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Rocker Chuck Berry plays what Gibson called the Electric Spanish, a guitar style based, in part, on Flamenco guitars. The ES 355, originally released in 1958, has been the definitive jazz and blues guitar for countless performers Berry is getting his own wine red model in honor of his 95th birthday.

“Of all the guitars my dad played, the 1978 ES-355 by far was his go-to. The guitar traveled the world with my Dad for over 36 years,” said Chuck’s son Charles Berry Jr. “His last album Chuck and the new live album Chuck Berry: Live From Blueberry Hill were recorded with the Gibson Wine Red ES-355. It’s a real road warrior and Gibson has done a brilliant job making this run of excellent big bodies. Like his original, these new ones resonate to the point you can actually feel them singing. It’s a True Tone MONSTER! Tom Murphy’s mad scientists in the Murphy Lab have aged them wonderfully. Put on the Captain’s hat, attach the conduit connector (if you dare), turn it up to 11 and rip!” 

This sassy beauty features the traditional ES styling and comes in wine red. It features “aged gold hardware, a Maestro Vibrola, Grover tuners, a Varitone switch, and a classic split diamond headstock inlay.”

That’s not all! You even get Berry’s captains hat:

The striking Wine Red finish features Murphy Lab custom aging, giving it the look and feel of the 1978 original.  Only 100 Chuck Berry 1970s ES-355 guitars will be hand-made by the expert luthiers and craftspeople of the Gibson Custom Shop as part of this very special limited run. Gibson went to great lengths to source Chuck’s favorite Captain’s hat which he wore on and off the stage. Chuck’s Captain’s hat is included in the custom case, along with his innovative finger holder–an electrical conduit strap–which allowed him to play his ES-355over and behind his head. 

The old girl costs a cool $6,999 and will be released in conjunction with Berry’s last album, Live From Blueberry Hill, which is shipping in April. Gibson is only making 100 of these so act fast. This thing is honestly lovely and well worth a look if you’re a Berry fan but you could also go rogue and pick up a reissue or a cheaper original and build your own legacy of moanin’ blues. Either way, you can’t go wrong with an ES.


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By John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

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