Derek Trucks’ 2011 Gibson Dickey Betts SG (Artist Proof #4)
Derek’s main guitar from around 2011 has been the Gibson Dickey Betts SG, which is Gibson’s limited edition replica of the guitar that Dickey Betts gave to Duane Allman during their playing days together. If you want to learn more about the original guitar, be sure to check out our Duane Allman gear page – Duane Allman’s 1961 Gibson SG / Les Paul.\
Derek received this guitar as a gift from Galadrielle Allman, Duane’s daughter, and he has been using it as his main live and studio guitar ever since.
It was like brother to brother, the Duane/Dickey [artist proof] guitar. I think this is number four. Duane Allman’s daughter, Galadrielle, gave this to me when they copied Duane’s SG. They relic’d the heck out of it. It’s an extremely light SG. All of them are. The lightness is pretty great.Guitar magazine, June 2019
Artist Proof #4
The guitar is labeled as “Artist Proof #4” on the back of the headstock, which would mean that this was one of the pre-production models. Usually, there would be a few of these made, before the design was finalized and sent off to the regular line.
In this case, however, only 75 of the Dickey Betts SG were ever made, and it’s unclear whether Derek’s guitar (and the rest of the Artist Proof models) count among these. At the time of writing this, there are two Dickey Betts SGs on Reverb for sale, one is an “Artist Proof #8” and the other is simply labeled as “2” and signed personally by Dickey Betts.
It seems then that the number 75 could only refer to the models that were personally signed by Dickey, and that there are more of these guitars out there, and these are labeled as “Artist Proof” models. Perhaps these were given to Dickey and Duane’s family.
Also, it could be important to mention that Derek’s guitar reads “Artist Proof #004” in black marker, while the guitar in the photo above reads “Artist Proof #8”, without the zeros, in white marker.
In any case, a mail to Gibson was sent, and this page will be updated with any new information regarding this as soon as possible.
According to Derek, he experimented with different pickups in this guitar. Originally, this guitar came with two humbucking pickups, which were of course installed to replicate the sound of an original ’61 SG on which this guitar was based.
From Derek’s interview with Guitar magazine in 2019, it sounds like he replaced the original pickups with a pair of PAFs at some point, but it is unknown when exactly.
We’ve been messing with the pickups on this one quite a bit, and maybe the volume pots were changed too. We had a pair of PAFs in there for a while, and a friend of ours, Thomas Nilson(opens in new tab), wound these pickups. They’re based on a guitar I played called Spot, a ’59 Les Paul [once owned by Joe Bonamassa]. They are unwaxed, unpotted pickups.Guitar magazine, June 2019
Visually, the pickups remained pretty much the same until around 2019, when Derek either removed the metal cover from the bridge humbucker or completely replaced it. From then on, sometime by mid-2019 he removed both pickups and installed a pair of Thomas Nilson humbuckers. These were at first exposed, white with no metal covers, but by 2020 they had metal covers. Again, it’s unclear whether these were the same pickups now with covers or a completely different set.
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