- Feb 25, 2012
- Reaction score
This Was owned by a guy named Dan Bolton,from a Seattle based band called the Supersuckers. It’s been around the world literally. He sold the guitar when he left the band,and I got it from the dealer he sold it to. It is an 82 anniversary edition, has shaw pickups, one of my best guitars ever.Specs and a little history?
This beauty was owned by a guy named Chuck Doris, a Rhode Island musician that was the original owner. He played for years in R.I., and it was his main guitar. He passed a year ago august . This guitar and the goldtop I posted will be passed to my son when I am done with them, two excellent , history filled instruments. I feel very blessed to own themKiller Les Paul. Please give us some details…
I loved reading about how much you appreciate this gift from your Mom, especially the perspective of her hourly wage versus the price of the guitar. She could have gotten you a lower model Les Paul but she wanted you to have the very best.Here's my 1980 Gibson Les Paul Artisan. I have owned it since it was brand new, ordered for $925.60 from Marshall Music in Lansing, Michigan. I insisted when it came in I was to be the one that popped the staples on the box from Gibson. I ordered it with $100 down in June of 1980, and it arrived from the Kalamazoo plant in October 1980.
A few things to note about play wear...
- there is an oval shaped mark between the pickups where I hook my pinky to mute the first string when playing power chords.
- the neck wear is real, not sanded
- within the first week of owning it, it dropped straight to the concrete/linoleum floor and put a dent in the bottom corner of the headstock. Not shown in any picture, when the guitar hit the ground, it dented the headstock and the cord was plugged into the jack, and the metal jack plate also dented.
- this is a Norlin-era guitar and it weighs 13lbs 6oz.
- this guitar was a gift from my mother when I graduated high school in 1980. She was not rich. She worked as a receptionist at a vet clinic and made $1.40/hour. It was bought with a mother's love for her son and her support of my love of playing guitar.
- it is in my will and well known among all my friends that this guitar goes in my coffin when I am dead. I have never let anyone else play this particular guitar but me and no one will ever own it or play it but me.
- it is my most prized possession
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You can see the oval divet in the finish from where I have for decades hooked my pinky finger to mute the 1st string when playing power chords, or to grip the strings... the leather strap locks have been on the guitar since a couple days after I dropped it flat on the ground... you can't really tell in this photo but the metal jack plate is bent from the drop...
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Real neck wear, not a relic-ed wanna be...
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If you look close at the corner of the headstock, it has a dent on the corner that was from being dropped that one time...
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Thanks Tollie...I loved reading about how much you appreciate this gift from your Mom, especially the perspective of her hourly wage versus the price of the guitar. She could have gotten you a lower model Les Paul but she wanted you to have the very best.
Here's "the rest of the story"...
Back in the 70s I started smoking pot when I was 14 years old. I got into a lot of trouble in the next few years and I had tried all kinds of drugs, not just pot. Long about when I was 17 I had a girlfriend break up with me over the phone and it just devastated me emotionally and all. At that age the hormones and internal body chemicals are raging. I turned to a pastor who had a column in the local paper and I started doing the Jesus thing.
Still struggling with one foot in the world, my dad has found or busted me for pot 17 times by the time I was 17. My mom told me when I was probably 17-1/2 that if I stopped smoking pot, she would buy me any guitar I wanted. I did stop. That day in June of 1980 I was at Marshall Music in Lansing, Michigan and I had $100 graduation from high school money in my pocket. Back then, Gibson used to have a small printed black and white catalog with most of their guitars. The most beautiful and exquisite model at that time was the Artisan. It was Gibson's top of the line Les Paul Custom back then. In the catalog there was one a tiny bit more expensive called "The Les Paul" (not to be confused with the "Firebrand" "The Paul")... but the hearts and flowers inlay of the Artisan won me over.
Marshall's was in a kind of mall at the time, and in the hallway of the mall was a pay phone. I called mom at work, and I reminded her that I had stopped smoking pot, and that she said she'd buy me any guitar I want. I told her I had $100 from graduation and asked her if I could order the guitar. She said yes and I did.
I hung up the pay phone, walked back into the store and put $100 down on the guitar. This was June, 1980. I had just graduated high school not long before. So, for the quick easy to understand portion of the story, I tell folks "It was a graduation gift from my mom"... But this is really the real story about why my mom bought me this guitar. It was graduation time, and the money I had to spend I got as graduation gifts from several people at my graduation party. But the meat of the story was an agreement between me and my mom and had to do with shucking drugs off my back.
