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Jared James Nichols sets out to restore one of the first Gibson Les Pauls ever made after it was destroyed in a tornado

Jared James Nichols
(Image credit: Getty Images / Jared James Nichols / Instagram)

A 1952 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop belonging to Jared James Nichols is to be restored following its destruction in a tornado in Washington, Illinois in 2013.

The guitar – nicknamed Dorothy after the Wizard of Oz character who was swept up in a tornado – is thought to be one of the first Les Paul models from 1952, due to its diagonally placed bridge pickup screws.

In an Instagram post shared on April 28, Nichols writes: “On 17 November 2013 one of the biggest recorded tornadoes tore through Washington, Illinois killing and destroying everything in its path. This guitar was found in the front yard of a home in the rubble. It has not been touched since, there is still mud on it!”

“The original owner was found (it was her grandpa’s guitar who has long passed) and she gave her blessing to my new friend who has kept the guitar since then.”

He continues: “I want to thank my new shred brother TJ Duckwiler from the bottom of my heart for hitting me up and gifting me this incredibly special instrument... He knew my love of LPs and P-90s of course. We talked the idea of this guitar being risen from the ashes and brought back to its former glory. It is happening!!!”

The guitar will be repaired by Joel Wilkins, who is known for his restorative work on vintage guitars, including early Fender and Gibson electric guitars.

“Joel is a wizard and a true genius, he will be taking this project full-on. Crafting a hand built Brazilian board neck, alongside fixing every other component to take it back to glory. I will only be fixing, no refinish! 

“Excited is an understatement. I cannot wait to play my heart out on this Les Paul.”

We'll endeavor to keep you updated on the 1952 Les Paul's restoration as it happens. In the meantime, check out Jared James Nichols' new Epiphone “Gold Glory” Les Paul Custom.

I'm a Staff Writer at Guitar World. I've played guitar for 15+ years and have a degree in Music Technology (Mixing & Mastering). I suppose that makes me qualified to talk to you about this stuff? I'm into all genres of music, but first and foremost I love all things rock and metal.