THE TOM DOYLE COLLECTION
G U E R N S E Y
“…THE MOST IMPORTANT LES PAUL GUITAR OF ALL TIME.” -GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE
LES PAUL / CHET ATKINS
THE TOM DOYLE COLLECTION
LES PAUL / CHET ATKINS
THE TOM DOYLE COLLECTION
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Les Paul with his 1954 Gibson “Black Beauty”
Chet Atkins with his 1956 Grestch “Dark Eyes”
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Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 12, 2009), known as Les Paul, was more than America’s preeminent multi-genre guitarist: he was a songwriter, luthier, and inventor who constantly sought out solutions to every problem he encountered. Les was the pioneer of the solid body electric guitar, the guitar that gave birth to the sound known around the world as rock and roll. Also accredited with numerous recording innovations, his early experiments with overdubbing, tape delay, phasing, and multitrack recording were the first of their kind to garner widespread attention. His ability to innovate infiltrated his playing style, where trills, recording sequences, fretting techniques, and timing both separated him from his contemporaries and served as an inspiration for countless others. Working alongside his wife Mary Ford in the 1950s led to the sales of millions of albums during a time when sales figures such as that were unprecedented. One of the few artists with a permanent, stand-alone exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the museum denotes Paul as an “architect” and “key inductee” along with Sam Phillips and Alan Freed. In addition to a plethora of awards and honors, he is the only person to be inducted as a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. 2 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
MUSICIAN Growing up outside of Milwaukee as the child of divorced parents, Les Paul began his musical journey around the age of eight when he started playing the harmonica. Although attempts were made to learn the piano as well, he decided to move on to the guitar once it caught his eye. Quickly having become enamored with the sixstring instrument, Les began the inventing phase of his career with a neck-worn harmonica holder so that he could accompany himself on the guitar. (This device is still manufactured today using his basic design.) By the age of thirteen, he was performing semi-professionally as a country singer, guitarist, and harmonica player. During his gigs at Waukesha, Wisconsin area drive-ins and roadhouses, Paul began his experiments with sound out of necessity: he needed to make himself heard by more people at these venues where acoustics were not in the performer’s favor. Taking a phonograph needle to his guitar and connecting it to a radio speaker, Les created his own personal amplifier. As a teen he constructed his first solid body electric guitar thanks to a two-foot piece of rail from a nearby train line. By the age of seventeen Paul performed with Rube Tronson’s Texas Cowboys, and soon afterward dropped out of high school to work with Sunny Joe Wolverton’s Radio Band in St. Louis, Missouri. Les moved to Chicago in 1934 where he continued to perform often on the radio. Two years later he released his first two records accredited to his hillbilly alter guernseys.com
ego, “Rhubarb Red,” complete with a country costume, harmonica around his neck, and straw hat on his head. Lester Polsfuss adopted the name “Les Paul” not long after moving on from “Rhubarb Red,” which was around the same time he began playing blues and jazz music as an accompanist for Decca artist Georgia White. Les went on to form a trio in 1937 with singer/rhythm guitarist Jim Atkins (older half-brother of Chet Atkins) and bassist/ percussionist Ernie “Darius” Newton. A year later the group left Chicago for New York and landed a prime spot with Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians radio show. Chet Atkins later wrote that while home on a family visit, his brother presented him with an expensive Gibson archtop guitar that was given to Jim Atkins by Les Paul himself. Chet proudly recalled that it was the first professional-quality instrument he ever owned. Paul’s performing career was almost cut short in 1941 when he nearly succumbed to electrocution during an experiment in his apartment. Taking two years to fully recuperate he then relocated to Hollywood where he earned money by producing radio music and forming a new trio. As were many of the day’s top talents, he was drafted into the US Army in 1943, and Les served in the Armed Forces Radio Network where he backed artists such as Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters. Less than a year before the end of World War II, Paul was brought in as a last-minute replacement to back Nat King Cole for the inaugural Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in Los Angeles – a recording still available to this day – which clearly displays Les’ unparalleled talent as a guitarist. Friendships formed with the day’s top artists allowed Paul to perform for wider audiences, eventually transpiring in the Les Paul Trio appearing on Bing Crosby’s radio show, opening on tour for The Andrews Sisters, and recording a few albums of their own on the Decca label. Crosby recorded several times with Les and they even had a number-one hit together in 1945 (“It’s Been a Long, Long Time”), and Paul was always praised for his desires to make everyone involved sound their very best in each recording produced. Despite surviving electrocution, Les Paul once again faced what was supposed to be a career-ending injury when he shattered his right arm and elbow in a near-fatal automobile
accident in January 1948. Colleen Summers, who in 1949 came to be known as Les’ wife, “Mary Ford,” was driving their black convertible on an icy Route 66 in Oklahoma as the vehicle plunged off of an overpass and dropped 20 feet below into a ravine. Doctors at Wesley Presbyterian Hospital in Oklahoma City told the guitarist they could not rebuild his elbow and they suggested amputation. Refusing to believe this was his only option, Les was flown to Los Angeles where his arm was set at an angle just under 90 degrees, therefore allowing him to cradle and pick up his guitar. It took him almost two years to fully recover. GUITAR INVENTOR AND INNOVATOR Given his predilection for invention and improvement, it is no wonder that the world’s most popular electric guitar model was named for Les Paul. Dissatisfied with the existing acoustic-electric guitars available to him, Paul went to work in 1940 building the innovative “Log” at the Epiphone guitar factory after-hours. Although simplistic in design, the “Log” was comprised of a 4” x 4” chunk of pine with strings and a pickup attached to the neck that he harvested from and existing hollow body guitar. Having built one of the first solid body electric guitars, Les managed to solve two problems he faced: feedback and sustaining sound. He continually tweaked guitars in his possession to both increase playability and eliminate sound issues, but it seemed like no one shared his enthusiasm for invention at the time. In 1941 Paul approached the Gibson Guitar Corporation with his idea for a solid body electric and they literally called him “crazy.” A decade later Fender began marketing its Esquire model and enjoyed great enthusiasm among guitars players at the time. Knowing that they faced steep competition from Fender, Gibson responded by knocking on Les’ door and began a fruitful collaboration between manufacturer and artist until 1961. Paul’s Solid Body Black Custom – forever known by its nickname “Black Beauty” – was delivered to the guitarist in early 1954 for his approval, and subsequently used by Les for innumerable experiments until 1976. Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015 / 3
Gibson went ahead and made some dramatic changes, and resigned the Les Paul model without the artist’s approval in 1961, thus rendering Les dissatisfied with the thinner, lighter, and more aggressive-looking guitar that Paul claimed to have first seen in the window of a music store. Although Gibson insisted that the changes were made in response to declining sales, Les terminated his endorsement and the company renamed the guitar The “Gibson SG,” which stood for “Solid Guitar.” A few years later the original Les Paul design regained major popularity when Eric Clapton began performing on one, as well many other well-known guitar players from the “British Invasion”. Knowing that there was a great demand for the original Les Paul guitar, in 1968 Les resumed his original endorsement arrangement with Gibson and they resumed production from that point onward. INVENTOR OF MULTI-TRACK RECORDING Listening to records he had made in the 1940s, Les was not happy with way things sounded. Studio time was a costly venture for any record label, but the amount of time Les would want to spend tweaking certain details would have cost any label more money than they were willing to spend. During a post-session talk with Big Crosby, however, Bing suggested that Paul attempt to build his own recording studio at home so he would be free to pursue any sound concept that came to mind. A few minutes of 4 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
thought on Les’ part resulted in the construction of his first studio within the garage of his Hollywood home. After the Ampex Company shifted their focus from electronic motors to recording devices in the late 1940s, Les was fortunate enough to have been given one of the company’s first early model reel-to-reel audio tape recording decks by Crosby. (Bing used these devices in the production of his hit radio show, which is where Les became familiar with the technology as he often appeared as a guest. It was also Crosby’s $50,000 investment in Ampex that allowed for the Model 200 to be born.) Capitol Records released a recording in 1948 that began as an experiment in Paul’s home studio entitled “Lover (When You’re Near Me),” which featured Les playing eight different parts on electric guitar -- some of them recorded at half-speed -- hence “doublefast” when played back at a normal speed for the master tape. (Another hit single recorded in a similar manner, “Brazil,” was the B-side to “Lover.”) Despite shopping his multi-tracking technique since the 1930s, this was the first time Paul had used it successfully in a recording that also managed to produce two charted hit songs. Les Paul also used his Ampex Recorder to invent the technique known as Sound-on-Sound, which was achieved by placing an additional playback head before the traditional erase/record/playback heads. Soundon-Sound allowed Les to play along with a previously guernseys.com
recorded track resulting in two separate musical lines to then be mixed together onto a new track. Although the guitar is in and of itself a polyphonic instrument, this invention let Paul further exploit his own talents as a performer, arranger, and sound engineer by creating a level of depth not yet achieved by a single musician in the history of recorded sound. Paul went one step further in the name of innovation and even built his own disc-cutter assembly based on parts from a Cadillac car. In the early days he used the acetate-disk setup to record at different speeds and with delay, which resulted in his signature sound complete with echoes and birdsong-like riffs on guitar. Later on Les was able to transition to magnetic tape, which afforded him the ability to take his recording rig on tour and even prerecord episodes of his radio show from the comforts of his hotel room. Further down the line in the late 1950s, Paul worked with Ampex on the design of the first eight-track recording deck, also utilized in Les’ home recording studio. Famously designed by Les Paul, the eight-track tape recorder swung open the door for modern music recording as we know it today. He commissioned Ampex to build the first of its kind and took delivery of serial no. 1 in 1956. It featured a head designed by Paul that could record or play back tracks. Although he had pioneered the sound-on-sound recording technique as early as 1949, Paul’s initial method of achieving what could only be described as “self-harmonization” was risky in its infant form. Working alongside Ross Snyder (Ampex Manager of Special Products, 1952-60), Les’ new idea to stack all eight
Les posing with Black Beauty and his wife, Mary Ford, for the cover of the 1957 album, Time to Dream
