Duane Allman’s 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard Cherry Burst

access_time First seen circa 1970

Duane traded this guitar in September 1970 with Stone Balloon’s guitarist Rick Stine for his Goldtop, a Marshall head, and $200 on top of that. His only condition was that he keeps the original PAF pickups from the Goldtop.[Duane Allman: Memories from his Friend, Joe Marshall]

The guitar featured plaint-top cherry sunburst finish, and no pickguard (as was preferred by Duane on all of his Les Pauls), but it did have both of the pickup covers. This comes as a surprise knowing that Duane’s Goldtop didn’t feature pickup covers, and the pickups on this guitar were taken directly from the Goldtop as part of the deal made between Duane and Rick Stine. It’s possible that Duane simply added them himself after swapping the pickups, but this certainly brings an element of confusion into the subject. It is also possible that the pickups were swapped from Duane second Goldtop which did have pickup covers, but that’s just a mere assumption.

Be that as it may, Duane played this guitar throughout the rest of his career, most notably on “At Fillmore East” live album recorded in 1971. After his death, it ended up with his common-law wife Donna Roosmann, and it was later given to Joey Marshall who had introduced Donna and Duane to each other and who took care of it until Duane’s daughter Galadrielle turned 21 years old [Galadrielle Allman, Please Be With Me, p. 119]. She still owns the guitar to this day, even though it is mostly kept at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum for safe keeping. The guitar’s serial number is 9-1988 [Tony Bacon: Sunburst, p. 68]

Duane can be seen playing the guitar at the Fillmore East on September 23rd 1970. Image source: YouTube
Duane can be seen playing the guitar at the Fillmore East on September 23rd, 1970. Image source: YouTube

Only recently the guitar has been put back to playable condition to be used during The Allman Brothers Band final show on October 28, 2014, at the Beacon Theater [The Allman Brothers Band – Playing Duane’s Guitars – “No One To Run With”]. The red accent on the finish has almost completely faded due to aging, and the pickup covers seem the have to been removed once again, which adds some more confusion the subject of what pickups were used on this guitar.

A more recent photo of Duane’s 1959 Gibson Les Paul. Photo credit rocor/Flickr

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Tom Halpin Recent comment authors
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Tom Halpin

This guitar (59 cherry burst) is part of the current Bill Graham rock n roll revolution tour. I saw it in St Petersburg, Florida on 9-29-18.

Continue browsing, or go subdirectory_arrow_leftBack to Duane Allman Gear Page
access_time 1971

1950s Gibson Les Paul Standard "Hot Lanta"

This is the guitar that Duane was most often pictured within the last couple of months of his life. He got this Les Paul in mid-1971 from Kurt Linhof – a guitar dealer and collector whom he met through Billy Gibbons of ZZ-Top. ZZ Top was opening for the Allman Brothers. Billy introduced Kurt to Duane as,” If anybody can find you a guitar this man can!” Well…. and he did find Duane a guitar! […]

access_time 1971

1961 Gibson SG/Les Paul

Duane occasionally used a 1961 Gibson SG (serial number 15263 [Randy Poe, Skydog, p. 292]) finished in cherry red which he got from Dickey Betts – who himself played it in the early days of the Allman Brothers. Most notably, he played this guitar on “Statesboro Blues”. What happened back then was I had this SG when we started the band, and then I got a Les Paul, my ’57, and when Duane wanted to play […]

access_time 1969

1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop

This was Duane’s main guitar during the first year of the Allman Brothers Band. Duane purchased it in early to mid-1969, most likely from Lipham Music Shop in Gainsville, Florida, – which is the place where he and rest of the band often got their instruments at that time. The guitar is first mentioned in a letter featured in Galadrielle’s book [Please Be With Me, p. 182] dated to May 16, 1969. The letter was written by Duane […]

access_time 1961

1959 Gibson Les Paul Jr.

This was Duane’s first ever electric guitar. He mentioned it in a letter to a friend dated July 1961, and according to Galadrielle Allman [Galadrielle Allman: Please Be With Me, p. 65], Duane paid for the Gibson electric himself by selling the parts of the motorbike that he had driven into the ground. According to some other sources, the guitar was purchased by his mother. Duane used this guitar from 1961 to […]

access_time 1967

1950s Gibson Les Paul Goldtop

Duane was on occasions seen playing a late fifties Gibson Les Paul Goldtop around the time he played with the Hour Glass [See Photo]. The guitar was allegedly borrowed back in 1967 from Tommy “Crash” Compton, who was a friend of Johnny Sandlin. Duane never gave the guitar back and Gregg’s Wurlitzer piano was eventually traded for it. Duane had borrowed a ’59 gold top Les Paul (note – the Goldtop model […]

access_time 1967

1950s Fender Telecaster (Pete Carr)

Duane used another Telecaster around 1967/68 that belonged to Pete Carr – who was the bass player in the Hour Glass. The guitar was initially purchased from Sylvan Wells, a friend of Pete and of Duane (Sylvan is now an attorney and a luthier: wellsguitars.com) Allman had the guitar set up for the slide and reportedly used it to practice the craft of slide guitar even while his bandmates hated what he was […]

access_time 1970

1959 Gibson ES-335

There’s a photo of Duane playing a sunburst Gibson ES-335 with the pickguard and pickup covers removed dating back to June 13, 1970. Although the guitar’s origins are still a mystery, there are two versions of what happened to it after Duane’s death. The first one is that the guitar ended up with Dickey Betts. Dickey allegedly later gave it to Eddy Shaver, who was his student at some point. After Eddy’s death in 2000, the […]

access_time 1970

1968 Gibson Les Paul Custom

This Les Paul Custom (serial number 537837) recently appeared on an auction at JuliesLive.com, eventually selling for around $50,000. According to the official statement on the website, it was owned by Duane Allman and later his brother Gregg after Duane’s untimely death. In 1993 it was acquired by Larry English, former executive vice president and director of Gibson Guitar. The guitar is signed with a gold marker on the front of the body by Gregg […]

access_time 1964

1956/57 Fender Stratocaster

Duane used this guitar from around 1964/1965, and it was most likely the first Stratocaster that he ever owned. The guitar’s previous owner, Lee Hazen, gave an interview to Vintage Guitar Magazine in 1997 explaining how the guitar found it’s way to Duane: I traded it off to a fellow in Sanford [Florida] who had a guitar shop. I think his name was Jimmy Jewell, and Duane ended up with it. I […]

access_time 1966

1950s Fender Telecaster

Duane acquired this Telecaster while playing with the Allman Joys around 1966, and it remained his main guitar with the Hour Glass until 1967. The most interesting part about this guitar is that it had a maple Stratocaster neck installed on it, most likely dating somewhere between 1954 and 1958 – at least based on the small headstock shape. It also originally featured a black pickguard but it was replaced with a white one at some point by Duane. Another custom thing on […]

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