Gibson Exclusive: Ace Frehley Talks ‘Budokan’ Les Paul Custom
Sean Patrick Dooley
Gibson Custom has recreated one of the most famous guitars in music history – the Ace Frehley “Budokan” Les Paul Custom. The master craftsmen at the Custom Shop have forged this tribute to the KISS guitarist’s most famous axe. Frehley nicknamed his Les Paul “Budokan” because it was the very guitar he played when KISS broke The Beatles' sell-out record at Japan’s legendary Budokan arena in 1977. It also was Ace’s main touring guitar throughout ’77 and ’78, was his go-to studio guitar after that and was used in the 1996 KISS reunion.
With the Ace Frehley “Budokan” Les Paul Custom, Gibson Custom has painstakingly recreated every single one of the idiosyncrasies of Ace’s customized guitar, drawing on digital scanning technology and working closely with Frehley and the guitar’s current owner, Matt Swanson. When Frehley recently took one of the guitars for a spin, he was amazed at how much the guitar felt, played and sounded like the real deal.
Check out Gibson’s exclusive interview with Ace below, in which he shows off the new “Budokan” Les Paul Custom, talks about KISS’s early days and shares some stories from his new book, No Regrets.