track heads on top of one another allowed him to achieve an exaggerated frequency response with less distortion per recording than ever before. His “Sel-Sync” (Selective Synchronization) design became the industry standard as the age of nondestructive overdubs without loss had finally arrived, forever changing the way the world recorded and listened to music. LES PAUL & MARY FORD: REVOLUTIONIZING SOUND ON RADIO AND TELEVISION Country-western singer Mary Ford (née Iris Colleen Summers) met Les Paul in 1945 and the two began working together three years later. By 1949 they were married and enjoyed a series of hit songs such as “How High the Moon,” “Bye Bye Blues,” “Song in Blue,” “Don’cha Hear Them Bells,” “The World is Waiting for the Sunrise,” and “Vaya con Dios.” These recordings were not chart toppers simply because they were entertaining, they were revolutionary in their employment of Les’ innovations and usage of his pioneering studio devices and close-miking technique. Ford would harmonize atop her own vocal melody and Paul would play different parts of each song on multiple guitars depending on the timbre he desired. The duo’s ability to utilize Les’ Sound-onSound style of recording allowed for freedom and flexibility previously unheard of in the music world. Radio was still the means in which to reach the widest audience, and in 1950 Paul hosted a fifteen-minute program entitled The Les Paul Show on NBC. The program featured his trio (Les, Mary, and rhythm player Eddie Stapleton), his electronic inventions, and banter between the Ford and Paul, which often acted as a segue in between musical numbers. Although the show was customarily recorded in the couple’s home, thanks to Les’ engineering abilities he Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015 / 5
was eventually able to bring his recording rig on tour where he and Mary would pre-record episodes from their hotel. During these radio shows Paul introduced the fictional “Les Paulverizer” device, which served to multiply any sound fed into it. Although it was a simplistic means to justify his unique sound, it was the way he chose to define how his solitary guitar could sound like multiple instruments at one time. Les and Mary chose to even poke fun at the whole phenomenon, with Ford claiming she would “multiply herself” and her vacuum cleaner in an effort to finish the housework that much faster. Later on, Les was able to manufacture a real Les Paulverizer which he attached to his guitar. This invention allowed the megastar to utilize pre-recorded layers of songs during live performances so he could accurately replicate his iconic recorded sound while on stage. As time marched on and television became more widespread, the couple’s radio show retained its format but transitioned to NBC Television as The Les Paul & Mary Ford Show with “Vaya con Dios” as its theme song. Sponsored by Listerine mouthwash, this show was also recorded in their home, but that is because its corporate sponsor went as far as to build an entire television studio right within his home. Using the famed Black Beauty guitar in every episode, The Les Paul & Mary Ford Show successfully aired from 1954 – 1955 and remained in syndication until 6 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
1960. It aired five times a day, five times a week for five minutes, allowing for one or two songs to be broadcast as a brief interlude within the network’s programming schedule. Since Les wrote, recorded, and produced the entire show himself – both audio and video – he retained the original recordings and was in the process of restoring them to conform to modern standards until his 2009 death. The 1960s brought about change to Les Paul’s professional life: he divorced Mary Ford in 1962 and circa 1964-65, entered into semi-retirement. Albums were recorded on occasion as he could still be found in the studio through the mid-1970s. Never one to shy away from innovation, he made an album in 1968 entitled Les Paul Now for London Records that showcased updated versions of his earlier hits. Les also continued to display his versatility and virtuosity as a multi-genre performer when he joined friend and colleague Chet Atkins for the legendary 1976 record Chester & Lester, an album that melded jazz and country improvisation so masterfully that it won the Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance that same year. Two years later the music giants reunited for a second collaboration entitled Guitar Monsters, an album that proved the two virtuosi could dazzle listeners simply by performing with passion and devoid of fancy electronics. With the desire to return to a more active live performance schedule, Les approached the owner of the for legendary guernseys.com
New York City jazz club Fat Tuesday’s in 1984. He sought a spot for a new incarnation of the Les Paul Trio and despite the club being closed each Monday night, Paul eventually persuaded the club’s owner to give him one night each week by offering to play for free. Close friend, luthier, and sound engineer Tom Doyle accompanied Les for 27 years each Monday and personally recorded both the music that was played and the banter the elder Paul engaged in with the captive audience. Although Fat Tuesday’s closed its lower Manhattan doors in 1996, shortly thereafter the Les Paul Trio regained their Monday night residency at Iridium Jazz Club in midtown Manhattan. Everyone that was anyone came out to see Les, who despite his advanced age and arthritis was still a cut above the rest. It was not unusual for other noteworthy musicians such as Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Slash, Joe Walsh, Billy Gibbons, George Benson, Todd Rundgren, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Steve Miller and many other rock luminaries, to join Paul on stage, adding to an already illustrious lineup. No matter who was invited to jump in, all were united in their reverence for the living legend because he made rock and roll a reality.
into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and two years later he proudly accepted the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush. Les Paul was one of those rare individuals who was genuinely curious about everything; but unlike most, however, he acted upon his curiosity. His mind always moved at lightning speed when it came to improving the inadequacies he felt existed in the guitar shop, on stage, or in the recording studio. There was always a solution in Les’ mind and he took it upon himself to find it with whatever materials were available to him. The very definition of a genius, Paul easily maneuvered between life as an inventor, a great guitarist, a humorist of sorts, and consummate entertainer, all the while never losing his Midwestern charm. Les once said, “You can’t go to a store and buy a good ear and rhythm;” however today you can go to a store and buy a Gibson Les Paul, which is perhaps a no greater testament to the man who made the modern electric guitar a reality.
LEGACY Surrounded by family and friends on August 12, 2009, Les Paul died of complications from pneumonia in White Plains, New York. Although he endured several hospital stays in the months leading up to his passing, Paul’s final concert took place just a few weeks before his death. Many artists and popular musicians openly mourned Les and were not shy in their sorrow or their admiration. Former Guns n’ Roses guitarist Slash called him “vibrant and full of positive energy,” while Bon Jovi’s lead guitarist Richie Sambora outwardly referred to him as “revolutionary in the music business.” U2 guitarist The Edge had said, “His legacy as a musician and inventor will live on and his influence on rock and roll will never be forgotten.” Throughout his life his many talents were very much acknowledged. Les Paul won numerous Grammy Awards as a performer, but he too received the Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993 and was honored with a Special Merit/Technical Grammy Award in 2001. Paul was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Rock Wall, and during his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, presenter Jeff Beck famously said, “I’ve copied more licks from Les Paul than I’d like to admit.” Awards were even named for Les as was the case in 1991 when the TEC Foundation inducted Paul into the TEC Hall of Fame and established its annual Les Paul Award to honor “individuals or institutions that have set the highest standards of excellence in the creative application of audio technology.” The award, now known as the Les Paul TEC Award, is presented annually at NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Show in Anaheim, California. The 1990s and 2000s proved to be even more accoladefilled for Paul as he was inducted into the Big Band Hall of Fame, the Jazz Hall of Fame, received an Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award in Engineering, and the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal. His work on the development of the solid body electric guitar earned him a 2005 induction
Two of many photos that show the close working relationship and friendship that existed between Les and Tom Doyle
Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015 / 7
Chester Burton “Chet” Atkins (June 20, 1924 – June 30, 2001) was a seminal American guitarist and record producer who is accredited with having formulated the “Nashville Sound,” which allowed for country music to have crossover appeal into the adult pop market. Aside from his own decorated performing career, Atkins produced records for such household names as Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, and Elvis Presley. Chet’s signature picking style shows influences that spanned from beyond the country genre, as jazz greats Django Reinhardt and George Barnes clearly seep into Atkins’ sound. “The Country Gentleman” as he was often known never turned his back on his Tennessee roots: inspired by Merle Travis and later Jerry Reed, Chet’s intriguing style brought admirers from within and outside the country scene, both within the United States and internationally. Not one to ignore the talents of his peers, either, Chet drew inspiration from Les Paul both as a friend and fellow artist. The recipient of numerous honors, Atkins earned himself 14 Grammy Awards as well as the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, nine Country Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year awards, and was inducted as a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. Some say that the greatest successes are birthed from unimaginable hardship. Chet Atkins was born near Tennessee’s Clinch Mountain and his parents divorced 8 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
when he was merely six years old. As the youngest of three boys and one girl, Chet did not start out as a guitar player, but rather he began his musical journey with a ukulele and eventually a fiddle. By the age of nine he became interested in the guitar, and in order to obtain one he traded his brother Lowell an old pistol and a few chores. In his 1974 autobiography he stated, “We were so poor and everybody around us was so poor that it was the forties before anyone even knew there had been a depression.” Due to his often debilitating asthma, Atkins was eventually forced to move to Georgia and live with his father, and that is when music transformed from hobby to obsession. A young Chet slept in a straight-back chair in order to breathe comfortably throughout the night. Each evening he would strum his guitar until he fell asleep, thus beginning a habit which lasted his entire life. Atkins was an accomplished guitarist even by the time he was in high school, often using the restroom at the Mountain Hill School to practice because he preferred its acoustics. His first guitar had a nail for a nut and was so bowed that only the first few frets were able to be utilized. Chet later bought a semi-acoustic electric guitar and amplifier, but his home lacked electrical outlets so he had to travel many miles if he wished to use the amp. By 1942 Chet had dropped out of school and landed a job at WNOX-AM radio in Knoxville, Tennessee. Atkins would often break out his fiddle and guitar with singer Bill Carlisle and comedian Archie Campbell, and he eventually became a member of the station’s swing instrumental ensemble guernseys.com
