Duane Allman’s 1950s Gibson Les Paul Jr.
If you’ve read our write-up on Duane’s alleged Fender Coronado II, and if that story is to be believed, this was possibly the guitar that Duane traded for the Fender at some point. Be that as it may, contrary to the mystic Coronado, the Les Paul Jr can actually be placed in Duane’s hands, as he used it most famously at the Love Valley Festival in 1970. It is likely that he used this guitar as a backup that came into play on rare occasions just in 1970 – if a string broke on his Les Paul Goldtop.
At this moment, we don’t know anything more about this particular Les Paul Jr., aside from what can be concluded from the footage of Duane playing it during Whipping Post on July 17th, 1970. The guitar appears to be finished in what is commonly known as “TV” yellow color, and it appears to have two control knobs – and therefore only a single pickup.
According to an interview Dickey Betts gave to Guitar Player magazine in August 1989, at that time, Twiggs Lyndon’s family had the “black-and-yellow Les Paul he [ Duane Allman ] was playing toward the end”. [Jas Obrecht, Dickey Betts 1989, Guitar Player magazine, August 1989, p. 47.] Although the quote is somewhat open to interpretation, it is most likely that Dickey is talking about this yellow Les Paul Junior with a black pickguard – so if that’s the case, the guitar remained with Twiggs after Duane’s passing.
But, just as a precaution, a case can also be made that Dickey was talking about Hot Lanta, a 1950s Les Paul Standard that was finished in tobacco burst (a finish that does look black on the edges and yellow in the center). Furthermore, Gregg Allman stated in 1981 that he traded Hot Lanta with Twiggs Lyndon for a 1939 Ford Opera coupe [Guitar Player magazine, October 1981], therefore it was already known that the guitar was with Twiggs. Lastly, the “Les Paul he [ Duane Allman ] was playing toward the end” does sound like Dickey could be talking about this guitar since Duane did use it during the last couple of months of his life.
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8:36 on the video looks like a gold top LP..
That’s correct. But, if you look at around 1:06, you’ll see that he’s playing what looks like a Junior, based on the two control knobs, and the black pickguard (his Goldtop does not have a pickguard).