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Digital Subscriptions > Guitar Magazine > Feb 2019 > HOLY GRAILS

HOLY GRAILS

There aren’t too many 25-year-olds who can tell you what it’s like to buy a 1959 Les Paul from Joe Bonamassa, or pull guitars out of their collection that were formerly owned by Jimi Hendrix, Paul Kossoff and Jeff Buckley. Join us as we spend a surreal 24 hours in Paris with Matthieu Lucas…
The 1959 Gibson Les Paul known as ‘Spot’ that was previously owned by Joe Bonamassa
PHOTOGRAPHY ELEANOR JANE

It begins in late November on a rainy morning in Paris. The previous day had almost been a write-off – fog-induced flight cancellations in London and then an extended spell in rush-hour traffic on the southbound autoroute from Charles de Gaulle didn’t exactly provide a picture-postcard welcome to one of Europe’s most alluring cities.

The UK and France may only be separated by a single one-hour timezone, but spending the best part of a day in an airport causes a palpable sense of disorientation, as does waking up before dawn to find the city lights still flickering through the drizzle running down our hotel window.

After falling victim to the Parisian traffic again and arriving late back from breakfast, we make our apologies to our driver and head south-west to the small town in the Yvelines departement that is home to one of Europe’s most remarkable collections of musical instruments and rockstar memorabilia. There’s a small detour en route to pick up a 1963 Stratocaster previously owned by Jimi Hendrix. No big deal. It sits in its case in the back of the minivan next to the photography gear and we get the feeling that transporting irreplaceable, near-priceless pieces of rock history has become an everyday occurrence for our hosts.

Jeff Buckley’s 1983 Telecaster, including the pick he used at his final show in Memphis in 1997. The guitar also came with the strap he used throughout his time with it still attached

And who are they, you ask? Ageing rockstars with a vault full of storied gear and shady anecdotes to match? Members of the French business elite who have chosen to invest their Euros in the ever-appreciating stock of golden-era Gibsons and Fenders? The reality couldn’t be more different.

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