the Dixieland Swingsters. After three years in Knoxville he moved to WLW-AM in Cincinnati, Ohio, the former home of one of Atkins’ idols, Mr. Merle Travis. Sadly, Chet’s shyness and sophisticated guitar technique often caused doubts amongst the music community who thought he was not truly “country.” As consequence would have it the young Atkins was often fired and left with having to find another radio station that recognized his unique playing ability. Four years after he abandoned schooling and embraced music full-time, Chet Atkins made his debut at the legendary Grand Ole Opry as a member of Red Foley’s band on WLSAM’s “National Barn Dance.” One year after his debut, Atkins made his first recordings with RCA Victor in Chicago in 1947. Working with the label for nearly a decade, however, did not yet result in him becoming a best-selling artist. Despite this setback, he began to develop a reputation while performing as a guitarist for Mother Maybelle & The Carter Sisters, thus gaining the attention of the Opry where he became a full member in the 1950s. Working alongside Steve Sholes (A&R Director of country music at RCA) organizing Nashville sessions for the company’s recording artists, Chet scored his first hit single with “Mr. Sandman,” followed by “Silver Bell,” which was a duet with Hank Snow. As his albums gained in popularity he was eventually invited to appear on television and performed at ABC’s The Eddy Arnold Show and on Country Music Jubilee. It was at this same that Atkins began his initial relationship with the Gretsch Guitar Manufacturing Company in Brooklyn, NY. The mid-1950s saw Chet’s friend and peer, Les Paul, enjoying great success collaborating with Gibson on the iconic Les Paul Custom guitar series. In the spirit of competition, however, Gretsch Guitars wanted to expand their presence in the marketplace and increase their sales. The company approached Atkins asking him to become a design consultant, seeing as he too was an innovator seeking an ideal sound for his own instrument. After being convinced by Les that this was a great opportunity,
Chet signed a deal with Gretsch resulting in the creation of his 6120 Model. “Dark Eyes” is the now legendary prototype guitar that birthed all other Chet Atkins models constructed between 1954 and 1979. After Steve Sholes transitioned to producing pop music full-time in 1957, Chet was subsequently named manager of RCA Victor’s Nashville division. The label was seeing declines in country music record sales and a change needed to be made in order to appeal to a wider audience, so Atkins eliminated the old fiddle sound and steel guitars in an effort to make country singers subsequently attract pop music fans. This “Nashville Sound” was a moniker created by music media to describe a new style synonymous with Atkins’ style of recording - one that both reigned supreme and angered the likes of fellow musicians Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson that spearheaded “Outlaw Country” to combat Nashville’s squeaky-clean image. As a performer, his trademark “Atkins Style” of playing utilizes the first two -- sometimes three fingers of the right hand. In his younger days Chet listened to Merle Travis on the radio, yet Travis’ style of solely using the thumb and index finger seemed like a tall tale. (It was true, however: Merle Travis only ever used two fingers when he played.) Atkins assumed this technique required the thumb and two fingers, and that was the style he both pioneered and mastered with his guitar. Chet Atkins was a consummate risk-taker: during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the South he signed RCA’s first African-American artist, Charley Pride, a man who sang a raw, unadulterated style of country completely unlike the smooth style Atkins pioneered. After being appointed as the Vice President at RCA’S Nashville division, he felt increasingly stifled by his executive responsibilities because the record company refused to let him branch out into jazz as a solo artist. It is perhaps ironic that the mid-1970s collaborations between Chet and his friend, Les Paul, not only reflected Atkins’ love of jazz, but his natural abilities when it came to working within the heavily experimental genre. Both the Chester & Lester and Guitar Monsters albums were some of the highestgrossing records of Chet’s career; however, he was never labeled as simply a guitarist despite his wishes to be just that. Atkins was criticized by “pure” country musicians for the notable influence jazz Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015 / 9
exerted in his recordings, yet many failed to recognize he chose to play by ear as a means of keeping his superb improvisational skills at the ready. Aside from being great friends, there exists some noteworthy parallels between Chet Atkins and Les Paul with respect to their humble beginnings and landmark careers. Both men developed their own unique styles of playing based on guitarists they admired. Chet idolized Merle Travis and spent hours listening to the radio in an effort to emulate Travis’ two-finger picking technique, whereas Les loved the gypsy stylings of three-fingered guitarist Django Reinhardt. Both Atkins and Paul were innovators at heart, each at the helm of some of the most significant sound innovations of the late 20th-century. Their respective collaborations with Gibson (Les Paul) and Gretsch (Chet Atkins) resulted in two legendary prototype guitars that served each musician’s engineering mindset, thus resulting in the birth of the modern electric guitar. The recipient of numerous awards, including 14 Grammys and nine Country Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year awards, Chet’s talents were recognized by the Academy despite often being criticized by his peers. In 1993 he was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and four years later Billboard magazine awarded
Friends to the end:
10 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
Atkins their Century Award, considered to be their highest honor for distinguished creative achievement. Chet continued performing until the mid-1990s, but his second cancer diagnosis in 1996 signaled a rapid decline in his health. (He was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 1973, but subsequently beat the disease only to develop a brain tumor 23 years later.) Atkins died at his Nashville, Tennessee home on June 30, 2001. A year after his death, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Despite all of the criticism he received from the country music world while he was alive, 2003 saw Chet Atkins ranked at no. 28 in CMT’s Greatest Men of Country Music. Musicians far and wide have cited Chet as a major influence and his memory lives on in tribute songs and albums, those who have adopted “Atkins Style” picking in their playing, and even in the recording studios with respect to design and microphone placement. His early work with Gretsch helped define what eventually became one of the two most prominent electric guitar models ever produced for the mass market (Dark Eyes), and certainly his kind character will never be forgotten by those who knew him. Perhaps the best way to sum up Chet Atkins would be citing the way he described his own life’s work, for he said, “Everything I’ve ever done was out of fear of being mediocre.”
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TOM DOYLE After first hearing Les Paul and Mary Ford, Tom Doyle began playing guitar at the tender age of eight years old. Intrigued by their sound, he began emulating Les as well as Chet Atkins’ style of playing. Tom began collecting all the records he could find of his two guitar heroes, all the while attempting to mimic their unique styles while developing his own. During his high school years Doyle performed alongside his family, eventually reducing down the ensemble to a brother and sister act. The duo worked for the Bitter End in New York City and became the opening act for Richie Havens, The Lovin’ Spoonful, and the Butterfield Blues Band. As he evolved as a self-taught musician, Tom developed his own fingerstyle technique and became known by fellow guitarists as “Eight Track.” Early on Tom had experimented with amplifiers, speaker cabinets, and tape recorders in order to re-create some of the effects that Les Paul and Mary Ford implemented on their studio recordings, but Tom wanted this done live. Little did he know that Les – one of his idols -- would one day come to see him and his sister perform. From that point on a burgeoning friendship and collaboration with Les Paul was in the works, resulting in over 45 years of Tom Doyle acting as Les’ luthier, guitar tech, sound engineer, and confidant. Just like Les, Tom too had an inventive mind, and he was always looking for that perfect sound. (This made him experiment, design, and tinker with his guitars constantly.) As early as the 1960s, Tom began developing his own pickups and designed guitars that would be aimed at a sound that no one else had. He also began making modifications for 12 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
other guitarists and doing their repairs as well. Tom became so well known for his creative work that he started his own business in 1970 as a luthier, laying the foundation for Tom to begin the development of his own guitars and unique pickups. Most recently Doyle perfected Les Paul’s final invention, The Doyle Coils TRU-CLONES Humbucker pickups that finally deliver the articulation and clarity that Les was always looking for in a humbucker pickup. Tom has been a luthier for over 50 years and currently runs his own guitar building school in New Jersey. In addition to being an exceptional guitarist, he has built, customized, repaired, and modified guitars for such artists as George Benson, Sting, Bucky Pizzarelli, Al Caiola, Al di Meola, Tony Mottola, Jimmy Page, Vernon Reid (of Living Color fame), and of course Les Paul, amongst others. Tom now plays his own handmade “Doyle 1850 Guitar,” featuring his own low impedance pickups. According to Doyle’s friend and business partner Max Stavron, Les was known to appear at Tom’s door at unusual hours with bags and buckets full of guitar parts announcing that yet again he was in pursuit of something specific. Les had pried open various guitars with a hammer and hot screwdriver searching for a new sound, and as always, needed Tom to put the pieces back together again. During one particular occasion in 1976, Les brought a number of guitars to Doyle to be restored and refurbished. As usual, he had given Tom a mountain of work and a short time frame in which to complete it. When it became apparent guernseys.com
to Les that Tom was overwhelmed and downright irritated by the demands, he decided to give Doyle one of the guitars as a gift to show his friend how much his work meant to him over the years. Les gifted Tom his precious Black Custom, the iconic and priceless guitar forever known as “Black Beauty.” Considering that Black Beauty was passed directly from Les to Tom, the guitar is irrefutably the original 1954 Les Paul Custom bestowed to Les by Gibson. At Les’ request, Tom has kept the guitar, as well as the original receipt from the deal stating “No Charge,” for over forty years. He has finally decided to put Black Beauty on the market, however, with the hopes that it will be loaned permanently (or donated) to a museum for all Les Paul fans to enjoy into perpetuity. As fate would have it, a student guitarist and singer, Sandy Cory, came into Tom’s life when Tom was in his late 50s. Tom and Les both recognized Sandy’s great talent and began to perform gigs with her as part of the act. Their musical partnership slowly started to be perfected and developed into a fantastic duo both on and off-stage. Since the passing of Les Paul, “Tom & Sandy” were the opening act in the Les Paul Room at the Iridium Club in New York City on Monday nights for the “Les Paul Tribute Show”. They perform Les Paul and Mary Ford’s hits, as well as some original material. Together they have received rave reviews of their performances. Tom and Sandy combine beautiful instrumentation of guitar, vocals, flute, and drums, which
they perform regularly at various clubs, private parties, and benefits around the country. Over the many years of working with Les Paul, Tom has acquired an amazing firsthand account of 20th century music history. He witnessed the invention and development of the electric guitar as it stands today, along with many remarkable pieces of memorabilia, artifacts, and several historically- significant guitars. Tom is currently working to bring his collection to the world, for these pieces represent possibly some of the most important musical developments of the last century, as well as symbolize America’s collective musical culture.
