Jeff Buckley’s Les Paul (Copy)access_time First seen circa 1980
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 – Everybody Here Wants You Documentary (5:30)
According to Jeff’s friend, Jason Hamel, who was kind enough to provide some details about the guitar, Jeff had this Les Paul when the two first met, in 1981. Jason also suspects that Jeff got the guitar way before his 14th birthday (1980) since only a year late he could already play some serious stuff. As he points out, it is also possible that Jeff had a guitar prior to this which he used to practice on.
Jeff was still 14 in September of 81, and he was such an incredible guitarist by that point that I would have to assume he’d been playing for years already. Don’t know if he had another guitar before that.Jason Hamel – via email
Be that as it may, also according to Jason, in 1982 Jeff switched to a different guitar, Ovation Viper, which he purchased at Pete’s Music. Apparently, the Les Paul had a really sharp saddle on it that kept breaking strings, so the Viper was a much-needed upgrade (thanks Jason).
As a final note, it is important to note that this is not the same guitar that Jeff used in the 90s, which was an original Gibson Les Paul Custom. Jeff first Les Paul, although also black in similar in appearance, was a Gibson knockoff/copy.