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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    This a scanned Polaroid photo of Geoff Richardson, a British guitarist with the D.C area band Crank (Johnny Castle on bass). He's slingin' what I believe to be a '59 Darkburst Les Paul. The photo was taken at a D.C. area local high school concert in 1971 where they opened for the Ides of March ("Vehicle" fame). The first time I saw him with this guitar was in 1969. He usually plugged straight in to a Marshall 4-holer 100 watt half stack. Goes without saying his tone was killer. Crank had some original tunes but they also played a lot of covers by artists such as Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton, Cream, The Who, Blodwyn Pig, etc.



    Last edited by marshall1987; 10-11-07 at 11:40 AM.

  2. #2
    Administrator MikeSlub's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Looks way too dark to be a '50s Lester. Refin? Early 70's guitar?
    Mike Slubowski

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  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeSlub View Post
    Looks way too dark to be a '50s Lester. Refin? Early 70's guitar?
    Mike, I first saw Geoff play this guitar in 1969, so it couldn't have been a 70's Les Paul. I think the stage lighting and old Polaroid photo exaggerate the Darkburst effect somewhat. I recall in person it appeared as a regular looking Darkburst or Tobacco Sunburst.
    Last edited by marshall1987; 10-11-07 at 11:53 AM.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member Don L's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Maybe Nick (60pinstripe) has seen it too...
    Some things just have to be believed to be seen.

  5. #5

    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    it musta REALLY exaggerated it..

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by garywright View Post
    it musta REALLY exaggerated it..
    Folks, it's a scanned 36 year-old Polaroid photo. Recall these old cameras would take the shot and produce a paper photo in about 60 seconds. Trust me, in person it looked like a regular Darkburst Les Paul. My buddies and I used to follow Crank around all over the place. I saw that guitar from 6 feet away alot. Also Crank was the real deal, I doubt they would even consider using second tier gear. Geoff grew up in England not far away from the "big boys" of that era. When they appeared at the "Berlin Airlift" concert at RFK stadium in 1971, Mark Farner of GFR was blown away by Geoff, and suggested they go up to New York to record. I have learned that they opened for Allman Bros., The Byrds, and Jimmy Hendrix at stadium and arena shows. They eventually put out two albums. Got 'em both.
    Last edited by marshall1987; 10-13-07 at 05:47 AM.

  7. #7

    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    The pattern of the burst is very wide on the lower bout and follows the body profile rather than being sprayed in a teardrop shape. This is not typical of an original Burst finish. Since the photo was taken in 1969, I'd say its unlikely that he routed and refinished a brand new '68 or '69 Les Paul. My guess is that it's most likely a 50's guitar that was refinished, possibly a burst, more likely a goldtop. You mentioned he was a fan of Clapton and the Bluesbreakers. He may have refinshed it to look more like EC's burst.

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by DANELECTRO View Post
    The pattern of the burst is very wide on the lower bout and follows the body profile rather than being sprayed in a teardrop shape. This is not typical of an original Burst finish. Since the photo was taken in 1969, I'd say its unlikely that he routed and refinished a brand new '68 or '69 Les Paul. My guess is that it's most likely a 50's guitar that was refinished, possibly a burst, more likely a goldtop. You mentioned he was a fan of Clapton and the Bluesbreakers. He may have refinshed it to look more like EC's burst.
    It didn't look like the Polaroid photo in person. Let's say that again....It didn't look like the photo in person. Old 36 year old Polaroid photos bleed badly.

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member mistersnappy's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by DANELECTRO View Post
    The pattern of the burst is very wide on the lower bout and follows the body profile rather than being sprayed in a teardrop shape. This is not typical of an original Burst finish. Since the photo was taken in 1969, I'd say its unlikely that he routed and refinished a brand new '68 or '69 Les Paul. My guess is that it's most likely a 50's guitar that was refinished, possibly a burst, more likely a goldtop. You mentioned he was a fan of Clapton and the Bluesbreakers. He may have refinshed it to look more like EC's burst.
    +1 the paint spray near the toggle switch doesn't conform to what I've seen of originals and in BTOB...