LEGENDARY MUSICIANS WHO PLAYED LES PAUL GUITARS Eric Clapton Paul McCartney (owns a rare, left-handed 1957 Goldtop) Ace Frehley (KISS) Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) John Lennon Jerry Garcia Bob Marley (*buried with his Les Paul Special) Joe Bonamassa Carlos Santana Joe Perry (Aerosmith) Slash (Guns nâ€™ Roses) Jimi Hendrix Jeff Beck Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) Al Di Meola Neil Young Frank Zappa Pete Townsend (The Who) George Harrison (The Beatles) Elliot Easten (The Cars) Gary Moore (Skid Row) Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) Tom Scholz Sammy Hagar (Van Halen) Sheryl Crow Lenny Kravitz The Edge (U2) Tak Matsumoto Joe Walsh (Eagles) Pat Metheny Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) Alex Lifeson (Rush) Peter Frampton Muddy Waters Steve Clark (Def Leppard) Martin Barre (Jethro Tull)
LEGENDARY MUSICIANS WHO PLAYED CHET ATKINS GUITARS George Harrison Eddie Cochran Elvis Presley Duane Eddy Hilton Valentine (The Animals) Steve Marriott (Small Faces) Lou Reed (Velvet Underground) Sterling Morrison (Velvet Underground) John Squire (The Stone Roses) Pete Townshend (The Who) Brian Setzer (The Stray Cats) Brian O’Hara (The Fourmost) John Lennon (The Beatles) Keith Scott Brandi Carlile Jim Heath (Reverend Horton Heat) Chris Cheney (The Living End) James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers) Neil Young Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and solo) Chris Isaak (owns a one of a kind Gibson prototype modeled after the Gretsch 6120) Gary Lightbody (Snow Patrol) Ed Roland (Collective Soul) Keith Hopwood (Herman’s Hermits) Paul Jackson Jr. Al Dual Hank Marvin (The Shadows) Bruce Welch (The Shadows) Richard Hawley (Longpigs, Pulp, and solo) Tim Armstrong (Rancid, Transplants) James Bagshaw (Temples) Joe Robinson Yayo Gonzalez (Pate de Fua)
1 Les Paul’s Stage Stool from Fat Tuesday’s in New York City This vinyl cushioned stool was no doubt worn down during Les Paul’s many performances at Fat Tuesday’s in lower Manhattan beginning in 1984. He used this seat while playing alongside fellow guitarist Lou Pallo and bassist Gary Mazzaroppi as the Les Paul Trio, as well as noted guest performers such as, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) and Steve Miller, along with many other famous rock and roll luminaries. It was Les’ choice seat for every performance during his first four or five years of residency in the tiny jazz club in New York City after first came out of retirement, making it an integral piece of memorabilia from a series of shows that shook the guitar world off its very foundation. Tom Doyle acquired the stage stool after Fat Tuesday’s closed in 1996 and, until recently, used the stool during his own performances with his wife, Sandy for their les Paul Tribute Show. During each performance Tom would ask the audience, “What do you think is the most valuable item on this stage?” The crowd would of course point to his wife or to his guitar, but Tom would just laugh and announce, “No, its Les Paul’s stool!” Dimensions: 29”x 17” Estimate: $4,000 - 6,000
16 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
2 The Sign from Fat Tuesday’s “LES PAUL APPEARS EVERY MONDAY NIGHT” The sign from Fat Tuesday’s advertising Les Paul’s weekly gigs at the famed club. Les first retired from performing in 1964, but returned to the stage exactly twenty years later. In 1984, he approached the booking agent at Fat Tuesday’s, asking if his trio could perform on Monday nights, but that was the one day the club was closed. After speaking with Les and clarifying a few details, the booking agent immediately called the club’s owner since Les Paul offered up his talent for free, thus ushering in years of legendary performances. Many refer to the residency of the Les Paul Trio at Fat Tuesday’s as Les “holding court,” seeing as everyone from fellow famous musicians to politicians and actors came to see Les work his magic on his classic tunes. This six-foot black and white sign was mounted above the door of the club from 1984 to 1996, until Fat Tuesday’s had finally decided to close its doors for good. (Les reprised his trio’s residency about two months later at the original Iridium in Midtown Manhattan, and then continued on at the new Iridium at 51st and Broadway. He performed there until several weeks before his death in 2009.) Tom Doyle, having worked the sound booth for 27 years at all of these shows, was contacted by the club’s staff after Fat Tuesday’s had shut its doors, and was granted permission to take the large sign as a memento. Dimensions: 82” x 10” Estimate: $6,000 - 8,000
Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015 / 17
3 The Original 16 Track Soundboard from Fat Tuesday’s The Original 16 Track TOA Soundboard from Fat Tuesday’s used during every one of Les Paul’s performances from 1984 to 1996. It maintains the original tape labels from the Les Paul Trio’s Fat Tuesday shows, including labels for Les, Lou Pallo, and Gary Mazzaroppi. (There is also a label on the far left of the soundboard marked “Frank,” which refers to guitarist Frank Vignola who often made guest appearances during these Monday shows.) During his residency at the famed jazz club, Les would put new spins on classic melodies such as “How High the Moon,” “Caravan,” and his exquisite arrangement of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The soundboard was also used when guitarists Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Rick Derringer (The McCoys and Steely Dan, amongst others), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (Doobie Brothers), Steve Miller, and jazz great George Benson sat in with Les at the club, adding even more prestige to this equipment’s storied history. Dimensions: 25 ¾” x 27” x 4 ½” Estimate: $8,000 - 12,000
18 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
4 Original Ampex Recording Machine from Les Paul’s Home Studio One of the first Ampex 300 Recording Machines from Ampex’s original office in San Carlos, California. Established by Russian inventor Alexander Matthew Poniatoff, the Ampex Electric and Manufacturing Company (as it was originally known) began as a small company that produced high-quality electric motors and generators for radars during World War II. After the war, Poniatoff and his team began to shift their focus to recording devices. Ampex eventually revolutionized the radio and recording industries due to the superior audio quality of their machines and their subsequent ease of operation. In fact, the first two units of its initial tape recorder – the Ampex Model 200A – were used exclusively by ABC to record and broadcast The Bing Crosby Show. Les, a personal friend of Bing’s and often a guest on his show, became familiarized with Ampex machines through this connection and immediately began to experiment with recordings. This Ampex Model 300 was one of six or seven used in Les’ personal recording studio during the mid-1950’s in his home in Mahwah, New Jersey. Les used the Ampex in the editing of his recordings so frequently that the right reel is scratched from the razor used to cut the tape. The machine was used to exhaustion and no longer works, but the evidence of Les’ constant use during recordings and experiments makes it a significant piece of memorabilia for both the Les Paul fan and those highly interested in the history of recorded sound technology. Dimensions: 36 ¼” x 25” x 26” Estimate: $10,000 - 12,000
Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015 / 19
5 1951 55S Shure Multi-Impedance “Unidyne” Microphone 55S Shure Multi-Impedance “Unidyne” Microphone manufactured in 1951. Used during the 1950’s in Les Paul’s home recording studio in Mahwah, New Jersey, the 55S model was considered ideal for broadcasting, recording, and other sound applications during its heyday. Also known as the “Unidyne” Dynamic, Shure once described the hallmark characteristic of this mic as having been obtained by the “uniphase” principle, which more simply put allowed for a highly satisfactory sound when difficult acoustic conditions would render a conventional microphone utterly useless. Like their friend and fellow star Bing Crosby, Les Paul and Mary Ford used this microphone extensively for the now-ubiquitous recording technique known as close miking, where the microphone is less than six inches from the singer’s mouth. This produces a more-intimate, less-reverberant sound than is heard when a singer is one foot or more away. When implemented using a pressure-gradient (uni- or bi-directional) microphone as Paul and Ford did with the 55S Shure, it emphasizes low-frequency sounds in the voice due and can give a more relaxed feel to any given recording or live performance. The result of close miking is a singing style which diverged strongly from unamplified theater-style singing popular in the musical comedies of 1930’s and 1940’s. Dimensions: 49” h (w/stand) Estimate: $4,000 - 6,000
20 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
6 RCA 74-B Microphone with Atlas Sound Stand from Les Paul’s Home Studio Chrome RCA 74-B Ribbon Microphone complete with Atlas Sound mic stand from the 1930’s. Produced from the mid1930’s up until 1950, the 74-B featured a unique ball and socket-type stand mounting that allowed the mic to be titled up or down depending on how one wanted the sound picked up. Complete with its shiny chrome windscreen and black bottom, this model had wide appeal both for recording artists and radio stations alike. This specific microphone had been in Les’ possession since the late 1930’s and was used in his home studio in Jackson Heights, Queens, where his hit “How High the Moon” was first recorded. The RCA 74-B was also used during Les’ early radio career in the late 1930’s, notably for recordings of his performances on the popular “Fred Waring Radio Show.” Dimensions: 75” h (w/stand) Estimate: $4,000 - 6,000
Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015 / 21
7 Ampex 400 Recording Machine from Les Paul’s Home Studio Purchased by Les circa 1952-1953, the Ampex 400 is the smaller, more portable version of the Ampex 300 model extensively used in his home studio in Mahwah, New Jersey. Tom Doyle purchased this device during a sale that offered items from the estate of Billy Graham. Les sold this unit to Billy Graham and his production company for his radio program back in 1968, where it was used and resided until Tom purchased it back from Rev. Graham’s estate in 2010. This 400 model is one of the two Ampex machines featured on a progressive 1953 television series entitled Omnibus. Omnibus aired on ABC and showcased America’s most innovative and articulate musicians, artists, scientists, and scholars. One of the show’s most popular segments featured a special musical act – but with a technical slant. Host Alistair Cooke interviewed guests Les Paul and Mary Ford one evening about their pioneering recording techniques, most notably the overdubbing technique featured in Les’ hit song “How High the Moon.” It also was used in the editing room photograph featured in the centerfold of the 1968 album Phase 4 Stereo -Les Paul Now. Dimensions: 13 ½” x 20 ½” x 17” Estimate: $10,000 - 12,000
22 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
8 Handwritten Setlists for the Les Paul Trio at Fat Tuesday’s - Six Pages - 10/6/86, 12/8/86, 1/12/87, 1/19/87, 1/26/87, 2/2/87 Individual sheets of yellow paper containing set lists for six of Les’ shows at Fat Tuesday’s in New York City. Handwritten in ink on both sides. As was often the case, the songs chosen for each night were sometimes the result of requests by
A SAMPLING... 1. Liza 2. I’ll See you in My Dreams 3. Where or When 4. Nuages 5. How High the Moon 6. Just One More Chance 7. Body and Soul 8. Sheik of Araby 9. September Song 10. For You 11. Nagasaki 12. Chicken Reel 13. Bewitched 14. All of Me
1. Deep in the Blue 2. I Got Rhythm 3. You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me 4. I’ll See You in My Dreams 5. Magic Melody 6. Caravan 7. I Can’t Get Started 8. Brazil 9. Nuages 10. Ain’t Misbehavin’ 11. You Took Advantage of Me 12.There’s a Small Hotel 13.Undecided
loyal fans in attendance. Estimate: $2,000 - 4,000
