I learned today that Gibson is finally going to sell a replica of Peter Green’s 1959 Les Paul. I read they are only going to make 50 of them and I have to assume the price will be somewhere in the six figures. Maybe if I sell all of my blood or something I might be able to afford one.
1959 Les Pauls are generally considered the best Les Pauls, and many believe that Green’s ’59 is the best ’59.
When Green left Fleetwood Mac in 1970 he sold Greeny to Gary Moore for whatever money Moore happed to have in his pocket. Moore used it throughout his whole career (pretty sure the god-like, epic solo on “Still Got the Blues” was played on Greenie). If I follow the story correctly, and I could be wrong, when Moore’s health started to fail he sold Greenie to a collector. I’m not 100% sure of that, but that’s what I heard. Eventually someone offered it to Metalica’s Kirk Hammett for a sum of money that I once heard him refer to as not as much as you’d expect, but I gotta imagine it was pretty vast.
There is a flaw in Greenie that gives it its unique sound. The polarity of the magnet in the neck pickup is reversed so when you use both pickups together they are out of phase. I once heard Gary Moore tell a story of a guitar tech who “fixed it” for him without realizing that it was the source of the magic. Obviously Mr Moore flipped out and made the tech put it back the way it was. Fortunately the Magic was still there.
I think I am going to go listen to “Still Got the Blues” while daydreaming about owning one of the copies.
Prior to the 50th birthday super gift, a new Les Paul Standard 50s, I was thinking about the future, post Covid and post college bills, where I was going to modify the shit out of my ’78 Les Paul Custom. I was going to go full blown boutique, cork sniffing snob on it. I was going to find the best sounding clones of original Gibson PAFs possible and put them in, and replace the wiring with a 50’s style harness and basically try and make my Custom as 1950’s-ish as possible.
Now that I have the shiny, wonderful new Standard, I’ve changed my plans to updating the holy hell out of the Standard and leave the Custom alone (except for the frets… and maybe the wiring harness). The question then is, do I try to turn my guitar into a modern knock off of a Les Paul from the late 50’s, or do I go for a modern knock off of Peter Green’s Les Paul?
I don’t know. What if I go for Peter Green and decided I don’t like the out of phase stuff? boutique, cork sniffing pick ups are expensive. I don’t want to have to play this game twice.
So we’re being goofy on the youtubes today, checking out some pick ups. I am going to say without a doubt that I will not be buying a set of Monty’s Guitars Bethnal Green PAFs. Partly because they don’t seem to be available yet, and also partly because the website makes me think they won’t be available in the US. That’s okay though. Let’s file this under research and Gear Acquisition Syndrome and just being a totally unabashed guitar nerd.
ADDENDUM: So I wrote the post while watching the video for the first time. After I published the video mentioned that you can buy them from Andertons if you’re in the US, and it’s not that they aren’t available yet, it’s that they are making them in small quantities and running out.
I keep looking for the upside to streaming music services. Apple music is nice because I can add tracks that I don’t physically own to playlists made up of tracks I do own. That’s cool. Also not having to buy individual records is okay, I guess, but for bands I really care about I still do. So that’s a wash I guess.
The real upside though is browsing. Assuming the service you are using has a wide enough catalog, you can dig into things that years ago you wouldn’t have exposed yourself too for whatever reason. Personal case in point, Peter Green. I knew him by reputation and a small handful of Fleetwood Mac songs, but that was it. A couple of nights ago I was poking around on Spotify and stumbled on a multi-disc compilation of his music. I gave it a spin and really liked it. So what other British blues guitarists did I over look when I was a kid that I can give a chance today? Rory Gallagher came to mind. Good stuff. Maybe not quite as good as his contemporaries, but I liked what I heard a lot. Gary Moore? Sure. I remember back in 1990 holding the Still Got the Blues record in my hand and wondering whether or not I should just buy it. I never did. I’ve listened to a lot of it now. I should have bought it back then.
So I’m thinking… blues guitarists… 1980’s-ish… who can I check on? I know, Robert Cray. I liked him back then, but I never came to really like him. You know what I mean? I found a compilation record and started listening. Holy Shit! This is SO much better than I remembered! Even the songs I knew, “Smoking Gun” and “Phonebooth” and a couple others are way better than I remembered. Why wasn’t “Smoking Gun” the biggest hit ever? This song rules! Is it possible that my tastes changed between the ages of 15 and 45?
I might be starting to come around on the whole streaming music thing, even though I know in my soul that they are screwing artists left and right. Call me conflicted.