Tuesday, January 10, 2006

GuitArt - The Guitar Calendar - "White Magic"

White Magic:
This is my 1989 white 3-pickup Gibson Les Paul Custom. It has an almost magical ability to sustain a note (because of it’s extreme weight - it's over 13 lbs), and it is a very powerful rock guitar. I use this when I want a really powerful, commanding sound. I have sometimes called this sound “The Voice of God” (no blasphemy intended.) I also joke to my friends that when you play this one plugged straight into the Marshall amp, you have to spread your legs apart “to allow for testicular expansion….”

Given that there are millions of Les Pauls out there since 1953, and given that is one of the most popular guitars of all time, you wouldn’t think this true, but in fact, in 40 years, I have never actually seen another white 3-pickup Les Paul of any model. White Les Pauls are rare themselves, and 3-pickups are extremely rare, and I’ve never seen the combination of the two things - especially as a Les Paul Custom with all the extra binding and abalone inlay work, before or since this one.

The reason I bought this one in 2000, was because I missed my old one. I had originally bought a white Les Paul Custom (a 2-pickup model) back in 1973. These were rare. I had never seen a white one and I lusted after it as soon as I saw it in the store. I bought it for about $850 – all the money I could manage to save from working at the pizza store for a year. I treasured this. I even became somewhat relatively well known as a guitar player partly because of that guitar. Even if people didn’t remember my name, they remembered me as ‘The guy with the white Les Paul”. It was a striking guitar. I shaved the back of the neck to make the neck thinner to better fit my hand. I eventually sold it to a young guy named Zakk with long blonde hair for $500.
Then years later, when I moved to Dallas, I saw a 73 Les Paul Custom in black hanging on the wall in the guitar center and the price on it was $25,000. I kicked myself for getting rid of mine – especially for only $500.
Then after that I saw in a catalog a special white Les Paul with a shaved neck left as raw wood – exactly like my old one, but it had circles painted on it to look like a target. It was a signature guitar for a now famous guitar player who played with Ozzie Osbourne, and now has his own famous band, Black Label Society. His name is Zakk Wilde. I have often wondered if that’s the same Zakk that I sold my Les Paul to, and if my original Les Paul eventually became the famous Zakk Wilde model referred to as “The Grail”. The original Grail guitar became legendary among heavy metal fans. I guess there is a chance that was my guitar originally. Here is a link to Zakk Wilde's website: http://www.zakkwylde.com/nwwd/mafia3.htm The official Zakk Wilde Guitars, speakers, strings, amps, and even custom chopper motorcycles.

I really missed that old les Paul and so eventually, I saved up my money and looked on eBay until I found this, and this one is even better than my original one that I sold to Zakk. A collector had it along with a white ES-335 built specially by Gibson in 1989 and had kept it in pristine condition in a case for 11 years. I bought it and now it is a treasured member of my little collection. And a nostalgic reminder of the old days when I was a teenager playing with all those bands, and when I began as a professional guitar player. I remember all the adventures I had on the road. There is a lot of energy and memories and power and magic in this guitar. Hence the name.


At 3/14/2006 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came across your site while doing a search for custom built motorcycles. You have a very cool site! If you would like to find custom built motorcycles at auction prices, check this link out. Some great deals!


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