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Rocker to Restore Early Les Paul Guitar Destroyed in EF4 Tornado

todayApril 29, 2021 6

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Will there be a happy ending for a 1952 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop that was destroyed in a 2013 tornado? If blues-rock guitarist Jared James Nichols has his way it will. The instrument is one of the first-ever Gibson Les Paul models ever made and Nichols inclusion into this story may help restore this treasured instrument to its original purpose.

Nichols shared the story of this special guitar in an Instagram post, revealing that his involvement came after via an intermediary friend who reached out to Nichols to see if he thought the instrument could be saved.

“This is one of the FIRST-EVER Gibson Les Paul models from 1952. It isn’t only special because it is one of the first ever, but the fact it has been to HELL & back…This guitar survived a EF4 Tornado. YEAH, IT WAS IN A TORNADO,” exclaims the guitarist.

In a series of slides accompanying the post, Nichols reveals that the instrument was involved in a massive tornado that swept through Washington, Illinois in November of 2013. It was the fourth largest tornado in the state’s history with damages estimated at approximately $1.6 billion for EF4 event. As you can see, the guitar body has been separated from the fretboard and headstock, but though there are a fair share of cosmetic nicks the body remains in pretty decent shape considering what it’s been through.

“This guitar was found in the front yard of a home in the rubble…It is not been touched since, there is still mud on it!!,” says Nichols, adding, “The original owner was found (it was her grandpa’s guitar who has long passed) and she gave her blessing to my new friend who has kept the guitar since then. I want to thank my new SHRED BROTHER @tjduckwiler from the bottom of my heart for hitting me up & gifting me this incredibly special instrument.”

The guitarist says, “He knew my love of LPs and p90s of course. We talked the idea of this guitar being risen from the ashes and brought back to its former glory. IT IS HAPPENING!!! I am sending this BEAST to my friend @jw.restoration today to begin the extensive restoration process. Joel is a WIZARD, & a true genius, he will be taking this project full-on.”

According to Nichols, the plans is to craft a hand-built Brazilian board neck and fixing all other components needed, but he has no plans to refinish the instrument which obviously had some marks left from it’s harrowing experience. “Excited is an understatement,” says Nichols, adding, “I cannot wait to play my heart out on this Les Paul. BY THE WAY: I’m naming her DOROTHY.”

Best of luck, Jared! We look forward to seeing Dorothy in her new found glory.

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