The Gibson guitar is an icon of ‘70s rock, especially the shapes of the legendary Les Paul and SG. As a proud owner of a 25th Anniversary Les Paul, it was not only a dream for me to own one, over the years it has also become the best investment I have ever made.
Many of us fail to appreciate that the brand had its humble beginnings in 1894, when a restaurant clerk by the name of Orville Gibson carved guitars with arch top designs similar to that of the violin. The Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company was formed on October 10, 1902.
Laurie Sellers began playing guitar in 1959 at the age of 11. From his roots in the 60s and 70s Laurie has researched and gathered together an assortment of vintage and collectable guitars, including some interesting instruments inspired by the iconic rock legends of the time. We asked Laurie if he would share his passion with you by showcasing one of his guitars in each edition, and telling the story behind it.
There are three guitars that come to mind when I think of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page: the Gibson SG Double Neck as used on Stairway to Heaven, the Fender Telecaster used on the first Zep album, but mostly Jimmy’s favourite guitar, a 1959 Gibson Les Paul, bought from Joe Walsh in 1969.
The first series of Jimmy Page Limited Edition guitars was produced by Gibson, from mid 1995 to 1998, as a replica of his favourite instrument. Fortunately, the example that found its way into my collection is an early one made in 1995.
This project began with Gibson’s luthiers measuring and analysing every aspect of Jimmy’s 1959 Les Paul. They discovered heavy customising and unique characteristics, including an unusual hand carved neck profile that is thinner at the 7th fret than the first, whilst becoming fatter at the 12th fret again; and modified electronics allowing each of the four control knobs, two volume and two tone, to be pulled out or pushed in, enabling some extraordinary tone options.