Two Scripts for the Special “Les Paul & Friends: He Changed the Music” (1988) Two copies of the script for the 1988 tribute special “Les Paul & Friends: He Changed the Music,” filmed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. One with Tom’s handwritten notes, the other a clean copy. These two scripts are dated nearly eight months to the day that Les Paul was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 1988. Each script mapped out performances by the Les Paul Trio, as well as appearances by rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen, jazz musician Stanley Jordan, and country superstars Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. One copy dated August 16, 1988 has Tom Doyle’s handwritten notes regarding changes to the script and setlist both in pencil and blue ink. The other script dated August 18, 1998 is clean and includes fully typed revisions, some of which were penciled in on the previous copy. Estimate: $1,000 - 1,500
Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015 / 23
10 A Unique Collection of 80 Les Paul Gig Cassettes from Fat Tuesday’s (1984-1990) This collection of approximately 150 shows features an array of live recordings of Les Paul and his Trio during their residency at Fat Tuesday’s in lower Manhattan. (Each tape was made by running cables directly from the stage into the soundboard.) Les was a perfectionist no matter the situation, and his constant search for achieving an ideal sound was something he chased until the day he died: once one problem was solved he would then isolate another and work with trusted friend, sound engineer, and personal luthier Tom Doyle in an effort to get actually what was needed and wanted. In between sets and on the way home from the club, Les and Tom would take the recordings and listen to them in Les’ car. They would note the improvements that needed to be made during a given set and then continue to practice and experiment with sound configurations until the following week’s performance. According to Tom Doyle, Les never did find the exact sound he was looking for, and consequently Tom was asked to stop recording the sessions once the trio’s weekly shows morphed into the phenomenon they are viewed as today. This collection of tapes are some of the most extensive recordings of Les’ Fat Tuesday’s performances, highlighting hits throughout his illustrious career as well as cover songs that featured Les Paul’s personal arrangements of many classic melodies. Each tape represents a full show, with the first set on one side and the second set on the other. Taped by Tom Doyle at Les’ request, this is the its type in the world as has never been duplito the music that was performed, each
only existing collection of cated. In addition tape is
full of stories Les would tell in between songs as well as banter between himself and the crowd. Estimate: $20,000 - 30,000
24 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
Les Paul’s Original DeArmond Analog Tremolo Control with Transformer
Mary Ford’s Music Stand
Les’ original Tremolo Control used to create the auditory
the 1950’s. The stand was located in the in-home studio
effects in Les and Mary’s hit song from the early 1950’s,
she shared with husband Les Paul in Mahwah, New
“Vaya con Dios”. This was the most popular version of
Jersey. Mary would use the stand to hold her sheet
the song ever recorded and it sold four million copies in
music while recording with Les, most often for the Lister-
a three-month time span, along with having soared to
ine-sponsored Les Paul and Mary Ford Show.
Model 25 Norwood Music Stand used by Mary Ford in
the No. 1 spot in the “Best Seller” category in Billboard Magazine beginning on August 8, 1953. (“Vaya con
Estimate: $1,000 - 2,000
Dios” remained at No. 1 for eleven weeks.) In 2005 this Les Paul and Mary Ford recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Forever the innovator, Les attached a transformer on the back of the machine, which allowed him to alternate between high impedance and low impedance. The Tremolo Control is an ingenious electromechanical device, for hidden within the small metal box is an electric motor with a oblong driving spindle that shakes a vial containing electrolytic liquid. (Les used Windex.) The electrical signal runs through that fluid; as it sloshes up and down, it allows more or less signal to pass, and the volume modulates. Another Les Paul “modification” would be the three red dots on the face of the Tremolo Control. According to Tom Doyle, Les often used nail polish on devices of his such as this DeArmond, the Ampex Recorders, and even on his guitars to mark the positions in which he preferred the respective knobs to be adjusted. Tremolo Control: 12” x 6” x 6” / Transformer: approx. 2” Estimate: $2,000 - 3,000
Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015 / 25
Original Late 1940’s Gibson Factory Stevens Pickup Winder
Cartoon Drawing of Les Paul from Fat Tuesday’s
Stevens Pickup Winder used to make Gibson P-90
A cartoon caricature of Les Paul that once hung at the
pickups from the late 1940’s to the late 1960’s. In the
legendary New York City jazz club Fat Tuesday’s. The
mid 1970’s, Gibson moved most of their old factory in
finished, painted image clearly showcases Les’ face
Kalamazoo, Michigan to Nashville, Tennessee. Knowing
and trademark grin. Still visible however is the artist’s
that Les Paul was an avid tinkerer and experimenter,
attempt to incorporate Black Beauty into the sketch,
Gibson invited the star to come down to the Kalama-
but that portion remains only in light pencil.
zoo factory and take any machinery that would not be transferred over to the company’s new location. Since
Dimensions: 20 ½” x 16 ½”
Les often created his own low impedance pickups, he
Estimate: $1,500 - 2,500
chose to bring the Gibson factory’s discarded pickup winder to his home in Mahwah, New Jersey. This impressive piece of Gibson history was not only used for the mass production of Gibson pickups until the late 1960’s, but was also personally used by Les to craft his own prototype pickups and experiment extensively in his home laboratory right up until the early 1980’s when he gave this unit to Tom. Dimensions: 12” x 29 ¾” x 18” Estimate: $10,000 - 12,000
26 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
15 Les Paul’s Decade Resistor and Resistance Capacitance Switch Box Les Paul’s Decade Resistor (12 ¾” x 4 ¼” x 3 ½”) and Resistance-Capacitance Switchbox (10” x 8” x5”) used from the late 1950’s through the late 1960’s. Les would work with these two devices when making low impedance coils and circuitry for his guitars. They allowed Les to calculate the resistances and ohms measurement of a coil so that he could produce duplicates of his Les Paul prototypes. Both items were used in creating experimental coils that were placed on Black Beauty during its various incarnations. Estimate: $1,000 - 2,000
Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015 / 27
16 1956 Gretsch Chet Atkins Black Sealed Top 6120 Prototype “Dark Eyes” In addition to the other historically-significant items being offered from Tom Doyle’s personal collection is the 1956 Gretsch Chet Atkins Black Sealed Top 6120 Prototype, more commonly known by fans worldwide as “Dark Eyes.” This one-off Black 6120 model was one of two prototypes Gretsch made for Atkins. (The other was the traditional orange). While Gibson enjoyed much success making a signature artist guitar that was openly used and endorsed Les Paul, by the mid-1950s Gretsch saw an opportunity to increase their own market share and wanted to also enlist the services of a celebrity. (Chet was already known to play a Gretsch Streamliner, thus making him the perfect candidate.) Although initially unsure of the project, the young Atkins consulted with Les Paul – an old friend and colleague – and Paul assured him this deal would result in nothing but positive strides in his budding career. Chet used the instrument as the benchmark for the many experiments and innovations that would eventually develop the 6120 Model for the mass market. This guitar served as a precursor for many of Gretsch’s most popular models, including the Country Gentleman, the George Harrison model, and the Brian Setzer, among others. With Chet as their new spokesman and with his name on their guitars, Gretsch’s sales grew as did their reputation. The 6120 Chet Atkins Hollow Body and the 6121 Chet Atkins Solid Body were the first models produced with the artist’s endorsement; yet aside from bearing his name, the guitars were constructed with very little input from Atkins himself. (His only suggestions at the time were the addition of the metal nut and metal bridge in order to sustain sound.) Chet was however actively involved in designing two early Gretsch electrics, and each were unique offerings to a guitar-loving public hungry for a new sound. In collaboration with Gretsch in 1956, Atkins designed a pair of specially-constructed 6120 models, the second of which being the legendary Dark Eyes offered here from Tom Doyle’s private collection. The first instrument had the same dimensions and Western style design as the 1955 Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 Hollow Body; however, unlike the production model, it had a thick top measuring about half an inch and was entirely sealed. It featured painted outlines of f-holes in the place of real sound holes preventing feedback and enhancing sustainability of sound. Unfortunately for Atkins, this first model’s thick top made it 28 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
Iâ€™m proud that Chet Atkins and the Gretsch family will be forever linked. Today, his name and distinctive signature appear on 16 Gretsch models, including 6120, Country Gentleman and Tennessean guitars. They all follow the faithful formula and recipe from the 1950s and are more popular than ever today. A true testament to what can happen when the right people and the right company come together with the right purpose in mind.
-Fred W. Gretsch
somewhat heavy and therefore uncomfortable to play. He asked Gretsch to make a second model that was easier to handle with a more understated design, and thus Dark Eyes was born. Featuring a laminated maple top that was thinner than the previous guitar but still thicker than standard, the guitar was finished in a refined black color instead of orange like its predecessors. The fingerboard inlays were unembellished blocks and the cowboy decorations were gone except for a horseshoe inlay on the headstock with engraved nail holes. The guitar appeared to have f-holes that in reality were glued-on paper templates traced by Atkins off of his D’Angelico archtop. This second unique 1956 Gretsch Chet Atkins Black Sealed Top 6120 guitar was not only much more elegant than its first incarnation, but also much easier to play, and Chet started using it immediately. Although Dark Eyes served him well, by the early 1960s the country music star began to use another namesake Gretsch model -- the 6122 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman -- more frequently than its predecessor. He gave his prized prototype to friend and RCA Records colleague Bill Porter, the audio engineer who famously recorded stars such as Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Chet himself. Porter kept this legendary instrument in his possession for about thirty years until he finally sold it to the Guitar Emporium in Louisville, Kentucky in the early 1990s. Less than ten years later, Dark Eyes was purchased by internationally-recognized guitar collector Scott Chinery, who used it as a centerpiece in an extensive exhibit on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in 1999. Tom Doyle was the appointed head luthier, caretaker, and curator for The Chinery Collection at the museum and, being an avid Chet Atkins fan, Tom understandably took a
special interest in Dark Eyes. Doyle remembers speaking to Chinery about the 6120 Black Sealed Top Guitar:
I always told Scott that I loved that Gretsch. It is a truly unique guitar that embodies Chet Atkins’ spirit of innovation and experimentation. I knew it was a historically important guitar from the moment I first saw it. You can see that Chet used this guitar as a springboard for many of his greatest ideas.
