Now, you have a few Les Pauls, but this is the main one, the ‘68.
“There are two, and they’re virtually identical. It turns out that it’s a very unusual and a very rare one. I bought them both within a couple of years, used, and I had no idea that this was a tiny, limited-production run in a six-month period in 1968. I didn’t discover until late last year that the guitar was made from the 1959 Les Paul guitar run parts. They stopped making the guitar, and 1959 was the last year they made the parts, the necks and bodies. It was too expensive to make. When they took it off the market, they stored all the parts until 10 years later, roughly, when they decided, ‘Well, maybe we shouldn’t have stopped making Les Pauls.’
“They went back into production, and the first ones they made were from those 1959 parts. So my guitars, both of them, are an unlikely, just chance happening. That I should find two Goldtop Les Pauls that are both from that batch – I had no idea. I thought they were like every other Les Paul they were selling at that time in the mid-‘70s in music stores. But they weren’t – the necks are completely different.
“I was very shocked to find out, a few years later, when I tried to find a backup guitar, that I couldn’t. There was no backup guitar that felt anything like these guitars. They had completely changed the neck. So I got these two guitars, they’re virtually identical, and the one that they modeled the signature model after is basically the one I recorded the first album with.”
On recordings, are there any other guitars you use, a Strat or Tele, say, for some flavor here and there?
“No, I don’t use any other guitars on recordings. On a rare occasion, I keep a Jackson with a tremolo bar for the odd thing that requires a T-bar. But even then, I avoid it pretty much at all costs. I will even dramatically tune down a note and bend it up to do the ‘make-believe’ tremolo by hand. I did get in the habit, when I play live, of keeping the guitar tuned a little flat, so that when I do vibrato and so forth, I can control the pitch of the strings and not always have them going sharp. It does mean that I have to sometimes be cognizant and sometimes pull the neck sharp when it’s important. But I don’t really use the T-bar, so I keep the Jackson for the once-in-a-while thing.”