Poet . . . prophet . . . musician . . . Bob Marley was many things to many people, and the instrument he played is as unique as he was. Painstaking research and detailing was done using Bob’s original Les Paul Special to create this model, and the consensus is that this is one of the most spectacular additions to the Gibson Custom Shop’s Signature Series of guitars. Aged-cherry finish on a solid mahogany body, mahogany neck, and genuine P-90 single-coil pickups generate that inimitable Marley tone. Bound fingerboard and overbound headstock plus aged hardware including aluminum pickguard, football-shaped switch plate, brass nut, lightweight aluminum tailpiece, and Mini-Schaller tuners add up to a magical likeness of the original. Rosewood fretboard, 24-3/4″ scale length, and 1-11/16″ nut width. Includes hardshell case, certificate, Custom Care Kit, and display case.
Bob’s Gibson Les Paul Special had the football shaped pickup switch surround and aluminium pickguard installed by famed music tech Roger Meyer in 79. At the same time Roger made some effects pedals for Junior I think. I believe he was a friend of Juniors. I think Roger gave the guitar a complete overhaul at that stage.
I don’t know who made the early 70s mods to the guitar (big white switch surround etc). If you look at footage from about 73, when Bob appears to have got the Gibson (prior to then, for example the 72 Old Grey Whistle Test, Bob seemed to use a Fender Stratocaster), you can see that it was in the original configuration with small black surround etc. So it appears to have been modified twice while in Bob’s possession. Not surprising, it was used a lot, and would have needed some repairs from time to time.
The last mods occurred mid to late 79 I think. They were there on the late 79 dates such as Santa Barbara, but on the April 79 Japan/NZ/Australia/Hawaii tour, the guitar had not had those mods done. Interestingly, on the NZ date, Junior, Al, and Fams all used Yamaha instruments. According to James Wilson they were given to the Wailers by the President of Yamaha. Pictures of Japan dates show that on some of those dates Bob himself used a Yamaha instead of his Gibson.
Fams seems to have used his Yamaha up until the Gabon dates in the beginning of 80, but by the Uprising tour was using his Fender Jazz again. Junior appears to have used his Yamaha a bit longer, see for example the Sunsplash 79 footage. I don’t think Al used the Yamaha for long.
Don’t know why Junior & Al used their Yamahas for such a short time; at the time they were state of the art and are now regarded as classics. They were the equal of the Strats & Les Pauls that both Al & Junior seemed to alternate from date to date.
As noted in previous postings, Gibson has produced a Bob signature model, following the specs of the last incarnation of his guitar, for those with lots of cash to spare.
* Aged-cherry finish
* Solid mahogany body
* Mahogany neck
* P-90 single-coil pickups
* Bound fingerboard and overbound headstock
* Aged hardware
* Aluminum pickguard
* Football-shaped switch plate
* Brass nut
* Aluminum tailpiece
* Mini-Schaller tuners
* Rosewood fretboard
* 24-3/4″ scale length
* 1-11/16″ nut width
* Body wood: Solid mahogany
* Binding: N/A
* Available left-handed: No
* Finish Colors: Aged Cherry by Tom Murphy Neck:
* Neck construction: 1-piece mahogany
* Fingerboard wood: 22 fret rosewood
* Inlays: Pearloid small block
* Binding: Aged single-ply cream
* *Other: Overbound headstock
* Profile: Rounded
* Scale length/Nut width: 24 3/4″; 1 11/16″
* *Other: Brass nut
* Strings: Brite Wires .010-.046 Electronics & Hardware:
* Pickups: P-90 single coils
* Controls: 2 volume, 2 tone, 3-way switch
* Hardware color: Aged nickel
* Bridge/Tailpiece: ABR-1/Stopbar
* *Other: Aged aluminum pickguard and football-shaped switchwasher
* Tuner style: Mini-Schaller
* Collateral: Custom Shop case, Wall-hanging display case with Lion of Judah backdrop, Bob Marley Certificate of Authenticity, Bob Marley T-shirt, Custom Care Kit
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