I was thumbing through a copy of the abysmal Singer magazine when I stumbled upon this guitar:
This is a Les Paul Special guitar "inspired" by the legacy of Bob Marley, manufactured by Epiphone. Who would buy this guitar? For one thing, it's got a guy's face emblazoned on the front. Furthermore, it has Jamaica flag colour fingerboard inlays. Lastly, it has "One Love" emblazoned on the headstock.
Epiphone, once a proud maker of fine archtop guitars, was bought out by Gibson way back and had its manufacturing outsourced to Asia. So Epiphone is now the Gibson for those that can't afford a Gibson. Could the Marley estate not wangle a deal with the mighty Gibson? Is Marley not famous enough? Angus Young has a signature model. So does Tom DeLonge, the guy from Blink 182 who plays nothing but power chords and whose music I could teach to you on our first guitar lesson. Herb Ellis has TWO models.
Now I dig Herb, but I doubt he ever got the feuding political leaders of any nation to shake hands.
Now, most of these artist models reproduce the actual guitar played by the artist. So for example, the Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan limited edition guitar is an utter reproduction of Stevie's main Strat, down to the last scratch and ding. I can see the thrill for a rabid SRV fan in playing what seems to the be the EXACT guitar his idol played. But the Epiphone Marley model looks (and, I suspect, sounds) nothing like the guitar Marley played. For one thing, Marley's own guitar didn't have his face on it. And it was a different model of Les Paul, with soapbar pickups, not the humbuckers in this guitar.
All of these are minor quibbles compared to how gay I would feel bringing this guitar to a gig. I don't care if it played like buttah and its tone made the angels blush. It has "One Love" on the headstock.
The only person that I can imagine buying this guitar is the diehard Marley completist guy (completist collectors are almost always men) who just has to own anything with Marley's name on it. This guy is not necessarily a guitarist. It's just going to hang on his wall. So I say, build the guitar out of Masonite and take the electronics that would have gone in it, and donate them to some poor punk musicians. It's not like anyone's going to notice.