Gary Moore’s 1950s Gibson Les Paul Modified

This guitar was presumably used by Gary during his time playing with Skid Row, until around 1971. It can be seen on a video recorded during the band’s performance on the German TV music show Beat Club.

Beat-Club, March 27 1971, Gary Moore with Skid Row
Beat-Club, March 27, 1971, Gary Moore with Skid Row

The guitar pretty much disappeared after mid-1972. If you happen to know what happened to it after and with whom it ended up, be sure to leave a comment below.

Red burst on gold finish?

Based on the visual clues, the guitar seems to be a modified early 50s gold-top Les Paul. The pickups are P90s with black plastic covers and a matching toggle switch cover (non-original), and the guitar is fitted with three 50s barrel knobs and one reflector knob.

The finish on the body looks amateur-ish red sunburst refinish – since the red seems to fade much closer to the center than on factory models.

The most promising clue to give us the exact build year of the guitar is the trapeze tailpiece. Early 50s Les Pauls had a long trapeze tailpiece extending all the way to where the ABR bridge was fitted on later models. Gary’s guitar seems to be a conversion from the long to short trapeze tailpiece, with a Gibson ABR-1 mounted into the old screw holes. This means that the guitar is most likely made in 1952.

Guitar prior to Gary Moore

Thanks to one of our readers (thanks Wes) the guitar’s history before it came into Gary’s hands is now known. It previously belonged to Procol Harum guitarist Robin Trower, who appeared with the Les Paul on numerous occasions until 1970.

Robin Trower wielding the ’52 Les Paul. Source YouTube Screencap

As can be seen in the photo above – the knobs, the trapeze tailpiece, and the color of the guitar all perfectly match Gary’s guitar. The only difference is the humbucker pickup in the bridge position, which is missing from Gary’s Les Paul.

However, if you look at the footage from the Beat Club (available in the first paragraph, skip to the 2:25 minute mark) you can see that there’s a rather large gap left around the P90 pickup visible on Gary’s guitar, which clearly shows that there was indeed a humbucker once in its place.


GroundGuitar counts on your criticism and feedback. In case you notice anything wrong with the information posted on this page, or you have knowledge of something that you would like to share, be sure to leave a comment below.

In case you want to talk to me directly and privately, please use the Contact Form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. (Dan)

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments