For 127 years, Gibson–the iconic American instrument brand – has been synonymous with creating and shaping sound across genres of music and generations of players. Today, Gibson Custom Shop announced the release of the 1970s Limited Edition Chuck Berry ES-355 in Wine Red. Founding father of rock and roll, Chuck Berry’s staging and musicality laid the foundation for nearly every genre of rock and popular music. His playing, his showmanship and his catalog of music have helped to inspire and launch the careers of many musicians, and countless musicians have shared the stage with him for unforgettable performances. His Gibson guitars were always present alongside Chuck on stage. His favorite guitar, a 1978 Gibson ES-355, has now been meticulously crafted for fans to experience in the 1970s Chuck Berry ES-355, now available worldwide at www.gibson.com.
“Of all the guitars my dad played, the 1978 ES-355 was by far his favorite. The guitar traveled the world with my father for over 36 years, ”says Charles Berry Jr. (Chuck’s son). “His latest album Chuck and new live album Chuck Berry: Live From Blueberry Hill were recorded with the Gibson Wine Red ES-355. He’s a true road warrior and Gibson has done a brilliant job creating this series of excellent big bodies. Like the original sound, these new ones resonate to the point that you can actually feel them singing. He’s a real MONSTER! Tom Murphy’s mad scientists at the Murphy Lab have aged them wonderfully. Put on the captain’s hat, attach the conduit connector (if you dare), go up to 11 and rip!
To honor Chuck Berry’s legacy, Gibson Custom Shop has ensured that every aspect of the build and appointments is historically correct, including aged gold hardware, a Maestro Vibrola, Grover tuners, a Varitone switch and a Classic split diamond doll inlay. The striking Wine Red finish features custom Murphy Lab aging, giving it the look and feel of the 1978 original.
Only 100 Chuck Berry ES-355 guitars from the 1970s will be handcrafted by expert luthiers and craftsmen at the Gibson Custom Shop as part of this very special limited edition. Gibson went to great lengths to find Chuck’s favorite captain’s hat he wore on and off the stage. Included in the custom case is Chuck’s Captain’s Hat, along with his innovative finger holder – an electrical conduit strap – which allowed him to play his ES-355 above and behind his head.
Watch the interview with Charles Berry Jr. filmed on location in Chuck Berry’s hometown of St. Louis, MO, at the famous local concert hall and local landmark, Blueberry Hill, HERE.
Chuck Berry has performed over 200 shows at a special residency at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis and the new live album CHUCK BERRY: LIVE FROM BLUEBERRY HILL will present these concerts for the first time. The songs include some of Chuck’s fan favorites including “Roll Over Beethoven” Rock And Roll Music “,” Johnny B. Goode “and more. The group for the live recordings included Chuck Berry (Vocals, Guitar), Charles Berry, Jr. – (Guitar), Ingrid Berry (Harmonica), Robert Lohr (Piano), Jimmy Marsala (Bass) and Keith Robinson (Drums). Pre-order the new live album which will be released on December 17th on CD / Digital and April 15th on Vinyl via Dualtone Records and listen to one of the songs “Carol / Little Queenie” now, HERE.
His bravado on stage grabbed audiences from the jump and never ceased throughout his 64 year career, Charles Edward Anderson Berry had a gravitational force all his own. Chuck was charming, gentle, and determined to succeed in an era that was not kind to black artists. Her first chart appearance, “Maybelene” on the legendary label Chess Records arguably coined the term “cross-over”, ushering in a style of mainstream music that has never betrayed its blues, swing and country DNA. connecting with a young audience who were hungry for something different: Rock and Roll.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Chuck Berry wrote his own songs. Not just any song, you think; smart and relevant songs. Songs that have deeply marked American youth. But as extraordinary as Chuck’s art of songwriting and performance is, ultimately it’s that guitar phrasing that sets his music apart: the boogie woogie roll … those double plays. .and those multi-string bends running through his wanted Rock and Roll pickups in existence.
Every rock guitarist of any stature has borrowed a lot from Chuck. He created the plan we’ve all followed since he first put a Gibson around his neck. And when he passed away, Chuck Berry walked off the stage as he took it, with little compromise and little regret. And for this trip, his most precious possession was his Gibson ES-355.