Chinery, aware of Doyle’s fascination with Dark Eyes, offered it to him as a gift in October 2000. According to Tom he initially did
not understand that the guitar was meant as a gift; he assumed
that Scott was giving it to him to repair and therefore continued to ask him when he needed it returned or what he would like to be restored. After some convincing on Chinery’s part, however, Dark Eyes became part of Tom Doyle’s private collection. Tom recalls Scott uttering this exact phrase, “Tom -- knowing your background with Les and Chet – you should have this guitar!” It made the perfect “historical bookend” when paired with Les’ Black Beauty. The pair represents the very essence of the beginnings of the development
30 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
Les Paul (L) and Chet Atkins (R) on the cover of their 1976 Grammy Awardwinning album, Chester & Lester
of the modern electric guitar for both Gibson and Gretsch. It is not lost on most collectors and aficionados that “Chester and Lester” and their two history-making guitars are back together again. Gretsch’s Senior Product Manager, Joe Carducci, was recently invited to inspect Dark Eyes and has confirmed that the guitar in Tom’s collection is the original Chet Atkins 6120 Prototype. According to Carducci, Dark Eyes is “The Holy Grail of Gretsch guitars,” an integral piece embodying the start of a long legacy between Chet Atkins and Gretsch Guitars. Atkins played the Black Sealed Top guitar on numerous television broadcasts, performing tunes such as “Alabama Jubilee” and “Dark Eyes,” the latter of which became the 6120 model’s nickname. There are a number of photographs showcasing Chet playing Dark Eyes at the Grand Ole Opry, some of which are the earliest images of the guitar being used on stage. Like Les Paul’s Black Beauty, Dark Eyes too was a prototype that constantly underwent modification. In a photograph dated 1956, Chet is seen holding what looks like an incomplete version of the iconic instrument. Despite appearing unfinished, the bar bridge, horseshoe headstock, and simple block fingerboard inlays are consistently seen in later photographs, making them telltale signs of Atkins’ preferences. The 6120 Black Sealed Top guitar in the early Grand Ole Opry photo also appears to have a short Gretsch pickguard, a “bent wire” Bigsby arm personally designed by Atkins, and prototype Ray-Butts Filter’tron humbucking pickups: the appearance of which notably predate the visible use of humbuckers on Gibson guitars by a year. In addition to public performances, The 6120 Black Sealed Top was used regularly during various recordings, most notably the sessions for the EP Mr. Atkins, if You Please in July 1957. A photograph of Chet with the Louvin Brothers, dated August 1957, shows Dark Eyes in a more recognizable form, with fine black finished sides, a flat handle Bigsby arm, a Gretsch Chet Atkins “signpost” pickguard, and a switch in place of the bridge pickup volume control. The paper templates were replaced with large
Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015 / 31
standard Gretsch simulated f-holes made of gold sparkle Nitron. Photos from the late 1950’s showcasing Chet Atkins at the Grand Ole Opry reveal that he would often change the handles on the instrument, alternating between the original “bent-wire” arm seen in 1957, a stainless-steel swing-away arm, and a flat handle. Dark Eyes still retains traces of the modifications made by Atkins between 1957 and the early 1960s right before the guitar was given to Bill Porter. The instrument had been mounted with a short pickguard in 1956, but it was later replaced by various long Gretsch company pickguards. A pair of screw holes fitting the dimensions of a short Gretsch pickguard point verifies the early switch and also proves that the unfinished guitar with the short pickguard pictured with Chet at the 1956 Grand Ole Opry is in fact the same Dark Eyes as the one in Tom Doyle’s collection. There are about four additional screw holes at the rear of the headstock, apparently left over from a time when Atkins had the guitar mounted on his studio wall. In the early 1960s before Chet gave Dark Eyes to Bill Porter, he replaced Ray Butts’ Filter’Tron prototype pickups with two singlecoil DeArmond pickups which remain on the instrument today. While switching out the pickups, however, Atkins unfortunately scratched the pole piece located on the bridge pickup. “I took a pair of wire pliers and broke the tips off the pickup magnets to try and reduce their pull and get a better balance, I don’t think it helped any,” Chet recalls in his book Me and My Guitar. The bridge pickup volume control mounting hole is completely absent of paint as a result of another one of Mr. Guitar’s experiments in which he first installed a toggle switch and later an output jack. It can be said that this 1956 Black Sealed Top 6120 prototype is truly the guitar that started it all for Gretsch, as well as having helped boost Chet Atkins into the limelight. The basis for many experiments both in the luthiery arts and sound technology, Atkins’ collaboration with guitar manufacturer and later work with pickup pioneer Ray Butts resulted in the birth of many subsequent Chet Atkins models coveted by the likes of Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Mike Campbell, Duane Eddy, George Harrison, Pete Townshend, and Brian Setzer to name a few. From the hands of Mr. Guitar himself to Bill Porter, Scott Chinery, and now Les Paul’s personal friend/luthier/guitar tech Tom Doyle, Dark Eyes stands as veritable proof of the most prolific era in American music history. Estimate on request.
Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015 / 33
17 Les Paul’s 1954 Black Solid Body Custom Guitar “Black Beauty” Les Paul’s 1954 Black Solid Body Custom guitar - commonly referred to as “Black Beauty” - is probably the most widely recognizable symbol of a multi-platform career that spanned 80 years. Les himself was a pioneer and consummate innovator, and this remarkable piece of music history is a living testament to the instrumental role he played in the creation of the modern electric guitar. Considering its storied past, it should not come as a shock that luthier Tom Doyle dubs this historic instrument “the Mona Lisa of electric guitars;” even the Gibson Guitar Company places Paul’s work on par to that of Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell within the realm of rock and roll. There was never a doubt in Les’ mind that a quality solid body electric guitar could be and should be produced for the mass market. Prior to being approached by Gibson in 1952, Paul spent a decade tinkering with instruments already in his possession: he had ideas and always found a way to act upon them. Amongst Les’ innumerable fans was Gibson’s President and CEO Ted McCarty, and together McCarty knew that collaborative efforts with a talent such as Les’ would allow them both to change the sound of American popular music. After the two attempts to build a solid body electric guitar (known as The Gold Top) resulted in multiple design flaws, Les demanded that a better quality instrument be made if it were to bear his name. Shortly after two ill-fated attempts to create a guitar as unique and dapper as the man it was named for, out of the Gibson factory came this 1954 Les Paul Black Custom. The design of the guitar emulated that of a formal tuxedo, with its body draped entirely in black and embellished with impressive triple binding and gold hardware. This is the very first Les Paul guitar to feature the newly developed tune-o-matic bridge and stoptail piece system, finer inlays, and higher refinements, all of the issues with both the 1952 and 1953 Les Paul Gold Top models were resolved with this instrument. Though initially known as the 1954 Les Paul Black Custom, this marvel eventually came to be called “Black Beauty,” and it was more than just a well-used prototype: Black Beauty helped birth rock and roll and some of the genre’s most pivotal artists. All other Les Paul Models would now be based on this guitar’s design, features, and specs, and this instrument is the very genesis of every other Les Paul guitar that Gibson would ever make through modern day. Many of today’s most accomplished musicians keep multiple Les Paul models in their arsenal and play them extensively, including Jimmy Page, Slash, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck, Neil Young, Dave Grohl, Peter Frampton, Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, amongst others. Some of the most famous names in modern rock and blues history proudly played on their own Les Pauls, such as Gary Moore and the legendary Peter Green, and innumerable 34 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
That’s where I heard feedback first – from Les Paul. Also vibratos – even before B.B. King, you know. I’ve traced a hell of a lot of rock and roll, little riffs and things, back to Les Paul – it’s all there. I mean, he’s the father of it all: multi-tracking and everything else. If it hadn’t been for him, there wouldn’t have been anything really. -Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin
others. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of these fine instruments are used around the globe as the guitar of choice for serious players and performers. This seminal Les Paul Black Custom, named for the “Godfather of the Electric Guitar,” was the prototype from which all other Les Paul guitars were born. By the 1950s, Les Paul and wife Mary Ford were on top of the world. Their hit program on NBC Radio, The Les Paul Show, was adored by the American public and the way Les showcased music, his inventions, and garnered fans with humorous banter between himself and his wife. By 1954 the famous couple transitioned their program to the newest entertainment medium – television – and the world caught a better glimpse of Black Beauty because of it. Sponsored by Listerine, The Les Paul & Mary Ford Show aired five times a day, five times a week for fifteen minutes, and Les played his Black Custom in every single episode. Realizing the appeal of filming the two stars in their actual house surrounded by Les’ futuristic devices, Listerine did the unthinkable and built a functioning television studio in Les’ home in Mahwah, New Jersey. From the moment Paul received Black Beauty he began tinkering with it, and it was not uncommon for viewers each week to tune in and see a modified version of the guitar based on the sound he desired at that time. According to longtime friend, luthier, and guitar technician Tom Doyle, Les even went as far as to modify his guitar during the show, since more than one song was performed each episode. Also referred to at this time as his “recording guitar,” Black Beauty was used for many of Les Paul’s hit songs, such as “How High the Moon,” “Vaya con Dios,” and “I’m Sittin’ on Top of the World.” Even though he considered the 1954 Black Custom a success, Les famously continues to use this guitar for experiments for over twenty years. Whether it was a new song or an old chart-topper with an alternative arrangement, Paul constantly tinkered with this guitar so that whatever effect he desired was incorporated into the recording. Les constructed devices for himself because such machinery had not yet been invented for the mass market, and he made many of the modifications for himself both at home and on the road. The Master often changed the pickups and controls on this, his favorite guitar. Given Les’ predilection for tinkering and experimentation, it should come as no surprise that he dropped off his famed guitar at Tom Doyle’s shop in Dumont, New Jersey with no hardware attached to its black body. Paul brought the Black Custom along with six or seven other guitars to Doyle’s shop so that each could be refurbished and restored to exacting specifications. Despite their years as friends and colleagues, Les was very demanding of Tom’s time and he sensed Tom was becoming somewhat vexed with whole arrangement. As a gesture of 36 / Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015
Les Paul’s own 1954 ‘Black Beauty’ Gibson Les Paul Custom and Chet Atkins’ prototype Gretsch Guitars 6120 ‘Dark Eyes’ are two of the most important guitars in music history
-Guitar Player Magazine
A few of the experimental parts that once graced Black Beauty, preserved by Tom Doyle and included in the sale.