    Similar look to the Sunburst Kunio Kishida owns that used to be Dickey Betts' (although not as dark) and that was a refin.

    maybe a unique example?
    "That's what I love, man, to hear that backbeat popping, that damn bass plonkin' down. Jesus God!"-Duane Allman

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member CharlieS's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Cool photo. I think people forget how cheesy Polaroids could be for quality. It will be interesting to find out what the guitar is...someone must know the story. Maybe a refin?

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member sillytele's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    "No cool photo goes unpunished" Geez
    SoundCloud Home On The Grange "Good Times Bad Times"
    AKA: SillyPeterGreenBurstTele
    Remember, Clapton recorded the Beano album with a 7 year old guitar.
    "May I see your papers...."

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by marshall1987 View Post
    It didn't look like the Polaroid photo in person. Let's say that again....It didn't look like the photo in person. Old 36 year old Polaroid photos bleed badly.
    Without further proof, it definitely looks like a refin.

    What did you expect with that pic?
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  13. #13

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieS View Post
    Cool photo. I think people forget how cheesy Polaroids could be for quality. It will be interesting to find out what the guitar is...someone must know the story. Maybe a refin?
    Here's another photo of Geoff Richardson and Crank. I think he is playing the same Les Paul as above. Notice the thin creme binding in the cut-away. Got to be 50's. Sorry it's B&W.

    Last edited by marshall1987; 10-13-07 at 05:52 AM.

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by TW59 View Post
    Without further proof, it definitely looks like a refin.

    What did you expect with that pic?
    Oh it doesn't make any difference to me. I was lucky enough to see these guys when I was a young sprout. That vintage Les Paul/Marshall sound is burned in my memory forever. Been chasing it ever since.

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member Rev.WillieVK's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by DANELECTRO View Post
    The pattern of the burst is very wide on the lower bout and follows the body profile rather than being sprayed in a teardrop shape. This is not typical of an original Burst finish. Since the photo was taken in 1969, I'd say its unlikely that he routed and refinished a brand new '68 or '69 Les Paul. My guess is that it's most likely a 50's guitar that was refinished, possibly a burst, more likely a goldtop. You mentioned he was a fan of Clapton and the Bluesbreakers. He may have refinshed it to look more like EC's burst.
    "That's not a Sunburst - that's a RIMBURST!"

    I agree with Dano, a re-fin'd '50s something.

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by marshall1987 View Post
    Oh it doesn't make any difference to me. I was lucky enough to see these guys when I was a young sprout. That vintage Les Paul/Marshall sound is burned in my memory forever. Been chasing it ever since.
    The finish doesn't make the tone.

    Just kkep that memory and

    Pauls to the walls!

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  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member Bluestar's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    marshall1987 - I'm pretty sure I saw/heard Crank play at Ft. Hunt in Alexandria circa '71. I really didn't know then if the guitarist was playing a Les Paul (vintage or otherwise), but man they sounded great, especially that drummer (with that real high high hat). 'Course, I could have it wrong - but, anyway, thanks for posting that pic.

  19. #19
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluestar View Post
    marshall1987 - I'm pretty sure I saw/heard Crank play at Ft. Hunt in Alexandria circa '71. I really didn't know then if the guitarist was playing a Les Paul (vintage or otherwise), but man they sounded great, especially that drummer (with that real high high hat). 'Course, I could have it wrong - but, anyway, thanks for posting that pic.
    Bingo, you got it. Fort Hunt High, April 1971. What class where you in? I was '73.

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member Bluestar's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by marshall1987 View Post
    Bingo, you got it. Fort Hunt High, April 1971. What class where you in? I was '73.
    '75, but that was my only year there (freshman) - but I still remember that concert, and the guitarist with his Les Paul (and the drummer!), even though I didn't start playing until the next year. Man, Crank was kick ass, and his guitar tones were awesome!

    Back on topic: I'm no help to you at all as to whether the Les Paul was vintage or not - sorry, I just didn't know enough about them at that time to draw any conclusion.

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluestar View Post
    '75, but that was my only year there (freshman) - but I still remember that concert, and the guitarist with his Les Paul (and the drummer!), even though I didn't start playing until the next year. Man, Crank was kick ass, and his guitar tones were awesome!

    Back on topic: I'm no help to you at all as to whether the Les Paul was vintage or not - sorry, I just didn't know enough about them at that time to draw any conclusion.
    Did you catch the "Spirit" concert at Fort Hunt in '69? Randy California was great! He played one of those Dan Armstrong Lucite guitars.
    Last edited by marshall1987; 10-13-07 at 05:50 AM.

