Just like the Harmonia from the same Gibbons collection, this California guitar used to be Billy’s couch guitar, a very cool version of the Strat that he would pick up while watching TV, plucking away and stumbling upon the riffs of his last three albums. The Harmonia has a rosewood fretboard, whereas this California has a maple fretboard, bringing it closer to Gibbons’ preference when it comes to Strats.
Just like he did with Tokai in the nineties, Gibbons has picked up this California, what most guitarists would consider as a cheap Strat knockoff, and has made it worthy of his blues-infused fingers. Starting with a typical hot-rod inspired hot pink paint job, Gibbons has designed a unique pinstriping pattern that really makes that humble instrument much more striking. He then proceeded to complete the makeover by choosing a green pearloid pickguard that perfectly complements the pink of the body, plus blue, green and pink control knobs. The three pickups are DiMarzios: the DP403 Virtual Vintage Heavy Blues 2 at the bridge, the DP414 Virtual Vintage Solo Pro in the middle and the DP404 Virtual Vintage Solo at the neck, a model that is no longer made and is starting to gather some attention from collectors. A simple Strat turned into a screaming blues machine with hot rod looks to match, only Gibbons could pull that off.
Like all the guitars from the Billy Gibbons collection sold by Matt’s Guitar Shop and bought straight from the man himself, this hot California has been signed by the Reverend at the back of the headstock and it comes with a signed certificate of authenticity, a picture of Billy holding the guitar, a picture of Billy signing the guitar and a picture of Billy signing the certificate. This is your way of knowing you’re buying the real deal.
Group : ZZ Top
Main guitar : Gibson Les Paul Standard 1959
An absolute “must-hear” track : Just Got Paid
Billy Gibbons is the boss. The boss of guitarists with his sensual tremolo and the fat sound like a burrito he gets from his Les Paul. The boss of singers with his rocky and twangy sound. The boss of bandleaders with ZZ Top, his trio whose lineup has remained the same since 1969. The boss of engineers, with an impeccable sense of staging. And finally the boss of collectors, with several hangars filled with several thousand guitars that he has acquired over the years. Legend has it that he would have a copy from every year of every model from the major brands, and that may not be just a legend... In any case, the guitars that we know he has are enough to turn heads. From “Mistress Pearly Gates”, the famous Les Paul 59 that has always been with him, to his 54 hardtail Strat that we often hear in addition to Pearly Gates, along with his many custom hotrod guitars.
His career began in 1967 with The Moving Sidewalks, one of the few psychedelic Texas rock bands inspired by the 13th Floor Elevators. They opened for Jimi Hendrix before breaking up in 1969, when Gibbons founded ZZ Top.
The trio began with rich and traditional blues rock before going in a more electronic direction, starting with Degüello in 1979. That direction was confirmed with the Eliminator/Afterburner/Recycler trilogy. Three albums where the blend of Gibbons’ blues with the synthesisers and drum machines of the time produced a result that won over many fans, whether they came to trio’s music through singles like Gimme All Your Loving and Rough Boy, or through the band’s excellent videos that were often played on MTV. Since then, ZZ Top has reinvented its music once again with a fatter, more organic, and fuzzy sound. Gibbons has made multiple appearances as a guest star on other musicians’ albums. He has also released two albums under his own name: Perfectamundo, which explores Cuban music, and Big Bad Blues, which returns to his first loves, between Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley. The circle is complete.