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Phil O'Keefe

Ode to Buddy Holly’s Les Paul

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In the spirit of classic Mad magazine parodies, to be sung to the tune of Weezer’s Buddy Holly...

 

Oh eee oh, did you know that Buddy Holly

first played on a Les Paul, not a Strat?

I don’t care what you say ‘bout it anyway...

I don’t care about that. :p  :D 

 

https://www.fretboardjournal.com/features/buddy-hollys-les-paul-guitar-changed-course-music-history-not-played/

 

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I think Buddy was just a goofy kid who wanted something newfangled looking, and didn't really have a 'sound' in mind at the time. It is pretty disingenuous to state that he wouldn't have  become who he was without the Fender sound....but I guarantee that he could have written and performed his same material with that Lester...albeit without being as well tuned. The amp, well, may have been problematic, as those early LP amps were pretty dark sounding; but anyone who says you can't 'twang' with P90s has never tried. I do agree with one thing the author said...he could have done the same on a Tele, even with the tuning challenges of the 3 barrel bridge [never stopped Gatton, among others].

I will also agree that those early 'trapeze' Lesters were a major PITA to keep tuned [I have repaired one recently for a local collector, and I saw immediately the 'over/under' issue with the action...really a bad design concept].

 

And to be fair, I'm sure Buddy went through other less 'loved' guitars before he bought the LP....but we will likely never know, unless he scratched his name into those as well :wave:

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TLDR;  is this real or just a goof or an article from one who does not know nothing?

meaning, is it worth reading, or is it just a punch of rubbish i can skip?

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There might be a bit of opinion thrown in, but it is an interesting article IMO, and it does appear that Buddy did have a ‘52 Les Paul that he traded in for a Strat.

 

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9 hours ago, daddymack said:

I think Buddy was just a goofy kid who wanted something newfangled looking, and didn't really have a 'sound' in mind at the time. It is pretty disingenuous to state that he wouldn't have  become who he was without the Fender sound....but I guarantee that he could have written and performed his same material with that Lester...albeit without being as well tuned. The amp, well, may have been problematic, as those early LP amps were pretty dark sounding; but anyone who says you can't 'twang' with P90s has never tried. I do agree with one thing the author said...he could have done the same on a Tele, even with the tuning challenges of the 3 barrel bridge [never stopped Gatton, among others].

I will also agree that those early 'trapeze' Lesters were a major PITA to keep tuned [I have repaired one recently for a local collector, and I saw immediately the 'over/under' issue with the action...really a bad design concept].

 

And to be fair, I'm sure Buddy went through other less 'loved' guitars before he bought the LP....but we will likely never know, unless he scratched his name into those as well :wave:

 

Well, if you believe the Buddy Holly Story movie (and you shouldn’t ... ;) ) he played a Tele too, as well as a Bronco... which of course wasn’t released until years after he died... 

I love both Strats and Les Pauls, but I agree that those early models had horrible bridges on them. Usually I’m against modding vintage guitars, but I could totally understand if / why someone would install a tune-o-matic and a stop bar tailpiece on a player grade example of a ‘52 Les Paul. IMO that’s really the only way to make them playable... 

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funny... 'a player grade example of a ‘52 Les Paul' is a term I never expected to hear :wave:  But I guess they exist, albeit they were 'modernized' which ruins the collector value....I have seen a few from the trapeze era that were updated to an ABR-1 bridge/short trapeze tailpiece setup, with holes filled and holes drilled [made me shudder], a 'compensated' replacement bar for the trapeze, and one where they made the leap to the compensated stop tail like the '55 [and the LPJ and later Melody Makers]...which eventually gave way to a Leo Quan [at my suggestion, since the damage was already done].

I did offer my client a possible mod, which was to make a new custom TOM-style bridge that would fit on the existing height adjustment posts, and change the trapeze to a shorter length, serving as just a string holder, like on some ES models. I showed him the set up on my ES135 as an example, which is identical to the one I linked. The trapeze and bridge would have to be custom done, and the cost is fairly steep [because I no longer have my own machine shop]. This would not require any drilling or structural alterations to the instrument, and it is easily reversed to original. He is still considering it...but I doubt he will do it...he has plenty of guitars to play😉...and his '53 [there are no actual verifiable means, but he says his provenance puts it as an early '53], and he has the guitar insured at $45,000, which made me very nervous having it on my bench!

As to the 'Buddy Holly Story'...it was a story, but not necessarily Buddy's...:facepalm:

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It was a interesting and informative article. Can't picture Buddy with anything but a Strat. Really kind of floored he started out on a Gibby myself. 

Leave it to Good 'Ol Phil to find us a chestnut like this to chew on! :philthumb:

Edited by AlamoJoe
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Leo Fender was plugged-in to the Western Swing scene much better than Gibson was.  A lot of the swing and country players on the west coast were playing Fenders, and I think they helped Fender sell guitars in the rest of the country.  When Buddy started, he was doing swing and country covers.  It may be that's part of why he wanted a strat, too.  Bob Wills is from Turkey, TX, about 100 miles from Lubbock.

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My little town actually has TWO oldies stations, plus a classic rock, all in one building. Anyway, whenever Buddy's 'Everyday' plays, I always (in my head) change the line after "Everyday, it's a getting faster" to "playing a sunburst Fender Stratocaster"!

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He played a Gold Top LP for awhile, before the Strat. He was the guy that really started the guitar up front type band. He was great for the time, and more influential than many folks understand.

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