Monday, September 19, 2011

Bob Marley's Les Paul Special

The Guitarist

Bob Marley, one of the most recognized and revered icons in the music world, was a multi-instrumentalist capable of playing various instruments such as the guitar, piano, saxophone, harmonica and percussion. Despite his untimely demise at the early age of 36 when untreated cancer spread to his lungs, his legacy in the form of raggae anthems such as "Buffalo Soldier", "No Woman No Cry", "Redemption Song", "I Shot The Sheriff", which was covered by Eric Clapton, and scores of other songs, plus his dedication to the Rastafari movement, lives on.

The Guitar

During live performances in his career spanning 1963 to 1981, he's often seen playing his Gibson Les Paul Special. Currently, this legendary guitar is kept and displayed at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica. Not surprisingly, the guitar is one of the most popular exhibits in display.

It has a solid mahogany body with a natural wood finish and sports a couple of P-90 soapbar pickups on the neck and bridge areas. Apparently, Marley modified his beloved guitar at some point by replacing the original wraparound tailpiece with a stoptail bridge. The guitar also had the recognizeable bindings on the headstock and fingerboard, with small pearl inlays in the fretboard.

In 2002, as a tribute to the man himself, prominent guitar company Gibson issued 200 limited-edition Bob Marley Les Paul Specials built to the exact specifications of the original Special used by Marley. Though it is acknowledged that no replica would ever come close to a guitar as unique as the one played by the reggae legend, I got an inkling that there won't be any complaints from collectors of Bob Marley paraphernalia about Gibson's faithful reproduction of the instrument.

Here's a classic video of Bob Marley playing with his legendary Les Paul Special, rocking out their upbeat reggae number "Jammin''" with the Wailers. Enjoy, mon!

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