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The Beast (guitar)

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The Beast
A Gibson 1959 Les Paul Standard known as The Beast
Body typeSolid
Neck jointSet neck
Scale24.75 in (629 mm)

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The Beast is a 1959 Gibson Les Paul standard guitar owned by British rock and blues singer/songwriter/guitarist Bernie Marsden, Serial number 9 1419. Originally a Cherry red and yellow coloured sunburst guitar, The Beast's colour, Like so many Les Pauls from the late 1950s, has faded to leave just the yellow. There are still remnants of the original cherry colour under the pickup selector switch ring and the pickguard/scratchplate due to these plastic parts shielding the body from the sun. It has a mahogany body and neck with a Maple book matched top and Holly veneer on the headstock. The guitar has suffered wear and tear over the years but remains a fine example of a Les Paul. It was given the name the Beast when Cozy Powell after hearing it said "That thing is a Beast".


The Beast is believed to be originally owned by Jimmy Nolan who bought it from new from Selmer's music shop, where he worked, but then subsequently sold it to Eric Clapton (possibly after Clapton had a 1960 Les Paul stolen around 1966), whilst he was with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Clapton then either sold it or traded it to Paul Kossoff from the band Free (band) who in turn sold it to Andy Fraser also from Free. In Early 1974 while doing a gig at The Marquee club with the band Wild Turkey, Bernie Marsden had a visit from Martin Henderson, a guitar collector, who had acquired The Beast from Andy Fraser. "He thought it would suit me, but i couldn't afford the £600 price tag" said Marsden, but a few weeks later, Henderson turned up at the Marquee again with the guitar and gave it to Bernie to play the encore with. After hearing the sound a deal was done whereby the price was dropped a little and two guitars plus cash was enough to seal the deal.


Marsden has semi-retired the Beast making only a few appearances for video interviews and at his Mojo seminars. Many people have got to play the beast over the years Particularly Warren Haynes and Joe Bonamassa to name a few, Gary Moore once asked to borrow The Beast but was politely declined by Marsden saying "No, but I do like a trier". The beast does make the occasional appearance in a variety of guitar magazines.


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