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Owning a vintage Gibson – let alone a collection of them – may seem like an impossibility. Yet Rob Sampson disagrees, because he’s actually done it. Huw Price finds out more…


Rob Sampson’s collection is as impressive as they come – but refreshingly, his approach is quite different from that of most collectors. He’s unafraid of refinishes, headstock breaks, missing parts and modifications. By and large, he avoids top dollar items, instead focusing on lesscoveted models and picking up 50s and 60s guitars for less than the cost of current production reissues. But why did he choose to focus on Gibson?

“The beauty of the Gibson brand, from a collecting point of view, is that there are far more midrange models that are affordable,” he explains. “With Fenders, there are fewer models, and Strats and Teles from the 50s and 60s are an awful lot of money. I realised I’d never own a 50s Les Paul Standard, so I got into ES-330s instead. I went through several of those until I got a ‘62 ES-335. It was a refin with a headstock break, but it was ridiculously cool, and I got an early-60s ES-335 for £2,000! Later, I got a ‘66 ES-345 that wasalso cheap, because the ‘board had been replaced. As a result, I slowly realised that player-grade stuff with repairs and some changes can be relatively affordable. If there are hardware issues, you can just find replacements online and put things back to original.”

Rob’s 1949 ES-300N features an outrageously flamey maple top
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About Guitar Magazine

The August 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine is on sale now and this month it’s all about Player power as we run the rule over four new models from the Player series: Fender’s replacement for the Mexican Standard line. As well as more traditional configurations, the Player series contains several guitars and basses that are far from standard, such as the nifty HH Jazzmaster that readers of the print mag can find behind the barn doors of our special edition cover. Elsewhere in this month’s issue we fly to Iceland to find a man dipping guitars in volcanic hot springs, investigate the issue of gender politics in the guitar industry, meet band-of-the-moment Boy Azooga, get to grips with an incredible staple-pickup ‘56 Les Paul Custom and put hot new gear from Collings, ThorpyFX, Fractal, Keeley, EarthQuaker Devices and more to test. On top of all that we have not one but two fantastic competitions with pro Audio-Technica monitor headphones and a one-off custom-painted Strat up for grabs. It’s a hot one, alright – download your copy of the August 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine now.