In the winter of 1949, B.B. King played a $30 Gibson and performed a set at a dance hall in Twist, Arkansas. During the set, two men started fighting and knocked over a barrel of kerosene, setting the whole place on fire. King got out, but when he realized he had left his guitar in the burning building, he ran back inside to retrieve it. The next day, he learned the two men had been fighting over a woman named Lucille. Although he did not know the woman in question, King decided to name his guitar, and every guitar he subsequently owned, Lucille, as a reminder to never fight over a woman – and never run into burning buildings again!
On November 30, Gibson Brands announced the legendary bluesman as a “Gibson Legacy Artist” and launched a brand new version of his Lucille ES-355. This time, the signature instrument, produced in collaboration with the B.B. King Family Trust, is offered in an Alpine White finish and aside from a host of high-end appointments and updates, its design ensured the guitar remains loyal to King’s original specs and tone.
Watch a video of a demo of the Alpine White Limited Edition “Lucille” ES via the player below:
“Throughout musical history, there has never been a guitar associated with one musician quite like blues legend B.B. King and his beloved Lucille,” says Caesar Gueikian, Chief Merchant Officer of Gibson, via an official press release. “Gibson is proud to partner with the B.B. King Family Trust to bring this special limited edition of the iconic ‘Lucille’ to guitar players and fans. Today we are building on our legacy of craftsmanship and innovation as Gibson continues to shape the sounds of generations for years to come.”
While King played many different guitars throughout the early part of his career, the “King of the Blues” played a varied mix of Gibson guitars since the late 1940s, and in the early 1960’s he made the Gibson ES-355 semi-hollow body guitar his trademark instrument, usually stuffing the sound holes to eliminate any chance of feedback. In 1968, he also released an album named Lucille, and on its title track he told the story of the aforementioned event that led to the naming of his famous succession of Gibson guitars.
“The B.B. King Family Trust is honored that Gibson has named B.B. King a ‘Gibson Legacy Artist,'” said Phil Sandhaus, Manager of The B.B. King Family Trust. “We celebrate both B.B. King’s and Gibson’s enduring legacies with the release of this new, limited edition of his legendary ‘Lucille,’ as we welcome the next generation of guitar players and music fans, worldwide.”
Like this article? Get more when you subscribe.