From an 18-year-old who,
with the help of Steve
Marriott, was to become the guitarist of one of the bands that most forcefully
waved the ‘Hard Rock flag’ of the late 60s and early 70s to the gentleman with
white hair who we can continue to see today on stage there are many differences,
but during this ‘temporary ellipsis’ there is always a common denominator: a
guitarist who wanted to be different from the rest named Peter Frampton.
Indeed the evolution in the musical (not to say in the physical) has been very pronounced in the life of this British musician and we have a perfect example simply by taking a look at the gear he used in the times of Humble Pie and the one he uses today. At the end of the 60's, he only needed a cable to connect his Gibson SG or his Gretsch Duo Jet to his Marshall JMP or Super Lead; today he can be seen with more than five heads on stage, a Gibson Les Paul Standard 1960 or a Gibson Es 335 of 1964, among many others and, above all, with a pedalboard the size of a pool, which includes such legendary pedals as his Talk Vox or much more modern pedals like the Whammy by Digitech.
And it is normal that he ended up going for pedals because he was one of the first guitarists that we began to totally link to the sound they drew from their effects. If Hendrix in his day made all the world’s guitarists end up buying a Wah, Frampton made many of our idols of the 70s and 80s end up using a Vox Talk ... with better or worse fortune, of course.
And all this came about because after leaving Humble Pie he launched himself into stardom with a solo career that took years to take off until he blew up the world's hit charts with his legendary Frampton Comes Alive, a double live album, superb, full of rock and pop that made him one of planet Earth’s biggest stars in a few months and that would forever link his image to that of a guitar that he holds on the cover: a 54 Gibson Les Paul Custom with three double pickups.
And so now we can finally talk about the 'Phenix', one of the most famous Gibsons in history, not only because of its owner’s importance but because of the story behind it. The story goes that after ten years without separating from it in any concert (since the time a friend gave it to him in 1970 'til 1980) it happened that on a tour that would take them to Panama the plane that was transporting it crashed, leaving behind fatalities and material damage, among which the relevant authorities said that there was no doubt that his Les Paul had burned along with the rest of it. The funny thing is that 30 years later, a Brazilian luthier sent an e-mail to Peter Frampton's website that would arouse the curiosity of the old rocker; It was an email with detailed photos of his mythical 'Phenix' that left no doubt that it was ‘her’ and no other ... The guitar and artist re-encounter was soon celebrated with a YouTube video that we recommend you to see now, as it is quite emotional.
And, in short, this is the story of 'Phenix', which we can imagine that owes its name to the mythological bird, since few guitars can literally say that they have come back to life from the flames and ashes. This was done for the enjoyment of its owner, it was a rare guitar, modified, and it had an extra pickup that made it sound not harder, but more like a Strat. Now you can even see how its body was partly burned by the fire of the airplane ... In short, it's a different guitar made to measure by a guitarist who wanted and managed to sound different.