Gibson, Les Paul 55 Special, 1978 - Rich Robinson (The Black Crowes)


Les Paul 55 Special (Single Cutaway Reissue)
Serial Number: 
Aged Cherry
Two Jason Lollar P-90 Single Coil Pickups
The Story Behind

This guitar was owned and quite extensively used by legendary guitarist Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes. This was one of Rich's favorite guitars – a 1978 Gibson Les Paul 55 Special (Single Cutaway Reissue). He purchased this guitar in 1990, and loved it so much he used it on tour, and on every Black Crowes record since The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. The guitar would eventually be dubbed his "Three Snakes Les Paul Special" because of the custom "Three Snakes" inlaid logo on the upper bout of the guitars. Of course, the Three Snakes logo was the main logo from the The Black Crowes' 1996 album, Three Snakes and One Charm.

The guitar went through several transformations during the time Rich owned it. Among the changes made were the addition of the aluminum football-shaped switch plate and pick-guard that closely resembles the same set up on the the legendary Bob Marley's Gibson Les Paul Special. At some point, a small border approximately 1/8" thick was painted around the headstock to resemble a bound peg-head. Whoever painted it did a very excellent job, as it does give the appearance of a bound headstock. You really have to look at it closely to see that it was actually painted. 

Sometime in the mid-1990s, Rich also added the Abalone Pearl inlaid "Three Snakes" logo that is situated in the upper bout, just above the tailpiece and volume and tone controls. Rich also changed out the original Gibson P-90 single coils and replaced them with Jason Lollar P-90 pickups.

It has Gibson's very comfortable '60s slim taper neck profile, which make this guitar play like buttah.

Here are two videos showing Rich using the guitar live in concert:

The first video shows The Black Crowes performing "Sometimes Salvation" in 1993.


This next video features The Black Crowes performing "Hard To Handle" in Germany on Nov. 17, 1992.


Additionally, the guitar was featured in an interview Rich did for Vintage Guitar magazine. 

You can read the article here: showing how intensively the guitar has been modified during it's use by Rich.

This is one fabulously COOL piece of rock 'n roll history! 

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