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Gibson Custom Shop unveils the B.B. King Lucille Legacy, a tribute to the blues great’s iconic custom ES-355

The name Lucille has iconic meaning for blues fans and guitarists everywhere –making B.B. King’s favored guitar one of the few in music history to be recognised by its nickname alone. Now the Gibson Custom Shop has unveiled the B.B. King Lucille Legacy – a refinished take on King’s signature guitar.

Interestingly, Gibson’s Custom Shop is claiming that the model is both a “historically accurate” recreation and that it features luxurious new appointments.

Gibson Custom Shop B.B. King Lucille Legacy

(Image credit: Gibson)

As such, key features of the original Custom Lucille can be found, including a tweaked Gibson ES-355 body with no f-holes (to reduce feedback, as per King’s preference), ebony fretboard, a TP-6 tailpiece with fine tuners, a Varitone switch, plus four audio taper CTS potentiometers and paper-in-oil Bumblebee capacitors. 

However, compared with the more restrained design of King’s own model, the Legacy edition is constructed from figured maple veneer, which is showcased in a Transparent Ebony finish, while a further flourish includes the new mother-of-pearl split-block inlay patterns.

It also comes loaded with two Gibson Custombucker pickups and, in contrast to the laminated maple of the original, Gibson has listed a mahogany neck.

Gibson Custom Shop B.B. King Lucille Legacy

(Image credit: Gibson)

“We are honored to celebrate the life and spirit of B.B. King with this very special addition to Gibson Custom Shop’s Artist Collection,” says Mat Koehler, Senior Director of Product Development, Gibson Brands. 

“The Lucille Legacy model features both classic Lucille features and some new ornate elements like split block inlays and a stunning figured maple body. Its beauty and character pay tribute to the man who brought joy to millions around the globe and created music so powerful it will live forever.”

When discussing Lucille models, it’s worth noting that from around 1949 the blues great named every one of his main guitars Lucille. This reportedly applied from his early Gibson L-30, through various ES-335s and on to the eventual custom-made take on the ES-355TDSV (which formed the basis of his Gibson signature model). 

The Lucille Legacy is based on the latter, which thanks to its 40-plus year (on and off) tenure in Gibson’s catalog, gives it perhaps the most recognized claim to the name (even if it’s not the instrument he actually played when recording 1968 song Lucille). Confused? Well, love is complicated...

The Gibson Custom Shop B.B. King Lucille Legacy is available to order direct from Gibson.com (opens in new tab) for a price of $6,999.

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.