Duane Allman’s 1950s Gibson Les Paul Jr.

access_time First seen circa 1970

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.

Current Whereabouts

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 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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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 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 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 1970

1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard

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 […]

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 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 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

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 […]

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