“I lost 44 guitars… a lot of the Les Pauls just split”: Peter Frampton on the 2010 Nashville flood

“When people went in to look at the gear they went in on jet ski things.”

Peter Frampton

Image: David Wolff – Patrick / Getty Images

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Guitar legend Peter Frampton has reflected on the devastating Nashville floods of 2010 and the 44 guitars he lost in the devastation.

Appearing on the latest episode of Gibson TV’s The Collection web series, Frampton – who was living in Cincinnati at the time – says he wasn’t aware of the severity of the situation at first.

“I kept calling people in Nashville. I said, ‘What’s going on? Every time I get on a plane it’s cancelled?’ And they said, ‘Oh it’s terrible weather here,’” the guitarist recalls. “I didn’t realise how bad it was.”

“Bands that didn’t even live in Nashville had their gear stored at SoundCheck [Studios], right by the river. They said, ‘We’re going to have to open the dam.’ Because it was getting crazy; it would have broken otherwise. They said it would probably get to the bottom of the steps of SoundCheck.”

“Well, it didn’t,” Frampton continues. “It went all the way up. And when people went in to look at the gear they went in on jet ski things… My Marshalls were just above the water line.”

“So many people lost their guitars. And I lost 44 guitars.”

The damaged guitars, many of which were Les Pauls, were eventually sent to Mike McGuire (who worked on Frampton’s first signature LP) at the Gibson Custom Shop to be fixed. Though things did not look good at all.

“He said, ‘There’s so much toxicity in these guitars you won’t be able to get paint on them to redo them.’ And a lot of the Les Pauls just split,” Frampton says. “There was so much stuff in the water there… there was all battery acid in the water. You name it, it was in the water. It was so horrible.”

Thankfully despite the water damage, the musician’s iconic 1964 Epiphone FT-79 Texan managed to survive the ordeal: “I saved my Epiphone acoustic, the ‘64 Texan that I wrote all the songs on,” he says. “A lot of the acoustics, the top and the back… the sides just went like this [split] because they were underwater for three days.”

Watch the full interview with Frampton below.

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