Alex Lifeson used to haunt his local music store, coveting a Gibson guitar that he couldn’t afford.
Long before he found fame with Rush, he dreamed of owning an instrument built by the renowned manufacturer – and since finally getting one, Lifeson has remained loyal to the brand.
“The first guitar I got was an acoustic guitar,” Lifeson said in a video announcing his new signature Epiphone Les Paul. “It was a cheap Japanese guitar; it was $10 and I got it for Christmas in 1966. I played that guitar that whole year, as painful as it was – the action on it was terrible.
“I begged for another guitar and I got an electric the following Christmas, and it was also a Japanese guitar… that I think cost my parents $59,” he added. “I played it as much as I could but I always dreamt about having a Gibson. They just seemed so beautiful and so out of reach.”
So, he’d head to Long & McQuade’s, a music store in Toronto, every weekend.
“I’d spend a Saturday sitting on an amp and pulling down a 335, or maybe a Les Paul, or an SG,” Lifeson remembered. “I would play for about an hour until the salesman came by and said, ‘Okay, get lost, kid.’ And I would come back the next weekend, and then the next weekend, and then the next weekend, and he let me play for an hour and then he kicked me out. But that’s the dream that we all have, right? Always a Gibson.”
Lifeson made his first pilgrimage to the Gibson factory in 1976, taking the opportunity to order three guitars. He’s most often seen playing a white 355 from that trip.
“As the years rolled by and we continued touring at a crazy pace, my collection of Gibsons grew more and more,” Lifeson said. “I developed a very close relationship with people at Gibson and they asked me to be involved in a model of a guitar that really suited my purposes.”
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