Guitarists have been known to sleep with their favorite instrument lying alongside them. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that players often endow their go-to guitars with affectionate nicknames. Below are 10 “nicknamed” Gibson guitars whose historical significance is beyond dispute. Feel free to let us know, in the comments section, if you have a pet name for your own guitar.

“Old Black” (Neil Young)

This painted 1953 Les Paul Goldtop has been Neil Young’s go-to instrument for nearly all his aggressively rendered material. Procured in 1969 in a trade with Young’s pal, Jim Messina, “Old Black” has undergone quite a few mods through the years, including the addition of a Firebird mini-humbucker in the bridge position, the installation of a Tune-O-Matic bridge (not available when the guitar was originally produced), and an aluminum pickguard. To hear the guitar in all its glory, check out Young’s 1974 album, Zuma, or his ferocious 1991 LP, Arc.

“Pearly Gates” (Billy Gibbons)

No instrument is more closely associated with ZZ Top than Billy Gibbons’ 1959 Les Paul Standard sunburst. Gibbons bought the guitar in 1969 from a farmer in Houston, Texas, at a cost of $250. Funds for the purchase had come from the sale of an old Packard automobile affectionately known as—you guessed it—Pearly Gates. Naturally, Gibbons transferred the name to his beautiful new instrument.

“Lucille” (B.B. King)

BB King

Virtually all of B.B. King’s guitars—whether it be an ES-335, a 345, or a 355—were christened “Lucille” by the late blues great. The moniker dates back to 1949, when King saved his beloved original $30 Gibson from an accidental fire ignited by two men fighting over a woman who happened to bear that name. “I've had many guitars ... and I always call them Lucille,” King said, in the liner notes to his 1968 Lucille album. “She's taken me a long way, even brought me some fame ... most of all, she's kept me alive, being able to eat ... Lucille practically saved my life two or three times.”

“Lucy” (Albert King)

Albert King

This iconic 1958 Flying V—one of two guitars on our list bearing the name “Lucy”—was an ever-present companion of blues legend Albert King. A southpaw, King played his cherished original “Lucy” upside-down, achieving his distinctive bends and vibrato by pulling the strings downward. In later years, King switched to a custom-made left-handed Flying V. Nonetheless, he continued to reverse the strings in order to play in the manner he was most accustomed.

“Old Faithful” (Bob Marley)

This beautiful mahogany Les Paul Special was Bob Marley’s favorite guitar for the duration of the ‘70s. Mods included an aluminum pickguard and a football-shaped aluminum switch-washer fitted around the 3-way selector switch. Gibson produced a lovingly rendered limited edition replica of the instrument in 2002. It was in a 2009 interview with Gibson that Marley’s son Stephen revealed that his father affectionately christened the guitar Old Faithful.

“The Fool” (Eric Clapton/Todd Rundgren)


This 1964 Gibson SG was painted for Eric Clapton by members of a Dutch design collective bearing the name assigned to the guitar. Clapton debuted the instrument in 1967 at Cream’s first show in the U.S., and then went on to use it regularly on Cream’s subsequent recordings. A smitten Todd Rundgren acquired “The Fool” in the early ‘70s, and went on to play the guitar extensively before selling it at auction in 2002. The Fool” remains a key symbol of the ‘60s psychedelic era.

“Lucy” (George Harrison)

Comedienne Lucille Ball inspired George Harrison to name this 1957 Les Paul Goldtop “Lucy.” In the mid ‘60s, the instrument’s then-owner Rick Derringer asked Gibson to refinish the guitar in a bright red hue that was popular with SGs of that era. The guitar passed that same year to Eric Clapton, who in turn gave it to Harrison. Perhaps Lucy’s most famous moment came when Clapton used it for his guest-spot on Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

“The Grail” (Zakk Wilde)

Zakk Wylde picked up this ‘81 Les Paul Standard in 1987, shortly after teaming up with Ozzy Osbourne. The custom paintjob was commissioned out of respect for Randy Rhoads, as Wylde felt the instrument’s original blonde/cream finish was too closely associated with the late guitarist. The “bull’s-eye” decals were done without Wylde’s request—he had asked for an Alfred Hitchcock “Vertigo” design--but in the end, the Wylde was pleased with the results. “It’s an amazing guitar,” he told Premier Guitar, in 2017.

“Magic” (Peter Green, Gary Moore)

This 1959 Les Paul Standard was long thought to be endowed with mystical properties, owing to its distinctively warm, trebly tone. The consensus belief is that its unusual tonal properties stem from the fact that one of its pickups was mistakenly wound in reverse. Peter Green played the guitar during his tenure with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and subsequently used it throughout his period with Fleetwood Mac. Green then passed it on to Gary Moore, who played it for more than three decades. Metallica’s Kirk Hammett is the lucky owner today.

“The Log” (Les Paul)

The great Les Paul was a mere 26 years old when he fashioned this makeshift solid-body guitar sometime in 1940. Frustrated with that era’s hollow-body guitars, which tended to distort when amplified, the legendary innovator at first tried filling his guitar with plaster of Paris. That effort proved fruitless, but when Paul fitted a 4 x 4 block of pine with a tailpiece, two pickups, and a Gibson neck, he hit pay dirt. Today, The Log is widely considered to be ground zero for the instrument that came to bear its maker’s name.