A modern edition of the EDS-1275 in Ebony.
|Period||1963–1968, 1974–1998, 1998–present|
|Neck joint||Mortise & Tenon|
Nickel Claw Tailpieces
|Pickup(s)||490R Custom Bucker (rhythm)|
498T Custom Bucker (lead)
|Ebony, Alpine White, Heritage Cherry|
The Gibson EDS-1275 is a doubleneck Gibson electric guitar, weighing about 13 pounds (5.9 kg) and introduced in 1958. Popularized by both rock and jazz musicians such as Don Felder, Jimmy Page, Alex Lifeson and John McLaughlin, it was named "the coolest guitar in rock" by the website Gigwise.
Gibson's first doubleneck guitars were produced from 1958 to 1961 with a hollow body and two 6-string necks, one being a short-scale neck tuned to a higher octave; from 1962 to 1967 it had a solid body. A model with a 4-string bass and a 6-string guitar neck was called the EBS-1250; it had a built-in fuzztone and was produced from 1962 to 1968 and again from 1977 to 1978.
In 1963, the solid-body EDS-1275 was designed, resembling the SG model; this version of the doubleneck was available until 1968. The EDS-1275 is often referred to as the "SG doubleneck" due to its similar shape, although both necks of the 1275 have a shorter scale fret board than the SG and fixed tail pieces, where the SG has an adjustable one. The guitar was available in jet black, cherry, sunburst, and white.
In 1974, Gibson started making the guitar again, in a number of additional colors, with production lasting until 1998. Since then, alpine white and heritage cherry versions were made by Gibson USA in Nashville, Tennessee, until 2003, in the Nashville Custom Shop from 2004 to 2005, and in the Memphis, Tennessee, Custom Shop beginning in 2006.
Notable EDS-1275 users
The EDS-1275, while never selling in great quantities, was used by a number of notable musicians. Chicago bluesman Earl Hooker is seen holding one on the cover of the 1969 albums Two Bugs and a Roach and The Moon is Rising, and Elvis Presley sports a cherry doubleneck in the 1966 movie Spinout.
Former Eagles guitarist Don Felder, who predominantly used Gibson Les Pauls at the time, used a white EDS-1275 on live performances of "Hotel California". The 12-string neck would have a capo on the 7th fret, and would be used to play the intro and verses. Felder would switch to the 6-string neck for the choruses and the ending guitar duet with Joe Walsh. To honor the association of the EDS-1275 and this performance, Gibson Custom introduced the Don Felder “Hotel California” EDS-1275 Limited Edition with 100 units aged and 50 units both aged and signed.
Alex Lifeson of Rush first bought a cherry 1976 EDS-1275 in Nashville, at the end of the 2112 tour. It was modified with an aftermarket tune-o-matic bridge on the six-string, and a specially designed bridge on the twelve-string for intonation. In 1978, during the Hemispheres tour, the guitar was damaged when a speaker horn fell on it. Gibson later repaired it and repainted it Alpine White. Lifeson continued to use the guitar until the Signals Tour (1982–1983), when it was retired. It saw use again on the 'Counterparts' Tour in 1994, where it was used to play 'Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres (Prelude)'. In 1996, Lifeson gave the guitar to Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar. Johnson is seen playing it in the music video of the single "Diggin' a Hole". Lifeson used a newer version of the Alpine White on the R40 tour when the band played "Xanadu".
In the early 1970s, jazz-rock musician John McLaughlin played an EDS-1275 in his first years with the Mahavishnu Orchestra; the guitar, amplified through a 100-watt Marshall amplifier "in meltdown mode," produced the signature McLaughlin sound hailed by Guitar Player as one of the "50 Greatest Tones of All Time."
Steve Miller played an EDS-1275 during the 1970s, alongside his familiar Fender Stratocasters.
Charlie Whitney used an EDS-1275 as his primary stage instrument while in Family (1968-73). Family was noted for their unusual instrumental line up, which at times featured violin, reeds, vibraphone, and/or keyboards, and sometimes bassist John Wetton using a Gibson double-neck EBS (which pairs a 4-string bass with a 6-string guitar). Whitney continued using in while playing with Streetwalkers, along with Fender Telecasters and pedal steel guitars.
The EDS-1275 was mostly popularized by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, most notably during live performances of "Stairway to Heaven." The doubleneck obviated the need to switch guitars mid-song: at the beginning of "Stairway to Heaven", he used the bottom 6-string neck for the intro and first verse, then switched to the top 12-string neck, then to the 6-string neck for the extended guitar solo, and back to the 12-string for the final chorus.
By the time Page desired an EDS-1275, they were no longer in production so he ordered a custom-made cherry 6/12. Page's EDS-1275 has a slightly different body shape from that of the current model. Page's also has one-piece mahogany necks rather than the current three-piece maple, and has tailpieces positioned near the bottom of the body, reportedly increasing sustain, and Patent No. or T-Top humbucking pickups.
Page's influence was such that after him other guitarists picked up the EDS-1275, including Alex Lifeson of Rush, who used it to play the song "Xanadu" live. Eddie Van Halen also has one in his collection.
Jimmy Page signature model
Gibson released a VOS (Vintage Original Spec) Jimmy Page Signature EDS-1275 model in 2007; a total of 250 were made. Page kept serial number one for himself. Serial numbers 2 through 26 of these were played and signed by Page; number 11 was donated for auction to benefit a charitable cause.
The guitar is currently offered only through the Gibson Custom Shop as a special order model. It features two volume and two tone control knobs, a three-way pickup-selector switch, and a three-way neck-selector switch. It has vintage tulip tuners, pearloid split parallelogram inlays, black pickguards and pickup rings, twenty frets per neck (bound with single-ply white binding), and 490 Alnico (R) and 498 Alnico (T) humbucking pickups. The Custom Shop also makes a Don Felder "Hotel California" signature model. New Gibson EDS-1275 and Epiphone G-1275 models feature longer 12-string headstocks than the original EDS-1275 and the "Hotel California" EDS-1275.
Japanese guitar manufacturer Ibanez produced a model inspired by the Gibson, called the Double Axe, from 1974 to 1976. They were available as a 6/12, a 4/6, and a 6/6 configuration, in cherry and walnut finishes.
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- 2007 Charity auction for Gibson EDS-1275.
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- "Epiphone 2010 Catalog". Epiphone. p. 21. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
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