototype.
Acoustic guitars including a late 30s or early 40s Kalamazoo archtop, 1968 Gibson L-48, 1927 Gibson L5, various Gibson Chet Atkins acoustics and many more.
Recording equipment, including tape machines, preamps, speakers, microphones (dating back to the 30s!) and mic stands.
Electronic equipment including multimeters, tube testers, power supplies, oscillators, and – good lord – several caches of miscellaneous tubes!
Some gorgeous mid-century furniture – Les had style!
Handwritten research notes into pickups.
A 1951 Fender ‘Nocaster’ signed on the back of the headstock by Leo Fender.
A Gibson EB-2 bass modified to be an 8-string.
A Hammond B-3 organ and two Leslie cabinets.
Fender Rhodes electric piano and speaker cabinet.
Vintage echo and vibrato effects.
Mickey Mantle signed baseball.
Acoustic wall panels hand-cut, stained, lacquered and mounted by Les himself.
Le’s recording and mixing console which still features hand-written channel strip names.
Christmas cards between Les and Mary Ford.
Scripts for 24 episodes of the Les Paul and Mary Ford Show.
A hat given to Les by Slash.
A custom Peavey Wolfgang – a gift from Eddie Van Halen.
But there’s so so so much more. See the full catalog here. And when taken together, these items tell a real story, a true story, about the development of recording and guitar as we know it. There’s equipment used in developing the first ever multi-track recordings, in-progress guitar experiments which led to refinements and features we still use today, and historic pieces of studio equipment which provide an absolutely invaluable link back to recording’s past. And that’s before you even begin to consider the personal items of a man who is destined to be remembered as someone who changed the world.
So what’s going to happen to all of this stuff? Undoubtedly, collectors are going to snap up some key pieces and have some really, really lovely things for their respective walls. But what I’d really love to see is for someone, some well-heeled, well-meaning person or organisation, perhaps, to invest heavily in this auction and keep as much of it together as possible to establish a Les Paul museum. Wouldn’t you just love to some day go to a place where you can see Les’s own recording studio, his personal Les Pauls, various in-progress inventions which give you insight into his creative mind, and keepsakes, awards, membership cards, letters and personal items that remind us all that this was also a husband, a father, a son, a man who knew the value in an idea and the importance of following through with your dreams? A place to reflect on what’s possible when one inspired individual puts their mind to it and never lets go of an idea. I think Les’s life is an incredibly inspiring story, one that should be celebrated and passed on, and always remembered. And keeping this collection together in a museum is the ideal way to do that.
Below is a press release about the auction.
You may remember this post from last week, where I pondered the need for a Les Paul for work-related purposes. I’ve always felt a little bit uncomfortable with not having a Les Paul when writing reviews: the LP is a standard (pardon the pun) and it just didn’t feel right reviewing amps without being able to explore what they sounded like with a chunk of mahogany, a slab of maple and a pair of humbuckers. And it would certainly help in pickup reviews, lesson articles for Gibson.com and my column in Mixdown to have a nice LP on hand. So yesterday I visited Sky Music here in Melbourne and tried out a whole bunch of Les Pauls to find The One.
Hey folks. I think it’s time I got myself a Les Paul for work purposes (pickup reviews and demos, pics for my Gibson.com articles and Mixdown magazine column, stuff like that). And I thought I might throw it open to see if you can recommend a particular model to me. I can’t afford a super-mega expensive top shelf model right now (unless someone buys a whole bunch of ads), but I think that for my particular requirements I need a traditional-sounding mahogany body/maple top Les Paul with two full-sized humbuckers and traditional Les Paul ‘two volumes, two tones and a toggle switch’ wiring. Although I play a lot of Ibanez guitars with very thin necks, I quite like thick guitar necks too.
Here are a few I’m thinking of, each of which meets my requirements in terms of body woods and electronics configurations. Can you suggest any others or offer your opinion? Leave a comment below or here on the I Heart Guitar Facebook page.
I’ve really liked the other Tribute models I’ve played, and Satin Honeybust looks pretty tasty.
So here’s something I’m really proud of: Seymour Duncan has just made me their Assistant Social Media Coordinator. As part of the job, I get to write cool blog posts like this one about the problem of ‘wolf tones.’ You might also dig this Tone Fiend article by Joe Gore about the versatile and mysterious Jimmy Page-style Les Paul wiring. If you’ve got a Les Paul or similar, give it a try! I know I will when I eventually buy a Les Paul (like this Les Paul Traditional in Iced Tea).
By the way, the pickups in the photo above are the Gus G FIRE Blackouts in my battered old Ibanez RG370. I really dig how these pickups have given the guitar a new lease on life (along with a killer fret job from Soxy Music). See my review of them here.
Wow, how’s this for a piece of music history? The actual 1961 Gibson Les Paul (before this shape was renamed the SG) owned and played by Mary Ford, Les Paul’s wife. This guitar was recently featured on the History Channel’s Pawn Stars program. The back of the guitar still has the remains of an old setlist taped to it. The buyer will also get Mary’s guitar strap, the original hard shell case, photos of Les and Mary, personal letters including correspondence with personal assistants, doctors, record companies etc, and even – get this a letter where Les Paul is told not to sign a contract with Gibson.
If you’d like to take home this piece of music history, the Buy It Now price is a cool $250,000.
Whoa! Okay, so in 1980 a cargo plane crashed, with Peter Frampton’s legendary three-pickup Gibson Les Paul on board. The guitar was presumed lost forever.
Frampton says: “I am still in a state of shock, first off, that the guitar even exists let alone, that it has been returned to me. I know I have my guitar back, but I will never forget the lives that were lost in this crash. I am so thankful for the efforts of those who made this possible… and now that it is back I am going insure it for 2 million dollars and it’s never going out of my sight again! It was always my #1 guitar and it will be reinstated there as soon as possible – some minor repairs are needed. And, I just can’t wait to get Mark Mariana on the phone.”
More info here!