Les Paul Standard GoldTop Dickey Betts Prototype Guitars

2001 Gibson Les Paul Standard GoldTop Dickey Betts Prototype

Color: Mahogany, Rating: 9.50, Sold (ID# 02311)
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Ramblin' Man


2001 Gibson Les Paul Standard GoldTop Dickey Betts Prototype


This exceptional instrument is one of the two prototypes of the Les Paul Standard Goldtop Dickey Betts "Goldie", which were specially made for Dickey Betts approval (for the subsequent production run of 114 guitars produced from 2001-2003) and specially aged by Tom Murphy. The production of the run of 114 of these was started only after Dickey Betts had personally played, tested and approved the two 'prototypes'. This incredible guitar, "PROTOTYPE 2", is perfect in every detail, has an ideal Les Paul Standard 'Goldtop' weight of 8.60 lbs. Gold-finished solid carved maple top with single-ply cream binding on a one-piece solid mahogany body. One-piece mahogany neck with a perfect nut width of just over 1 11/16 inches, a standard Gibson scale length of 24 3/4 inches and a typical '57 thick profile (0.92 inch behind the first fret gently rising to 1.03 inch behind the 12th fret). Bound rosewood fretboard with 22  original medium-jumbo 6130 (0.106) frets, inlaid pearl trapezoid position markers and small black side-dot markers. Headstock with inlaid pearl "Gibson" logo and "Les Paul Model" silk-screened in gold. Individual Grover Roto-Matic tuners with half-moon metal buttons. Serial number "PROTOTYPE 2" inked on in white on back of headstock. Single-layer cream plastic pickguard. Two specially wound Gibson 1957 'Custombucker' PAF re-issue humbuckers, each with a small black rectangular label on the underside with "Patent Applied For" printed in gold and also two printed white labels: "Number 2 Wound by SN" (neck) and "Number 1 Wound by SN" (bridge), each with cream plastic surrounds and very strong outputs of 7.97k and 7.47k. Four controls (two volume, two tone) on lower treble bout, plus three-way pickup selector switch on upper bass bout. Gold-plastic bell-shaped "Bell" knobs. ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic non-retainer bridge with metal saddles and separate stud tailpiece. Dickey Betts has personally signed the top in black marker just behind the stud-tail. This guitar is in mint (9.50++) condition -
just as it left the Gibson Custom Shop in 2001. Housed in the original Gibson Custom, six-latch, shaped brown aligator case with padded chocolate brown plush lining and small oval metal label on side "Gibson Custom Shop / Dickey Betts / Model / Limited Edition" (9.50++). Complete with all of the original 'case candy' including the original tan Gibson Custom Art Historic envelope containing two copies of the Gibson Custom Art Historic Certificate of Authenticity: "Dickey Betts Ultra-Aged 1957 Les Paul GoldTop.  Serial Number "PROTOTYPE 2". The guitar bearing the serial printed on this document is certified to be a genuine Dickey Betts Ultra-Aged 957 Les Paul Goldtop Model, part of the Gibson Custom, Art & Historic Division's Artist Authentic Series. This guitar has undergone a unique hand-aging process that replicates the original 1957 model played by Dickey Betts himelf. Only 114 of these instruments will ever be produced. Autopen signature of Dickey Betts, and signed in ink by "Rick Gembar / General Manager, / Gibson Custom, Art & Historic Division". Also included is the "Gibson Gold Warranty" with the Pre-Pack Checklist with details including the serial number "Prototype 2" in black ink, the 22 page "Gibson Custom Art Historic Customer Care Guide, the original pack of Dickey Betts Legendary Series 'Tone Tempered' 10/44 guitar strings, the truss-rod adjustment tool and the white felt Gibson Custom Art Historic guitar cover.

Note: This guitar was actually played and tested by Dickey Betts who signed it in black marker on the top… The production run had DIckey Betts signature in gold marker just on the plastic control panel backplate. This was quite usual in some production runs as it was much simpler for Gibson to have Dickey Betts sign 114 pieces of plastic without him ever having to handle a guitar.

Provenance: This guitar is from the personal collection of Larry Thomas, retired CEO of Fender and Guitar Center.

The following is from a blog by Alan Paul, journalist, musician and the author of One Way Out. (The Inside History of The Allman Brothers Band). and Texas Flood - the definitive biography of guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan…

“No journalist knows the ins and outs of the Allman Brothers Band better than Alan Paul.” (Warren Haynes - Dickey Betts Band and Allman Brothers Band).

