The Gibson EDS-1275 Doubleneck guitar holds a distinguished place in rock history, from the famous cherry-finished example wielded by Jimmy Page during Led Zeppelin’s performances of “Stairway to Heaven” to Don Felder’s striking white model that was an integral part of the onstage sound of the Eagles’ “Hotel California.”
The EDS-1275 has been out of production for a number of years, available only as a Custom Shop order through Gibson’s Made to Measure program. Now, thanks to another iconic Gibson artist, Slash, it’s back, and in grand style. The new Slash 1966 EDS-1275 Doubleneck ($13,299 MAP) recreates the guitarist’s own instrument, a ’66 model refinished in ebony that he first picked up at an Indiana guitar shop in 1990. He began using the 12/6 guitar onstage with Guns N’ Roses soon after, in particular to play the band’s anthemic take on Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” during their Use Your Illusion world tour.
As for what first appealed to him about the instrument? “It started out of convenience,” Slash says. “If you have something that needs a nice rich, chordal kind of sound, you have the 12-string, and then when you have a solo break or a heavy rhythm part, you can switch over to the six-string. It saves you from having to keep another guitar next to you on a stand that you have to reach over and play.”
Slash has had his name on a Gibson guitar before, but suffice it to say, he’s never had an artist model quite like this. “It’s a replica, but it also has a really amazing vintage sound,” he says of the EDS-1275. “In fact, it sounds better than a lot of my six-strings.”
When it came to replicating Slash’s original ’66 double-neck, the Gibson team homed in on every last detail. “It’s an exact recreation,” says Cesar Gueikian, Gibson’s chief merchant officer. “The guitar is a single piece of solid, lightweight mahogany, which I think is unique.” The guitar’s features include a 1966-vintage medium C-shape neck profile, rosewood fingerboard with 20 frets and celluloid split-parallelogram inlays, 1.687-inch nut width, 24 3/4–inch scale and a chrome tailpiece on the 12-string and a nickel tailpiece on the six-string. “The finish has also been aged to match Slash’s original guitar,” Gueikian adds. “The checking, every ding, every buckle rash. It’s all there.”
The 1966 EDS-1275 is fitted with a set of 68 Custom humbuckers rather than Slash’s signature pickups. “He wasn’t looking for something that sounded like his signature pickup,” Gueikian explains. He wanted humbuckers that sounded just like the ones in his ’66 double-neck. And actually, he even suggested at one point that these sound better than the original.”
For Slash, working on his limited-edition EDS-1275 with Gueikian and the Custom Shop team was an easy and exceptional experience. “At Gibson these days, there’s a real focus on the integrity of the instrument, and getting things right and caring about the fine details,” the guitarist says. “Like what makes things work and sound good, and why it matters. It’s a conversation that you have with guitar geeks like myself who care about all the right stuff.”
Gueikian concurs. “I’m a guitar geek, just like Slash is, and it gets me excited when he’s so excited. He’s such a perfectionist about every single thing in every guitar we do with him. He goes to that deep level of detail, and I love that.”
Slash, for his part, has already been using the signature 1966 EDS-1275 onstage. On his most recent run of tour dates with his band, Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators, he pulled the double-neck out for performances of the Living the Dream track “The One You Loved is Gone,” which features lush 12-string chording alongside a screaming solo.
As for anyone else who wants to play one, you’ll have to act fast. Gibson is producing just 125 models in total, each hand-signed by Slash and including a vintage replica hardshell case, a Certificate of Authenticity and a custom Slash concho guitar strap.
“It was really a no-brainer to do this,” Gueikian says of the Slash 1966 EDS-1275. “It’s a guitar that has made a statement in Slash’s sound in some very identifiable songs over his career, and one that he continues to use onstage. It’s a staple in his rig.”
The collaboration also afforded Gibson the opportunity to try out a fresh look on one of its classic models. “Normally when you think of a 1275, you think of the cherry version,” Gueikian says. “So the fact that Slash’s is black makes it very unique and different.”
Slash agrees. “Jimmy Page’s double-neck guitar is so recognizable, so I’ve always tended to stay away from that. And then of course Don Felder has the white version. So when I saw this guitar in black, I thought, Okay, that looks really cool!” He laughs. “And for me, I guess it’s fitting.”