Jeff Buckley’s 1976 Gibson Les Paul Custom

access_time First seen circa 1995

Chronologically looking, this was the second Les Paul that Jeff owned and played. However, it was the first legitimate Gibson model, since the first guitar wasm according to the most sources, a knockoff.

Jeff’s First Les Paul

At this point, it is important to establish histories behind the two Les Pauls. For the longest time, people (including us) thought that that the Les Paul that Jeff received for his 14th birthday was the same one that he used later on in the 90s.

However, there were some inconsistencies in that version of the story. Most importantly, it didn’t make sense that Jeff would leave a perfect Gibson Les Paul guitar at home and then buy an Ovation Viper (his second electric guitar), and then go on to borrow a Fender Telecaster (the one that he used for the most part of his career). If he had a Gibson, he would certainly use it.

As it turns out, according to Jeff’s friend, Jason Hamel, who was kind enough to provide some details about the guitar, the first guitar was actually a copy/knockoff. Therefore, it had nothing to do with this second Gibson Les Paul Custom.

Jeff’s Second Les Paul

In 1995 Jeff started using a black Gibson Les Paul Custom. According to the info provided by The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, who now own the guitar, it was purchased that same year by Jeff in a Wisconsin state guitar shop [Intimate Audio – Jeff Buckley Tribute].

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Jeff used this Les Paul a couple of times live, mostly in 1995. It was seen during a concert played at the Asbury Park, New Jersey, and during the Glastonbury Festival in Britain.

Gibson Les Paul Today

Just recently, this guitar was seen on display at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum during an exhibition which also included Jeff’s black wool coat, jodhpurs, white V-neck T-shirt and handwritten lyrics and poems. The Les Paul seems to be a permanent donation to the Museum from the Jeff Buckley Estate.

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Jason Hamel
Jason Hamel

I was Jeff’s best friend. His Les Paul was a copy, not a Gibson. He bought the Viper in 1982. I’m sure he had the Les Paul copy way before he turned 14.

Continue browsing, or go subdirectory_arrow_leftBack to Jeff Buckley Gear Page
access_time 1991

1983 Fender Telecaster Toploader

This is without a doubt Jeff’s best-known guitar, but a little less known fact is that the guitar didn’t actually belong to him but to Janine Nichols, Arts at St. Ann’s Program Director, from whom he borrowed it in 1991. This happened just a couple of days after all of Jeff valuables were stolen from his apartment in Los Angeles, and following a Tim Buckley Tribute concert at which Jeff was invited to perform and […]

access_time 1995

Series 10 "Flower" Telecaster

According to a post made over at JBCommunity forums, Jeff got this guitar as a gift after a gig played in Lyon, France in October 1994, from a guy called Jean-Marc who worked at the avenue. For the full story please refer to The Story of the “Flower” Guitar. The guitar was apparently a cheap Korean knock-off that didn’t play too well, but it attracted Jeff’s attention anyways, mostly because of the groovy flower finish […]

access_time 1994

Rickenbacker 360/12 Fireglo

This was Jeff’s second most used guitar, perhaps best known for occasionally being used to play ‘Last Goodbye’ live. There’s some debate on the exact model of this guitar, but the round edges on the body and neck inlays are all the clues you need to figure out it’s a 360 model. The guitar first appeared in mid to late 1994, or around the time album Grace was released. It is therefore somewhat safe […]

access_time 1985

Unknown Guitar

Jeff was first seen using the guitar circa 1985. At that time he was in Los Angeles and playing in a band called Group Therapy. He continued using the guitar until around 1989 when he was seen playing it with The Wild Blue Yonder. [The Wild Blue Yonder 1989-1991] This guitar is, unfortunately, a mystery. The exact model is currently not identified, and until it is, all further research is on halt. […]

access_time 1982

1980s Ovation Viper

This Ovation was used by Jeff sometime in the early to mid-80s. There’s a photo of him with the guitar, which seems to have been taken prior to his college days. According to Jeff’s friend, Jason Hamel, this guitar was purchased in 1982, as a replacement for Jeff’s old Les Paul knockoff. The Ovation Viper was purchased at Pete’s Music. My friend Dave Judy says he sold it to him. […]

access_time 1980

Les Paul (Copy)

When Jeff was 14 years old, he received a Paul guitar as a birthday present from his mother and his stepfather. Then when he was about 14 (1980), for his birthday, he asked for [this part cuts of during the video, so it’s not positive that these are exact words] a guitar, a real guitar. And that’s when we all chipped in to get him the Les Paul. Jeff Buckley […]

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