"From the Archives: Dickey Betts and his Custom Gibsons: "In 2001, I went out to Long Island to introduce Dickey Betts to Andy Aledort, who would be working with him on a column for Guitar World. Dickey only wanted to do interviews with me, but I assured him that if he met Andy he would love him. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship; Andy has now been playing with Dickey for about 8 years. After we did the interview at Dickey’s hotel room, we hung out all night and eventually outside the Westbury Music Fair, where he would be performing, Dickey showed us the prototypes of his upcoming Gibson signature guitars. Here’s the story I wrote. “Look at this thing, man! It’s beautiful!” Dickey Betts stands in the back bedroom of his tour bus and thrusts forward a gorgeous Gold top. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear it was Goldie, his famous ’57 Les Paul which he played in the Allman Brothers Band for over 20 years. Except that Goldie is, in fact, sitting just a few feet away and is actually no longer gold. (More on that in a moment.) “This is a ’57 reissue from the Gibson Custom Shop, a prototype of my signature guitar, and it’s a great instrument,” Betts says. “People don’t have to spend 25 or 30 grand to get a vintage guitar any more. This is just as good and I’m very proud that it is going to have my name on it.” The Dickey Betts Signature Series will eventually feature two models. The first one, an “aged” ’57 reissue Gold top based on the instrument Betts proudly showed off, was introduced in July. Each of them is made in the Gibson Custom Shop then hand-finished by Tom Murphy, a luthier famous for his uncanny ability to match a vintage finish. Vintage lovers will be overwhelmed by the guitars’ uncanny resemblance to a decades-old instrument, but for Betts esthetics are a distant second to playability. “What I care about is how a guitar sounds and feels and as soon as I picked a few notes unplugged on this, I knew it was a great one,” Betts says.  “It’s got great wood and a great finish, which lets the sound ring rather than stifling it. I think I might actually like it more than Goldie now.” Oddly, Goldie is now a beautiful redtop since Betts himself stripped it and refinished it several years ago. “It had been really worn down by all the use and I just decided to make it how I wanted it,” Betts explains. “Some people think it’s nuts to do something like this to such a valuable guitar, but it’s a working tool for me.” Betts also recurved the pickguard by hand to better suit his needs, then lowered its profile. He dressed up the hardware by adding a sterling silver Indian belt buckle to the input jack and a silver ring to the toggle switch cover. All of this will be recaptured on the second line of Dickey Betts signature guitars. “We are going to take Goldie to the shop and put the micrometers on it,” says Rick Gembar, general manager of Gibson’s Custom Shop. “The Dickey Betts redtop will feature all the little things particular to his instrument. These are some of the ultimate guitars on the planet.”

Dickey Betts (born Forrest Richard Betts December 12, 1943) is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter,composer and one of the best guitarists of all time. He is preeminently known as a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band. Early in his career, he collaborated with Duane Allman, introducing melodic twin guitar harmony and counterpoint which "rewrote the rules for how two rock guitarists can work together, completely scrapping the traditional rhythm/lead roles to stand toe to toe". Following Allman's death in 1971, Betts assumed sole lead guitar duties during the peak of the group's commercial success in the mid 70s. Betts was the writer and singer on the Allmans' hit single Ramblin' Man (1973). He also gained renown for composing instrumentals, with one appearing on most of the group's albums, the most notable of these being In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (1970) and Jessica (1973) - widely known as the main theme to the highly successful British motoring magazine TV show Top Gear from 1977 to 2001.

The band went through a hiatus in the late 1970s, during which time Betts, like many of the other band members, pursued a solo career and side projects under such names as Great Southern and The Dickey Betts Band. The Allman Brothers reformed in 1979, with Dan Toler taking the second guitar role alongside Betts. In 1982, they broke up a second time, during which time Betts formed the group Betts, Hall, Leavell and Trucks, which lasted until 1984. A third reformation occurred in 1989, with Warren Haynes now joining Betts on guitar. Betts and Jaimoe (John Lee Johnson) are the only two living founders of the original Allman Brothers Band. Dickey Betts was inducted with the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and also won a best rock performance Grammy Award with the band for Jessica in 1996. Betts was ranked No. 58 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list in 2003, and No. 61 on the list published in 2011.

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