All too often, Bob Marley’s legacy seems to have been relegated to little more than his poster on the wall of a student bedsit, gazing through a fug of marijuana smoke with only Che Guevara for company. There might even be a copy of Legend on the stereo, but don’t count on it.
Plenty has been written about Robert Nesta Marley the man, the artist, but not enough about his guitar playing. As a Wailer, Marley was the rock solid rhythm foundation for Peter Tosh’s exploratory lead playing, best witnessed here. He might be playing a Strat in that sublime clip but it’s the heavily-modified Les Paul Junior that Gibson released a limited edition replica of in 2002 with which he’s best identified.
Currently residing in the Bob Marley museum in Kingston, Jamaica, Marley added fretboard and headstock binding to the guitar along with a stop tailpiece, aluminium pickguard and pickup selector surround to obtain that distinctive look.