friendship and good faith, Les ultimately gifted Black Beauty to Tom as a physical reminder of just how much Les cared for him personally and professionally. Black Beauty first hung in Tom Doyle’s shop essentially naked – the proverbial emperor awaiting its new clothes. A deal was brokered between the luthier and performer that resulted in Doyle restoring Paul’s D’Angelico archtop in exchange for all of the Black Custom’s hardware. Taking one step further, Les also threw in many of the experimental parts he created or tweaked throughout the years for good measure. In the mid-to-late ‘70s under the guidance of the great Les Paul, Tom Doyle methodically and accurately restored Black Beauty to its most-famous form. Throughout its 22 years as Les’ primary instrument, the Black Custom existed in three major formats, all of which can be reprised today. Commonly referred to by Tom as iterations, they are best described by outlining which major pieces of hardware existed on the guitar during a given time. The first iteration – the closest to the original 1954 design straight from Gibson’s Kalamazoo, Michigan factory – included two air coils, two Les Paul pickups (hand-wound by Les and brother-in-law Wally Kamin), a combination pickguard-cavity plate designed to conceal the pickups, and a Kaufmann Vibrola stop tailpiece. At this point in time Les had made many of the modifications himself, a prime example being the addition of the tailpiece, which was not present when Gibson originally delivered the guitar. The second iteration dates from the 1960s. Featuring a Bigsby tailpiece, hand-wound pickups with fabricated pickup covers, and a dot of superglue under the E string on the neck pickup that acted as its own separate fret, this version allowed for another namesake invention. Known as the Les Paulveriser, this device began as a work of fiction and source of comedy during his radio days with Mary Ford. It was the means in which Les justified to his audience the occurrence of a multilayered sound from his one guitar; once a reality and plugged in, however, the device allowed him to utilize pre-recorded layers from songs to recreate the trademark effects his studio recordings live on stage. It was with this iteration of the Black Custom that Paul ground down one side of the Bigsby tailpiece to make room for a Les Paulverizer without compromising the instrument’s playability. The tertiary and final form of Black Beauty was the one most favored by Les Paul, and the manner in which Tom Doyle presents the guitar today. Choosing to transform his original prototype yet again, this third iteration was used in the early 1970s prior to Les having gifted it to Tom. Sporting the same partially ground-down Bigsby tailpiece, cosmetically this guitar features gold-plated brass surrounds in addition to Les Paul pickups with Gibson pickup covers. Estimate on request.
Tom Doyle Collection - February, 2015 / 39
TERMS & CONDITIONS This catalogue, as amended by any posted notices during the sale, together with the purchaser’s registration statement, is Guernsey’s and the Consigner’s entire agreement with the purchaser relative to the property listed herein. The following conditions of sale are the only terms and conditions by which all properties are offered for sale. The property will be offered by us as the agent for the Consigner unless the catalogue indicates otherwise. By bidding at auction, whether present in person or by agent, by written bid, telephone, internet or by other means, the buyer agrees to be bound by these Conditions of Sale.
our discretion, we will execute other order bids or accept telephone bids as a convenience to clients who are not present at auctions, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions in connection therewith.
1. ALL PROPERTIES ARE SOLD AS IS, AND NEITHER WE NOR THE CONSIGNER MAKE ANY WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS WITH RESPECT TO ANY LOT SOLD INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE CORRECTNESS OF THE CATALOGUE OR OTHER DESCRIPTION OF THE ORIGIN, PHYSICAL CONDITION, SIZE, QUALITY, RARITY, ATTRIBUTION, AUTHORSHIP, IMPORTANCE, MEDIUM, PROVENANCE, EXHIBITIONS, LITERATURE OR HISTORICAL RELEVANCE OF THE PROPERTY, AND NO STATEMENT ANYWHERE, WHETHER ORAL OR WRITTEN, SHALL BE DEEMED SUCH A WARRANTY OR REPRESENTATION. ALL SIZES LISTED ARE APPROXIMATE AND LISTED IN INCHES, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED. PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS SHOULD INSPECT THE PROPERTY BEFORE BIDDING TO DETERMINE ITS CONDITION, SIZE, AND WHETHER OR NOT IT HAS BEEN REPAIRED OR RESTORED. WE AND THE CONSIGNOR DISCLAIM ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE IMPLIED WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE. NO WARRANTIES ARE MADE THAT ANY OF THE MERCHANDISE COMPLIES WITH ANY APPLICABLE GOVERNMENTAL RULES, REGULATIONS OR ORDINANCES OF ANY KIND OR NATURE WHATSOEVER. NEITHER GUERNSEY’S AS AGENT NOR THE CONSIGNER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY FAULTS OR DEFECTS IN ANY LOT OR THE CORRECTNESS OF ANY STATEMENT AS TO ANY ORIGIN, AUTHORSHIP, DATE, AGE, ATTRIBUTION, GENUINENESS, PROVENANCE OR CONDITION OF ANY LOT.
9. ALL LOTS IN THIS AUCTION ARE BEING SOLD WITHOUT MINIMUM RESERVE.
Any description of the items contained in this Auction is for the sole purpose of identifying the items for those Bidders who do not have the opportunity to view the lots prior to bidding, and no description of items has been made part of the basis of the bargain or has created any express warranty that the goods would conform to any description made by Auctioneer. No statement by anyone or in the catalogue, in any advertisement, or which is made at the sale, in the bill of sale or invoice, or elsewhere, shall be deemed such a warranty or representation or an assumption of liability. IN THE EVENT OF ANY CONFLICT BETWEEN A DESCRIPTION AND THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, THE TERMS OF CONDITIONS SHALL CONTROL. NO DESCRIPTION IS INTENDED TO, OR SHALL, NEGATE OR LIMIT THE DISCLAIMERS SET FORTH HEREIN. WITHOUT IN ANY WAY WAIVING THE FOREGOING, ANY COMPLAINT REGARDING AUTHENTICITY, GENUINENESS, ATTRIBUTION OR PROVENANCE SHALL BE MADE WITHIN TWENTY-FIVE (25) DAYS OF THE DAY OF SALE OR SUCH COMPLAINT SHALL BE WAIVED. ALL BIDDERS ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR RIGHT TO HAVE MADE OR REQUESTED FULL INSPECTION OF ANY AND ALL PROPERTIES PRIOR TO SALE AND AGREE TO BE CHARGED WITH ALL MATTERS SUCH INSPECTION MAY HAVE DISCLOSED OR INDICATED. 2. A buyer’s premium will be added to the purchase of all lots in the sale, and is payable by the purchaser as part of the total purchase price. The buyer’s premium for bidders participating in the auction in person or in absentia, either on the telephone or by submitting written bids in advance, is 22%. The buyer’s premium for internet bidders is 25%. Guernsey’s also receives a commission directly from the Consignor. 3. We reserve the right to withdraw any property before the sale. 4. Unless otherwise announced by the auctioneer, all bids are per lot as numbered in the catalogue. 5. All bids placed, and all payments made must be in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. Bank. 6. Payments are due promptly at the conclusion of the auction, and in the case of absentee and internet bidders, within 10 days of receipt of invoice. 7. We reserve the right to reject any bid. The highest bidder, acknowledged by the auctioneer, will be the purchaser. In the event of a dispute between bidders, or in the event of doubt on our part as to the validity of any bid, the auctioneer will have the final discretion whether to determine the successful bidder or to re-offer and resell the article in dispute. If any dispute arises after the sale, our sale records are conclusive. Although in
8. If the auctioneer decides that any opening bid is below the value of the article offered, he or she may reject the same and withdraw the article from sale, and if having acknowledged on opening bid, he or she decides that any advance thereafter is insufficient, he or she may reject the advance.
10. On the fall of the auctioneer’s hammer, title to the offered lot will pass to the highest bidder acknowledged by the auctioneer, subject to fulfillment by such bidder, of all the conditions set forth herein, and such bidder thereupon a) assumes full risk and responsibility thereof, but not limited to, insurance, fire, theft, removal and storage or damage from any and all causes, and b) will pay the full purchase price thereof or such part as we may require. In addition to other remedies available to us by law, we reserve the right to impose a late charge of 1 1/2% per month of the total purchase price if payment is not made in accordance with the conditions set forth herein. REGARDING ANY PURCHASER WHO IS REPRESENTED BY A BIDDER: BIDDERS ARE PERSONALLY AND INDIVIDUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY OBLIGATIONS OF THE PURCHASER SET FORTH IN THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF SALE. If any applicable conditions herein are not complied with by the purchaser, in addition to other remedies available to us and the Consigner by law, including, without limitation, the right to hold the purchaser liable for the total purchase price, we at our option may either, a) cancel the sale, retaining as liquidated damages all payments made by the purchaser, or b) resell the property at public auction without reserve, and the purchaser will be liable for any deficiency costs including handling charges, the expenses of both sales, our commissions on both sales at our regular rates, reasonable attorney’s fees, incidental damages, and all other charges due hereunder. In the event that such a buyer pays a portion of the purchase price for any or all lots purchased, Guernsey’s shall apply the payment received to such lot or lots that Guernsey’s, in its sole discretion deems appropriate. In the case of default, purchaser shall be liable for legal fees and expenses. In addition, a defaulting purchaser will be deemed to have granted us a security interest in, and we may retain as collateral security for such purchaser’s obligations to us, any property in our possession owned by such purchaser. We shall have the rights afforded a secured party under the New York Uniform Commercial Code with respect to such property and we may apply against such obligations all monies held or received by us for the account of, due from us to, such purchaser. At our option, payment will not be deemed to have been made in full until we have collected funds represented by checks, or, in the case of bank or cashier’s checks, we have confirmed their authenticity. Upon collection of funds, purchaser shall receive a bill of sale for the concerned items of merchandise. 11. Unless exempted by law, the purchaser will be required to pay New York state and local sales tax or any applicable compensating use tax of another state on the total purchase price. Deliveries outside the state may be subject to the compensating use tax of another state. Where duty or collection is imposed on Guernsey’s by law, it will require payment of these taxes. 12. These Terms and Conditions of Sale as well as the purchaser’s and our respective rights and obligations thereunder shall be governed by and construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of New York. By bidding at an auction, whether present in person or by agent, order bid, telephone or by other means, the purchaser shall be deemed to have consented to the exclusive jurisdiction of the State of New York, with exclusive venue in the County of New York. 13. We are not responsible for the act or omissions of carriers or packers of purchased lots, whether or not recommended by us. Packing and handling of purchased lots by us is at the entire risk of the purchaser. In no event will our liability to a purchaser exceed the purchase price actually paid. 14. Estimates do not represent any opinion or guarantee of actual value or ultimate sale price. Actual prices realized for items can fall below or above this range. They should not be relied upon as a prediction or guarantee of the actual selling price. They are prepared well in advance of the sale and are subject to revision.
