The BB King “Live At The Regal” ES-335 is a semi-hollow high-end electric guitar launched in tribute to one of the King of the Blues’ finest moments, his 1964 set in the Chicago theatre of the same name, which was released as a live recording the following year and would become one of the greatest blues albums of all time – and one of the greatest live albums for that matter.
Live At The Regal captured BB King’s bonhomie and playing vibrato at its finest. Can this guitar make you sound like him? Well, there’s the rub. Who could sound like him? Could it make you sound like the best blues player you could be? It must stand a chance.
At £8,799 / $9,999 street, you’d hope it would add a little something extra to those blues box excursions as you work that tension between major and minor pentatonics.
As the name suggests it is built to replicate the 1959 ES-335 BB King used on the night, and has a more subdued aesthetic to his other Gibson signature guitars, with a sunburst finish that is described as Argentine Grey, a lesser-spotted finish from the Gibson brand that sure looks good on a semi-hollow that is meticulously designed to sell the illusion that this is a time-capsule instrument.
The guitar has a body comprised of three-ply poplar and maple on the top, back and sides, with single-ply cream binding to body and fretboard. A solid maple centre block will help tame feedback. An Authentic ’59 Medium C-shape mahogany neck will give you something to hold onto when leaning into those bends.
The neck is topped with an Indian rosewood fingerboard, featuring 22 reissue frets and nitro dot inlays, a 12” radius and 24.75” scale length as standard. There is an ABR-1 bridge with a 1950s Reissue Bigsby B7 Vibrato, Grover ‘Milk Bottle’ Rotomatic tuners, both in aged nickel, with True Historic Gold Top Hat control knobs with Dial Pointers.
A pair of unpotted Custombuckers occupy the bridge and neck positions, with a three-way pickup selector mounted just southeast of the bridge by the multi-ply black pickguard, a mono Varitone switch is mounted on a black washer in the usual place, and offers a plethora of different tones.
Gibson has used CTS pots, Switchcraft jacks and switches, and there are all the details you would expect from a Murphy Lab instrument. The “Live At The Regal” ES-335 ships in a Custom Shop Lifton hardshell guitar case, inside which you’ll find a certificate of authenticity. Only 100 of these will be made. For more details, head over to Gibson.