Every great guitarist has a signature sound, but few have a more recognizable guitar than B.B. King’s beloved Lucille. And while B.B. King will forever be known as The King of the Blues, his unforgettable guitar has a legend all her own.
According to this legend, King was playing at a dance hall in Arkansas in 1949 when a fight broke out. The fight led to a fire and the hall was evacuated, but King ran back inside to retrieve his Gibson guitar.
He learned the next day that the 2 men who started the fight, who had in fact both perished in the blaze, had been fighting over a woman named Lucille. King named that first guitar Lucille, as a reminder to never make foolish decisions, like running into a burning building or fighting over a woman.
Subsequently, every guitar he has owned since has been named Lucille. Gibson guitars has been manufacturing the B. B. King Lucille model since 1980, a worthy honour for one of the world’s most influential guitar-playing legends. It is essentially a high end Gibson ES 355 with no F holes. The name B.B. King is inscribed in a gold plate on the neck, next to the word “Lucille” below the Gibson logo.
But this particular Lucille is a very special one. Over the years BB has signed quite a few Gibson Lucilles for fans – a testament to his generosity for sure. And those ones command a premium price when they come up for sale.
But this Lucille is one of less than 20 guitars that were presented by Gibson to Warner Music to commemorate and promote a truly classic album released in 2000 – “Riding With The King” by BB King and Eric Clapton. It was their first collaborative album and won the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. The album reached number one on Billboard's Top Blues Albums and was certified Multi-Platinum worldwide.
Every one of this very special limited run of guitars had a pickguard personally signed in gold pen by both BB King and Eric Clapton. The guitars were sent to Warner Bros offices in a number of cities, including Sydney.
This one never quite made it out of Warner’s Sydney office to do its promo work, and was eventually presented to a valued staff member there. It has since been played sporadically but mainly stored securely in its fitted Gibson hard case for the past 20 years. The signed pickguard was removed from the guitar and stored in a ziplock bag.
Gibson also supplied another pickguard with the guitar which still has its original sticker stating the guitar has been “Factory Adjusted for BB King Signature Strings” and “Sound Brought To You By Gibson 490R/490T Humbucker Pickups”. This is the guard which is currently on the guitar. The original signed one is in the case.
This is the first time this very exclusive Lucille has been offered for sale.
It presents in virtually new condition, with no dings, dents or marks anywhere, and only some very mild tarnishing of the gold hardware.
This is a great opportunity to purchase not only a fabulous guitar which has been kept in totally original condition since new, but which is also a highly collectable and rare memorial to one of the world’s greatest musicians from whom we will hear no more.
Comes in its original Gibson hard shell case with inner shroud, in very good condition.