Eric Clapton’s original 1960 Les Paul Standard is legendary for not one, but several significant reasons. Clapton’s playing on John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers’ Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton album of 1966 (forever after known as “The Beano Album” because Clapton himself was reading a Beano comic book in the LP’s cover photo) is seminal blues-rock — searing, dynamic and ferocious. While anonymous street artists famously scrawled “Clapton is God” on the walls and train stations of London, the virtuosic ex-Yardbird brought the mighty sunburst Les Paul roaring back to popular music. One listen to the creamy, yet biting snarl of Clapton’s playing on tracks like “Hideaway,” “Double Crossin’ Time,” or “Key to Love,” and countless guitarists the world over were instantly turned on to the power of this rare, and previously under-appreciated, Gibson solidbody electric guitar. Read more
Just over a week ago I had the chance to visit the Orlando International Guitar & Music Expo 2012. That’s fancy-talk for ‘guitar show’. If you’re not familiar with what a guitar show is then try thinking of it this way – we all get the concept of a convention or conference for business professionals – a big room with various vendor booths showing off the latest products (expo hall) and there are usually some speakers/presenters teaching or otherwise discussing the latest industry news, etc. Well, other than NAMM, guitar shows are the closest thing to a business convention that we players, collectors and all-around guitar lovers have for our favorite subject!
While some of the largest guitar shows may offer special ‘clinics’ (training sessions are often sponsored by a manufacturer hoping to show you why you need to buy their latest products) not all guitar shows will offer much in the way of training. However, what they ALL do have in common is their version of the ‘vendor expo hall’ where guitar dealers bring lots of cool (and often vintage) guitars, amps, effects and more hoping to sell/trade them to/with show attendees. In other words, it’s a lot like a big flea market for guitar and music gear! And for the guitar lover it sure beats just about any other kind of shopping experience since you have so many cool old guitars under one roof. I’ll take a guitar show over going to the mall with my wife any day! Read more
On January 12, 2011, the Jackson Browne Signature Gibson acoustic guitar was unveiled at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) winter show in Anaheim, California. Hearkening back to Gibson’s revered Roy Smeck models of the 1930′s, Browne’s baby took the better part of a decade to complete, as he went back and forth throughout the process with the Gibson Montana Acoustic Master Shop up in Bozeman, Montana. Read more
If you want a guitar that has a good sound and won’t leave you begging on the street for spare change, the Epiphone Les Paul is a popular choice. But one of the ongoing questions is whether there’s difference between those Made In China and the guitars Made In Korea and which you should be looking at buying. Read more
Though the Nashville flood is long behind us on the calendar, for many of us it is still fresh in our minds and hearts. The damage is done, the cleanup is all but finished, and things are back to where they should be, for the most part. Hell, Gibson is still rockin’ and rollin’ just as hard as they ever were. As you may or may not remember, Gibson’s Nashville plant was hit especially hard in the flood, laying waste to every guitar they had, including some hall-of-famer guitars. Read more
Alex Lifeson is known to have played a tremendous number and variety of guitars throughout his career, and even on one record – in the making of Rush’s 2002 release, Vapor Trails, Lifeson used 50 different guitars and, for the first time in years, no keyboards whatsoever.
Now, Lifeson has teamed up with the good folks at Gibson, releasing his signature model Gibson Custom Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess. In some ways, Lifeson goes back to his roots with this guitar; in others, he uses it to summarize a lifetime of playing and recording experience.
Lifeson started out playing a Gibson ES-335 for Rush’s first four albums, switching to a Les Paul (blasted through a Marshall stack) during the seminal 2112 Tour. By the early 1980s he was playing custom-built Fender Stratocasters, with a Bill Lawrence humbucker in the bridge position, almost exclusively. He rotated through four such Fenders – all with Floyd Rose locking tremolos – until 1986, when he switched to his own brand, Signature Guitars. For use in the studio, where time is money, it’s an understandable decision since anyone would be more familiar (and no doubt more comfortable) working with a guitar of one’s own design. Read more
Gibson Guitars — Way back in 1961 when the SG Standard temporarily replaced the Les Paul Standard in the Gibson line up, few were aware that a future icon of rock guitar was being introduced to the scene. Originally called the “Les Paul/SG“, this radical, double-cutaway electric with two dramatic asymmetrical pointed “horns” and a thin all-mahogany body was worlds away from the single-cutaway maple and mahogany Les Paul that it replaced. It proved to have similar power, punch and versatility, but also expressed a voice all its own, one that has grabbed many heavy rock and metal players in particular, alongside countless classic rock and blues artists. By the time the single-cutaway Les Paul returned in the late ’60s, the SG Standard was already a legend, and had forever claimed its place in rock history. Read more
Randy Rhoads fans, here’s some unseen video footage that recently surfaced. As a huge Randy Rhoads‘ fan, whenever some unseen audio or video is discovered, it’s like finding the Holy Grail. And so it is, apparently, with the below video of Randy Rhoads performing an extended (7:50) solo from 1979 with his former band, Quiet Riot. Read more
Gibson Gear — a division of Gibson Guitar, announced the availability of Gibson Historic Spec guitar parts available exclusively through authorized dealers. Because of the overwhelming demand, Gibson Gear has added several new historic parts which have never been offered before to their product line. These new products range from a Historic Potentiometer, Historic Toggle Switch Cap, Historic Knob Pointers, Historic Output Jack, Historic Toggle Switch Washer, Historic ’61 Truss Rod Cover, Historic Non-Wire ABR-1 Bridge, Historic Spec Bumble Bee Capacitors, and the ever popular ’57 Classic Humbucker with 4-Conductor Wiring. Gibson Gear’s Historic Parts are directly based on the original specs of guitars used by such greats as Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, and Lenny Kravitz. Read more
Seventy years after his birth and three decades after his untimely passing, John Lennon’s message of peace continues to touch the masses, and his songs still resonate in the hearts and minds of fans around the world. At the request of Yoko Ono, Gibson Acoustic is very proud to offer three 70th Anniversary John Lennon J-160E acoustic guitars to celebrate the legacy of this extraordinary artist. Accordingly, only a very limited number of these handmade acoustics will ever be available. Read more