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© Jorge Dirkx/epa/Corbis
Books have been written about Neil Young’s long and eclectic career, and so too, tomes could be devoted to the Les Paul that has remained his essential axe since the early '70s: Old Black.
Despite its name, Old Black is a 1953 goldtop that received its paint job before Young took possession of it. (He traded one-time fellow Buffalo Springfield member Jim Messina a Gretsch for it - who got the better of that deal?)
Old Black has received numerous mods over the years, including a Bigsby tremolo, a ‘chrome-on-brass’ pickguard and backplates and a bridge position Firebird pickup (the guitar still features its original P-90 neck pickup).
A brutal, instinctive player, famous for scorching, minimalist solos, Young has used Old Black on classic cuts such as Cinnamon Girl, Down By The River and Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black).
Check out this video in which he gives Old Black what-for while performing A Day In The Life with Paul McCartney.