Gibson Brands celebrate 120 years this year, and what better way to commemorate the occasion than by looking back on the rich history of one of Gibson’s finest and most famous guitars: the Les Paul Melody Maker.
The Melody Maker is authentic Gibson at every nook and cranny. The 2014 Les Paul Melody Maker is fat on tone, and light on your wallet. A few key features include P-90S pickups, a slimmed down mahogany body with carved maple top and a ‘50s profile mahogany neck. It’s available in Satin Yellow, Charcoal Gray Satin and Wine Red Satin.
Learn more about this beauty of a guitar here.
Here’s a quick look at some of the Melody Maker’s longtime proponents:
Billie Joe Armstrong
Green Day frontman and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong is known for his “Floyd” Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Jr. and Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior Double Cut , but he’s also been spotted with a vintage Melody Maker in hand on more than one occasion. No matter the Gibson model, he’s able to inject a liveliness and angst-y vigor into his guitar playing.
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top has a "Pearly Gates" Les Paul Standard to his name, but his first guitar was actually a Melody Maker. “On Christmas Eve in ’63, Santa stopped by with a Gibson Melody Maker,” Gibbons told Gibson.com. “While the kids from my neighborhood were into The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, I was trying to learn licks from Little Richard, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed records.”
Joan Jett was the first female to score her own Gibson signature electric guitar model, a worn white Melody Maker—a well-deserved honor. "I got my Melody Maker in 1977," Jett told Gibson.com . "It was light and it sounded great. It was the guitar I had in the Runaways and then played on all my hits, like 'I Love Rock N' Roll' and 'Bad Reputation' and 'Do You Wanna Touch Me.' It's my baby."
Mick Jones used a collection of Gibsons during his time in the Clash, including a Les Paul Junior, Les Paul Standard, Les Paul Custom and, of course, a Melody Maker. He’s also a big Les Paul Junior player.
In the Doors, Robby Krieger mainly used his famed SG, which gave him that dark, mysterious tone for which the Doors is so known. He also played an ES-335, a Les Paul Custom Black Beauty and, yep, a Melody Maker.
Aerosmith guitar great Joe Perry is best known for his own Joe Perry Boneyard Les Paul , crafted by the Gibson Custom Shop, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like a good Melody Maker once in a while. Perry has occasionally been seen with a vintage Melody Maker on the stage and in the studio.
Keith Richards has rocked a variety of Gibsons during his lengthy career, including a two-horned Melody Maker. He has also pulled out Les Paul Standards, a ’53 Gold Top and ES-335s, among other Gibson classics.
Slash has a crop of killer signature Les Pauls, but he has also picked up a Melody Maker once or twice—or more. Specifically, he played a 2005 Melody Maker in black ebonized wood on the Velvet Revolver Libertad Tour. He also played that model with Velvet Revolver at the 2007 "Rock am Ring" festival in Germany.
Like many Gibson fans, Bill Spooner of the Tubes used a variety of Gibson guitars, including a 1959 Melody Maker. Spooner has also slungFlying Vs, Explorers, Les Pauls and SGs.
Paul Westerberg of the Replacements channeled his punk rock energy through a 1962 Melody Maker. Westerberg’s rousing playing was a perfect fit for the Melody Maker, and the result was pure chaos in the best possible manner.