Jared James Nichols has revealed that he has come into ownership of a partially-destroyed 1952 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop that was discovered in the wake of the 2013 Washington, Illinois tornado.
Nichols took to Instagram to explain the guitar’s origins, writing: “On 17 November 2013 one of the biggest recorded tornadoes tore through Washington, Illinois killing and destroying everything in its path. This guitar was found in the front yard of a home in the rubble. It has not been touched since, there is still mud on it!”
He went on to say that “the original owner was found (it was her grandpa’s guitar who has long passed) and she gave her blessing to my new friend who has kept the guitar since then.”
That new friend is TJ Duckwiler, who gifted Nichols the guitar, knowing his affinity for Les Pauls, particularly those equipped with P-90 pickups. Nichols also revealed his plans to have the guitar restored: “[TJ] sent me a picture of it right here on Instagram, and we started chatting. He knew my love of LPs and P-90s of course. We talked the idea of this guitar being risen from the ashes and brought back to its former glory. IT IS HAPPENING!”
Undertaking the rather involved restoration of the guitar will be Joel Wilkens, a specialist in early Fender and Gibson restoration. “Joel is a WIZARD, and a true genius, he will be taking this project full-on,” Nichols wrote. “Crafting a hand-built Brazilian board neck, alongside fixing every other component to take it back to GLORY. I will only be fixing, no REFINISH! Excited is an understatement. I cannot wait to play my heart out on this Les Paul.”
You can see more photographs via Nichols’ Instagram post below. The diagonal bridge-pickup adjustment screws indicate that the instrument was likely one of the first 100 Les Pauls ever made.