As I might have said in my other post, I told the folks at Marshall Music that when the guitar came in from Gibson, that I wanted to be the one that popped the staples on the shipping box. They honored my request and the guitar came in from the (then) factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan in October of 1980. As the story goes, Gibson had started moving it's works to Nashville, but their finest quality craftsmen were still in Kalamazoo, and the Artisan and some other models were still being built there. If you've ever seen a 25/50 Anniversary Les Paul, those were still being made in Kalamazoo as well. Not sure if they are some of the same folks who stayed behind, but these are some of the folks that later started The Heritage Guitar Company. If anyone hasn't yet heard of Heritage, please google their company. Gorgeous guitars that put modern Gibsons to shame in some people's opinion.
My snobbery about touching or playing my Artisan went on for years and I am still a bit of a snobb-ish guy concerning that one guitar. For at least the first ten years of owning that guitar I would not let any other person touch it let alone play it. In fact in it's 42 year life, there might have been 2 people to ever hold it. Mostly from me saying "this is the heaviest guitar I've ever seen" (13lbs 6oz.) and letting them hold the neck and feel how heavy it was.
The only time I can remember anyone else playing it at all... I was at a house party in Moorestown, Michigan. Moorestown might have 200 people population total. I was playing by myself for the people at the party and took a break. I went outside with some friends (they were smoking)... when I cam back in... there was this 7-foot tall Sasquatch of a man playing bad Hank Williams Jr. songs on my Artisan. And the crowd of locals was cheering him on. Too big to take him out back and kick his ass. When I cam back in, he handed me my guitar. He had broken the first string, got sweat all over the fingerboard and there was sweat dripped onto the top... plus somehow he had spilled beer on it as well. Seems like I wiped the sweat and beer off of it, then put it back in the case, that was the end of my playing for these folks that night. I could consider this event somewhat equivalent of a male dog pissing on your leg. It's like he had something to prove with my pretty guitar. I'm sure there's a special room down in Hell for guys like this, LOL.
I was surprised to find out this model now sells for between $4,000-5,000 dollars, considering brand new with taxes and all it was $925.60 in June of 1980. I will never sell it. Years ago I decided to tell people that the Artisan goes in the coffin with me when I'd dead. It was a guitar that my mom bought me and I have determined all the guitar's life that nobody else would ever play it, not even try a couple chords. I've got plenty of other Les Pauls and Strats and you name its people can touch if they want to, but not my Artisan. It's almost a holy thing as far as sentimentality to me.
In April 2011 mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She did her best to fight, but with that particular cancer it is a losing battle. Usually by the time they discover it it has progressed passed the point where they can operate. So mom did all the crazy crap the doctors tell people to do with radiation and chemo therapy... and she died the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), 2011. The last night she was alive I sat next to her hospital bed they had brought in and put in my old bedroom. I held her hand and sand the chorus to "Jesus Loves Me, Yes I Know" over and over. I told her this was what it was all about being a Christian and she would see Jesus very soon. She died the next day at 11:55am. That is probably the most wonderful memory between me and my mom.
When the funeral home brought out the hearse to take her body, it was a completely calm day. I followed them out of the side door of the house to the back of the house where the hearse was parked in their U-shaped driveway. When the hearse left, they went out the southern driveway and turned to the north. Just as they accelerated past the front of the house a huge almost hurricane wind came up and was blowing to the north. Here the weather almost always flows west to east. The wind was so strong it blew my long pony tail of hair to the side, and rattled the jacket I was wearing. Then when the hearse was gone, it went back to absolutely no wind and a very calm day. Later a cousin interpreted that as the angels sweeping mom's spirit into heaven. That was the best unexplained explanation of that happening.
Today I am a guitar player because of the support my mom gave me in the early years of me playing guitar. I got my first guitar on Christmas 1975. And my first guitar lesson the very next day. My dad hated music and hated everything about me playing guitar. A few years prior mom had bought me my first-ever Gibson, a 1972 Gibson SG II. She gave $200 for it and a hard case. When she bought it she told me "don't tell dad" and I had to hide it under my bed in my bedroom for like 9 months before he finally found it and raised holy Hell.
Somewhere along about the time I was 16 or so, mom took me to rock and roll guitar lessons at Roger's Music in Lansing, MI. The first rock song I ever learned note for note was Stairway to Heaven, including the lead solo... at 16. IMHO, my mom's support made me the guitar player I am today. So that, combined with the sentimentality of the Artisan is a bit of the rest of the story.
In case you've never seen a 1972 Gibson SG II, here's a picture of one from the Internet (not the one I had)... Plastic covers on the mini humbuckers, and a top mounted control plate with a single volume and tone, and slider switches turn the pickups on and off... Mom gave a local guy $200 for one of these in about 1976... they aren't all that expensive yet today, maybe $1,000 bucks on Reverb... ver very light... but also had crap tuners I had to swap out for some Grovers back then...
An SG like this one was my first Gibson guitar when I was 15 or 16 years old... They had a simple wrap around bridge, and I see this person had already swapped that out for the Leo Qwann Badass Bridge of the day, I did that to mine, too
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