15. Should any disputes arise pertaining to purchases at this auction or any other matters relating to the auction, such disputes shall be brought in the courts of the State of New York. Venue shall be within the County of New York. 16. Any claim regarding a purchase must be made by the successful bidder to Guernsey’s, in writing, certified mail, return receipt requested, within 25 days of the final day of the live auction. Thereafter, all claims shall be time-barred. It is Guernsey’s general policy, and Guernsey’s has the right to have the purchaser obtain, at the purchaser’s expense, the opinion of two recognized experts in the field, mutually agreeable to Guernsey’s and the purchaser. 17. The copyrights in and to the items depicted in this catalogue, and the rights of publicity to the names, images and likenesses of persons or items depicted in this catalogue, are exclusively owned by the Consignor of the property or third parties. A BUYER OF AN ITEM OFFERED FOR SALE DOES NOT ACQUIRE ANY COPYRIGHT, COMMERCIAL RIGHT, OR SIMILAR RIGHT WHATSOEVER TO THE ITEMS OR THE IMAGES OR LIKENESSES CONTAINED THEREIN AND THE BUYER MAY NOT REPRODUCE ANY ITEM PURCHASED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER. No copies or photographs, catalogue descriptions or other written material in this catalogue may be reproduced in any manner without the express written permission of the copyright holder.
Participating in the Auction Bidding & Pre-establishing Credit In an effort to facilitate your rapid removal of items immediately following the auction, you can pre-establish credit with Guernsey’s. Having done so, you need only write a check for the amount of your purchase (assuming it is within the range of your credit line) and you can remove your purchases. The easiest way to accomplish establishing credit is to provide an Irrevocable Letter of Credit or a Bank Letter of Guarantee from your bank stating that they will guarantee your check up to an indicated amount. Such letters normally have a time limit and therefore, for this auction, a 14 business day limit from the day of the auction would be appropriate. The bank letter should include the bank officer’s name and telephone number and should state that the letter is for Guernsey’s Les Paul Auction on February 19, 2015. The letter should be addressed to Barbara Mintz, Vice President of Guernsey’s, and indicate the limit to which the checks can be written.
You Can Bid at this Auction without Pre-Establishing Credit Without pre-establishing credit, unless you pay with cash or bank check or certified check, your purchases will be held until your personal check clears (usually about 10 business days). In such cases you may be responsible for shipping and handling costs. (Please see Removal/ Shipment of Purchases.)
Absentee Bidding Although all are welcome to attend the auction in person, it is clear that some may wish to participate as Absentee Bidders. To facilitate absentee bidding, one may bid by completing the Bidder Agreement From and Absentee Bid Form (available by request or by using the links provided on Guernsey’s website) and returning these forms by email or fax to Guernsey’s prior to the auction. One can also bid by telephone during the actual auction by contacting Guernsey’s well in advance of the auction dates to arrange for this method of bidding. Shipping, handling and insurance for all absentee bid items are the responsibility of the wining bidder. Bidding increments are at the discretion of the auctioneer. In the case of tie bids the first bid received will be given priority. Absentee bidder invoices will be sent promptly by email from invoices@ guernseys.com and must be paid in full within 10 days of receipt. Invoices to Internet bidders will be sent promptly by email from invoices@ liveauctioneers.com and must be paid in full within 10 days of receipt.
Absentee Bid Form Instructions 1. Download and fill out the Absentee Bid Form from our website. 2. Indicate if you wish to Bid By Phone or Bid By Mail. If you wish to Bid By Phone, be sure to provide the phone number where you can be reached during the auction. Phone bids will be executed by Guernsey’s telephoning the bidder on the indicated lots as they are sold at the live auction. Please return the form early to reserve a phone, as a limited number of lines are available per lot on a first come basis.
3. All Top Bid Amounts must be indicated in U.S. dollars. If you wish to Bid By Mail, you must indicate a Top Bid Amount. If you wish to Bid By Phone we encourage you to indicate a Top Bid Amount. Although we will make every reasonable effort to telephone you at the appropriate time during the auction, our experience indicates that there is always the possibility that for a variety of technical (and human) reasons we may not be able to reach you at that time. In the event that were to occur, to avoid disappointment, WE STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU INDICATE YOUR TOP BID IN THE SPACE PROVIDED AFTER CHECKING THE BOX AUTHORIZING GUERNSEY’S TO EXECUTE YOUR BIDS UP TO THE LEVEL INDICATED. 4. Please print clearly and list all lots in numerical order. Use multiple forms, if needed. 5. Sign and date the form.
Internet Bidding Those who are unable to attend the auction but would like to participate can view the full catalogue online, and leave advance absentee bids, as well as bid live in real time as the sale is taking place at www. Liveauctioneers.com. For further information, please visit Guernsey’s website for a link to the online catalogue posted at Liveauctioneers.com. This link will be available approximately one month before the event. All lots in this catalogue and an the addendum to this catalogue can be bid on through any of these online platforms prior to - and during - the live auction, provided that the bidder has completed the separate online application process at each site and been approved for bidding.
Removal/Shipment of Purchases PURCHASERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL SHIPPING AND PACKING COSTS. All pick-ups must be made immediately following the auction, unless other arrangements are made with Guernsey’s. Inasmuch as Guernsey’s does not permanently reside at the Arader Galleries (the auction site), it is essential that all items are either 1) paid for immediately after the conclusion of the auction (items can be paid for and removed at any time during the event) and immediately removed or 2) paid for immediately, making arrangements for the removal of the items by the shipper on the premises or your designated shipper and alerting Guernsey’s of your intent. To facilitate removal and/or shipping, an independent moving and storage company will be on site should you wish to avail yourself of their services. Guernsey’s takes no part in any transactions between you and this firm; their presence at the auction is merely a convenience for interested buyers. Purchasers are responsible for all shipping costs. In some cases, there may be savings of sales tax by the use of a recognized, licensed transport company. Should you wish to learn more about your shipping options, please contact Guernsey’s prior to the auction.
Removal of Purchases Acquired Through Absentee, Phone & Internet Bidding If you are a successful absentee, phone, or internet bidder, at the conclusion of the auction your purchases will be moved to Guernsey’s warehouse pending receipt of payment, after which they can be released for pick-up or shipment.
If you are a successful Internet or Absentee Bidder…. 1. You will receive an invoice following the auction (Internet bidders by email, Absentee bidders by snail mail). If you believe you are a successful bidder and don’t receive an invoice, please contact Guernsey’s (212794-2280; email@example.com) 2. Payment is due promptly and within 10 days of receipt of invoice. 3. Purchases paid for by wire transfer, bank or cashier’s check will be available for release immediately. 4. Purchases paid for by personal or business check will be held until the check has cleared (please allow 10 business days from receipt of payment). 5. When purchases are available for release you will be contacted by Guernsey’s, at which time an appointment can be scheduled for pick-up by you or the shipper.
THANK YOU TOM DOYLE MAX STAVRON
UPCOMING AT AUCTION THE
URBAN ARCHAELOGY COLLECTION MARCH 2015
For more than four decades, Tom Doyle worked closely with Les Paul. Their combined efforts changed the sound of music as we have come to know it today. The treasured items in this catalogue survive as a result of Tomâ€™s devoted efforts to preserve history. Along the way, Tom consulted with and was assisted by Max Stavron whose passion for the cause remains unrivaled. To both these extraordinary men, we offer our heartfelt thanks.
SEYMOUR STEIN COLLECTION APRIL 2015
Arlan Ettinger Barbara Mintz Susan Jaffe Rafael Zegarra Lindsay Heller W. Graham Arader III Deanna Garzillo Richard Herzfeld Steve Klein Joanne Grant Karen Olson Chris Vincent, Photographer EpicLitho Lithographing Corp. Bradley Kaplan, UPS The Rosen Group
65 East 93rd Street, New York, NY, 10128 212.794.2280 firstname.lastname@example.org www.guernseys.com
ARADER GALLERIES HOME TO THE FINEST AUDUBON & BOTANICAL PRINTS, RARE MAPS AND IMPORTANT WORKS OF ART
“LES PAUL’S BLACK BEAUTY AND CHET ATKINS’ DARK EYES… TWO OF THE MOST IMPORTANT GUITARS IN MUSIC HISTORY.” -GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE
THE TOM DOYLE COLLECTION
G U E R N S E Y
Les Paul’s own 1954 ‘Black Beauty’ Gibson Les Paul Custom and Chet Atkins’ prototype Gretsch Guitars 6120 ‘Dark Eyes’ are two of the most im...
Published on Dec 29, 2014
Les Paul’s own 1954 ‘Black Beauty’ Gibson Les Paul Custom and Chet Atkins’ prototype Gretsch Guitars 6120 ‘Dark Eyes’ are two of the most im...