Posted on 31st May 2012 @ 9:43 AM
ROCK ROYALTY visits Sounds Great Music… well almost!
So when one such instrument turned up for a visit at South Manchester guitar specialist Sounds Great Music this week, the few lucky customers to be in store and the staff were out in force to witness a unique piece of rock’n’roll history. In the world of music there can be few better claims to Rock Royalty status than the likes of Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, and Keith Richards. In the world of guitars it’s the instruments they have owned and played that take on an aura all of their own. When such an instrument is also a priceless 1959 Gibson Les Paul with a documented provenance dating back over 56 years, guitar lovers go weak at the finger joints just thinking about it.
The current owner was himself a successful recording artist in the 60’s and acquired the Guitar as an emergency purchase from a London retailer when all of their own gear was stolen from a van between gigs!
The shop had bought the guitar from Mick Taylor a couple of days earlier and it seemed like a good buy at the time. 50 years later it just might have been the buy of the century with Sounds Great vintage guitar specialists finding it difficult to put a realistic value on the instrument at less than £250,000! Phil Lyon who founded Sounds Great Music in 1977 and just celebrated his 75th Birthday in the shop was delighted to see such an instrument in store and said, “We have seen many world famous artists visit us over the last 35 years, usually to buy instruments when they are performing in the North West, but we don’t get many coming back, so when an instrument with such a clear documented photographic history visits us, it’s a bit special and proof that like me a good instrument just gets better with age!”
Demetrius from the guitar department at Sounds Great and has known the owner for many years. He was delighted when he agreed to bring the priceless instrument to the store and excited to be given the chance to play it, following in the footsteps of the rock’n’roll A-Lister’s who have gone before.
The guitar, a Les Paul Standard was made by Gibson Guitars in America in 1959 and in any circumstances would be considered a rare and valuable instrument in its own right. But the unique patterns in the maple top three tone sunburst finish has made it easily identifiable when researching its photographic history when in the hands of Mick Taylor and Keith Richards in early Rolling Stones photographic archives.
This model was only manufactured between 1958 and 1961 but is still considered amongst the most desirable of Gibson’s instruments ever made. The instrument grew in popularity amongst the rock and blues players in the 60’s and 70’s and Gibson returned to making them in 1975 – the model is still available today. Sounds Great Music have recently been awarded the Gibson Custom Shop reseller accreditation, which includes the modern equivalent of this classic 59. “The modern custom shop Gibson’s are fantastic’” said Demetrius, “but this one in special, completely unique and incredibly valuable.”
Sadly the instrument is not for sale, and the current owner is happy to hold on to this piece of history for the foreseeable future, but who knows when and where the next priceless guitar will appear from? Maybe it’s in the hands of an as yet undiscovered artist who bought their current Gibson from Sounds Great Music in 2012.