date_range 1980

Jeff Buckley’s 1976 Gibson Les Paul Custom

When Jeff was 14 years old, he received a Gibson Les Paul guitar as a birthday present from his mother and his stepfather [Jeff Buckley – Everybody Here Wants You; 5:30]. He can be seen holding the guitar in a recent issue of the Guitar World magazine [Guitar World, June 2016]. It is assumed that he used the guitar up until he moved to Hollywood to attend the Musicians Institute in 1986, and switched to an Ovation electric.

This is the point of time where the story gets confusing. If Jeff already owned a Gibson Les Paul, it would be reasonable to assume that he would take that guitar with him to the Musicians Institute, but for one reason or another, he didn’t appear to do so. As a matter of fact, the guitar wasn’t seen again until 1995, meaning that it likely remained at his mother’s house during all those years during which Jeff didn’t even use a guitar of his own (remember – the Telecaster was borrowed from Janine Nichols).

In 1995 Jeff again started using a black Les Paul Custom, which appeared to be the exact same guitar he used in his teen years. Some sources indicate that this guitar was purchased that same year in Wisconsin [Intimate Audio – Jeff Buckley Tribute], but there’s strong suspicion that this is really the one same exact guitar. After all, it is possible that the Jeff simply picked up the guitar from his mother’s place and started using it again during the Grace tour. From the photographic evidence alone, the two guitars appear to be identical, so unless we find a statement from a source close to Jeff Buckley, it is somewhat safe to assume that those photos show one same guitar.

Jeff used this Les Paul 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.

Just recently, this guitar was seen on display at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum during an exhibit 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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