The Gibson ES-355 that broke up Oasis sells for £325,000 – but it's not the Noel Gallagher guitar his forthcoming 355 signature model is based on

Noel Gallagher
(Image credit: Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images)

Don't touch the guitar. "I've got a pretty long fuse and thick skin until the day that I haven't," Noel Gallagher told the BBC's Mark Lawson in 2012. "It was a gradual thing that had gone on for most of that tour, it was just a lot of personal insults, but not to my face. My missus was getting brought into it through no fault of her own… but the final straw was he kind of slung a guitar around the dressing room." 


The repaired 1960 Gibson ES-355 that recently sold at auction (Image credit: Artpèges)

Even without its infamous providence as that final straw in the Gallagher brothers' fractious relationship that split Oasis backstage in 2009, Noel's 1960 Gibson ES-355 had some history with the band; used extensively though the band's tour in support of the Dig Out Your Soul album, and reportedly features in the video for Be Her Now single Stand By Me. But the damage it would later sustain in the argument on 28 August 2009 before Oasis took the stage at the Rock en Seine festival in Paris immediately resulted in Noel walking out from the venue, and the band he'd been the creative force behind since 1991. 

It also surely added additional value when it sold on 17 May after being put up for auction last month, in Paris of all places, for €385,500 (£325,000).

Noel had the guitar restored by Philippe Dubreuille in 2011 but the relationship between the Gallagher brothers is still splintered. He'd use it for his next creative chapter, the solo career / band that is High Flying Birds.  

The guitar was part of an auction by  Artpèges at the Hôtel Drouot. The sale included the guitar's original case and a note from Noel that signed “Peace, love and bananas”.

Artpèges call the guitar 'Noel Gallagher's favourite instrument between 1996 to 2011' but whether he agreed to be parted with the instrument in the first place to jettison any emotional baggage is unclear, but we do know it's not his number 1 ES-355 nowadays. That instrument is his number 1 electric guitar, period, and will form the basis of his first Gibson electric signature model, following last year's limited SJ-150 acoustic run, and it's coming in August if Noel's recent post on Instagram is anything to go by. But what exactly are its origins? 

I’m in awe of the guitar

This is Noel's original 1960 ES-355 that he purchased in the late '90s, and has been his main stage/performing guitar since the early 00s. It's a signature model based on this guitar he's worked with Gibson on. And we know it's fitted with a Varitone switch, and has a Bigsby like the auctioned guitar. 

"Usually, I just pick my 1960s Gibson 355 - that's the basis for everything," he told us in 2011. And Noel went even further to express his love for the guitar when he spoke to Premier Guitar in 2015; "My 1960 ES-355 is the greatest guitar I’ve ever played. It can do anything, and it’s become a part of me. [Ex-Smiths guitarist] Johnny Marr no less picked it up in the studio, then looked like a startled wizard because of how great the guitar is," he explained. 

"I got the 355 a while back for £4,000, and it’s the best £4,000 pounds I’ve ever spent," he revealed. "I’ve taken the guitar on four or five world tours and beat the living daylights out of it, but it still sounds and plays incredible. I’m in awe of the guitar. I put it second to my wife only because I can have sex with her. If I could have sex with that guitar, I’m not sure which I’d choose."

If ever a signature model was required it's here. And we can't wait to see the finished result. 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.