It all goes back to 1977, when KISS hit the stage at Nippon Budokan in Japan.
That night, guitarist Ace Frehley played a Cherry Sunburst, three-pickup Les Paul Custom, creating a sound that would inspire an army of musicians to come. "This was the ultimate marriage of pop and heavy rock, driven to meteoric heights by the record industry marketing machine, and ultimately attaining that otherworldly presence that great stadium rock should achieve: unbridled fantasy and party-hard reality rolled into one glorious explosion," said Gibson Guitars about Frehley and KISS at the time.
by Chris Epting
In celebration of Ace, his axe and that magical era in Kisstory, Gibson Custom recently released the Ace Frehley 'Budokan' Les Paul Custom, produced in a strictly Limited Edition of 50 hand-aged guitars signed by the artist, with a further 100 hand-aged guitars, and 150 guitars treated in Gibson Custom's VOS process.
Ace spoke to Noisecreep about his new guitar, KISS, and what he has in store in 2012.
Congratulations on the gorgeous new guitar. You could have played anything back in 1977- why a Les Paul?
Well, I'd already used it for so many years. It was my #1 guitar for a long time. It just always felt right to me in every way. Physically, the Les Paul neck has a 6% grade, that is to say you lay it flat and the neck is arched with that slight angle. So you get a really unique sustain. Plus, I just always loved the look of a Les Paul. Come on, a Les is like the definition of rock 'n' roll. Gibson did an amazing job with the new ones. Their people there are the best. And the feedback has been incredible – we're almost all sold out of the really limited ones.
Back then, you rigged your Les Paul to do some interesting things – smoke bombs, fire – did anyone ever give you any flack for messing with such a classic model guitar?
Nah, not really, no negative feedback. And what was cool was that in a group like KISS, there were no financial problems; we could pretty much do whatever we dreamed up. So we had some fun.
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