Billy “BFG” Gibbons is known for his astounding collection of fine instruments. Even though ZZ Top has been touring relentlessly for the best part of half-a-century, that’s still not enough for him to get the opportunity to bring all of his precious custom guitars out on the road. Therefore, when one of them gets picked, it has to be particularly cool. And when one of them gets picked for the filming of a live DVD, you know it has to be extra-special.
You may recognize this white Billy Bo from the cover of the 2008 DVD Live From Texas, a best-of concert performed by ZZ Top at the Nokia Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas on November the 1st, 2007. This release was a huge success, turning multi-platinum and reaching the top spot of the video charts in many countries. For the whole concert, Gibbons plays on this very Gretsch. It has been custom made in Japan with a chambered body for weight relief, and then it has been heavily customized: the ebony fretboard was painted white for a “full white” effect, bigger side markers have been added on the fretboard (a must if you’re filming a live DVD and don’t want to find yourself fixing mistakes all the time) and the amazing pinstriping has been designed by Gibbons himself. Finally, the inevitable finishing touch for any ZZ Top live guitar is the “Beer” logo on the back, made by his longtime guitar tech Elwood Francis.
Like all the guitars from the Billy Gibbons collection sold by Matt’s Guitar Shop and bought straight from the man himself, this historic Gretsch 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.