John Frusciante’s 1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom

John acquired this guitar sometime prior to Stadium Arcadium and used it on that album to record Readymade, and some overdubs on Make You Feel Better [Murgs, Muff’ns, and Modular Synths – John Frusciante Puts His Stamp on Stadium Arcadium].

He also picked it up occasionally live to play Fortune Faded – a song which was likely originally recorded on his 1961 SG/Les Paul Custom. The guitar is a 1969 model with two PAF humbuckers without the metal pickup covers, and except for this, nothing on it appears to be modified.

The Les Paul is a ’69, but I’m not sure what years the ES-175 and 335 are from. I don’t play those much; I bought them because Steve Howe played them, but they don’t really go with my style that well. I feel like Strats are an extension of me, and a Jaguar feels like the next closest thing to being an extension of me. Les Pauls and SGs seem like a further stretch.

John Frusciante, Red Hot On The Empyrean
John Frusciante playing his Les Paul Custom, Lollapalooza 2006

Now with Dave Navarro?

Dave Navarro recently told a story on the Dark Matter Radio podcast of how John gave him a black Les Paul. According to him, he gave a Les Paul Standard to John back in the 90s, and never got the guitar back, so this was John’s way of paying it back.

It could be that this is the 1969 Custom that John used with the Peppers, but without any photos and the exact date on which this happened, it’s impossible to tell (you can listen to this part of the podcast on YouTube – When Frusciante gave a Les Paul to Dave Navarro).


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1 year ago

John actually acquired this in around 2004, if you watch the ramones tribute show that RHCP played at he’s using this guitar.