Will you ever be able to play guitar like Paul McCartney? Probably not, but at least you can noodle around on a Les Paul custom-made for him.
A 1988 Gibson Les Paul that the former Beatle played during a TV tribute to the legendary guitarist and inventor is being sold by Heritage Auctions next month. Even better, the solid-body ax remains in game form despite its age of almost 35 (though we’d understand if you just want to put it on display).
The instrument was custom made for McCartney before his performance Les Paul and Friends: A Tribute Concert, an HBO special that aired in 1988, the same year Paul was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. McCartney was scheduled to perform at the concert but was unable to commit to the three days it would take to rehearse and record due to scheduling conflicts. He found time for a recorded segment to be broadcast during the concert, in which he spoke about Paul’s influence on the music and himself, and even performed one of his songs.
Gibson made Les Pauls for McCartney and all the other musicians who appeared on the special, a list that included luminaries like BB King, Eddie Van Halen and Carli Simon. According to the auction house, each guitar has been crafted to suit the needs and style of each player. McCartney is left-handed, so his ax is a left-handed model in gloss black accented with gold accents on the tuning pegs, pickups and bridge. The guitar, serial no. 81898520, has a matching black pickguard bearing McCartney’s name along with the date of performance “8-18-88”.
McCartney’s Les Paul will be auctioned at Heritage’s on July 17th Signature auction for guitars and musical instruments. The auction house doesn’t list an estimate for the instrument, but bids start at $40,000. We assume that the guitar, which was not only built for the Beatle but is also played by him on television, will cost quite a bit more. After all, one of the bass guitars he played in Wings sold for $471,000 At the end of last year.