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Jared James Nichols Restores One of the First Gibson Les Pauls Ever Made


In April of 2021, blues and hard rock guitar titan, and the newest addition to the ArtistWorks master faculty, Jared James Nichols announced that he had come upon the remnants of one of the first Gibson Les Paul electric guitars ever made. Being the Gibson fanatic that he is, Jared was determined to restore the guitar to full playability and its original glory. Early last week, Jared came through on his word after revealing the fully restored 1952 Les Paul on his social media channels, which made waves throughout communities of guitar players and collectors alike.



The various pieces of the guitar were gifted to Jared by one of his fans, TJ Duckwiler, after the instrument was severely damaged in a tornado in Washington, Illinois in 2013. TJ Duckwiler owned the Les Paul prior to Jared and was originally gifted the six-string by a woman whose late grandfather was the initial owner.


After receiving the instrument, Jared appropriately dubbed the guitar, “Dorothy,” in reference to the beloved Kansas native swept up by a tornado in the classic 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz.



Everything about Dorothy is beyond perfect, I am so grateful,” Jared revealed in his recent social media post. “I need to thank my brother TJ Duckwiler for this incredible gift and [for] trusting me to bring this instrument back to life, making music. Love you brother.”


After receiving Dorothy, Jared reached out to master luthier Joel Wilkins, who specializes in early Fender and Gibson guitar restoration, pickup/electronics repair, and custom vintage pickup manufacturing, to revitalize Dorothy and bring her back to life. Legendary guitarist, collector, and a long-time friend of Jared’s, Joe Bonamassa, also aided in the restoration by donating much of the original 1952 hardware to bring the guitar back to authentic vintage specifications.



“Joel [Wilkins] nailed it, completely,” Jared explains. “He put his heart and soul into this resurrection. Joel, I cannot thank you enough. You are the best I've ever had the honor of working with.”


Dorothy has received a few modern appointments, Jared reports, including a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and red rubies fashioned into a tornado-like formation on the headstock.



Jared is gearing up to release his brand-new EP, Shadow Dancer in September, and will be supporting Black Stone Cherry on the road this October. To learn more, click here.



Have you always wanted to learn how to play blues rock guitar? Through our comprehensive guitar lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Jared James Nichols, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Jared’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner guitar to advanced performance techniques and songs. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as guitarists and musicians!


While Jared’s course officially launches in mid-September, Pre-Sale VIP Memberships are currently available and provide tons of amazing perks and exclusives leading up to the launch. Learn more here.


Try out some free sample music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



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