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member Bluestar's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by marshall1987 View Post
    Did you catch the "Spirit" concert at Fort Hunt in '69? Randy California was hot! He played one of those Dan Armstrong Plexi guitars.
    No, I didn't. But you know the rules - can't hang at a high school until you are in it!

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member es336td's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by marshall1987 View Post
    Folks, it's a scanned 36 year-old Polaroid photo. Recall these old cameras would take the shot and produce a paper photo in about 60 seconds. Trust me, in person it looked like a regular Darkburst Les Paul. My buddies and I used to follow Crank around all over the place. I saw that guitar from 6 feet away alot. Also Crank was the real deal, I doubt they would even consider using second tier gear. Geoff grew up in England not far away from the "big boys" of that era. When they appeared at the "Berlin Airlift" concert at RFK stadium in 1971, Mark Farner of GFR was blown away by Geoff, and suggested they go up to New York to record. I have learned that they opened for Allman Bros., The Byrds, and Jimmy Hendrix at stadium and arena shows. They eventually put out two albums. Got 'em both.
    Have any pix of the Berlin Airlift? I was at that show and all the local acts rocked! The Allman Brothers were amazing... as was Crow... GFR was cool, but after the ABB... a little bit of a let down. I also remember Pacific Gas & Electric going on AFTER Grand Funk and everyone leaving during their set. It was a great day, even though Hendrix had passed... BTW, wasn't the Berlin Airlift done in September of 1970? Thanx.

    L

  24. #24

    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Don't know how I missed this thread.
    I used to hear Crank all the time back in the day.
    The Les Paul that Geoff used to play sounded incredible. It was a 1957 Gold Top that Marty at Chuck Levins refinished in Tobacco Sunburst. The uniform border was Marty's trademark when he did Sunburst finishes.

  25. #25
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by marshall1987 View Post
    Bingo, you got it. Fort Hunt High, April 1971. What class where you in? I was '73.
    I was there too. Mount Vernon class of '73. Geoff lives in Santa Barbara Ca now. Had a hand in the Gatton Tele design. Still plays.

  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by 60pinstripe View Post
    Don't know how I missed this thread.
    I used to hear Crank all the time back in the day.
    The Les Paul that Geoff used to play sounded incredible. It was a 1957 Gold Top that Marty at Chuck Levins refinished in Tobacco Sunburst. The uniform border was Marty's trademark when he did Sunburst finishes.
    Then maybe the Les Paul Geoff is playing in the B&W photo in post #15 is the '57 Goldtop you are referring to? Hard to tell from a B&W photo, but that guitar sort of looks gold to my ancient eyeballs. Geoff also has retained the pick guard on his Les Paul in that photo.
    "Scan not a friend under a microscopic glass; you know his faults so let his foibles pass".

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  27. #27

    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Just another DC lurker here, great post. Off topic ~
    Danny at the Gentry SE / and on Conn and Porter early 90's

    Regular bar ,name escapes me ~ killin it.
    night after night..
    Atomic Billiards ? is its name now
    wow

    c

  28. #28
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by Unbound Dot Neck View Post
    Just another DC lurker here, great post. Off topic ~
    Danny at the Gentry SE / and on Conn and Porter early 90's

    Regular bar ,name escapes me ~ killin it.
    night after night..
    Atomic Billiards ? is its name now
    wow

    c
    Crazy Horse maybe? Or the Quonset where Southeast DC hit the Maryland line?
    "Scan not a friend under a microscopic glass; you know his faults so let his foibles pass".

    Sir Frank Crisp
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  29. #29

    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    ah, Club Soda , less than 15 folks on a given night , insane music makin
    same for the Gentry in SE DC

    crazy horse was the g'town hang much earlier
    of course Bayou, Desperados and Cellar Door , Short lived Wax Museum in SW DC !
    Fleetwoods and Warner th. too


    memories.. glad they exist
    Last edited by Unbound Dot Neck; 04-26-16 at 07:44 PM.

  30. #30
    Les Paul Forum Member pinefd's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    How the heck did this 8 year old thread get dug up again?

  31. #31
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by pinefd View Post
    How the heck did this 8 year old thread get dug up again?
    Simple......folks are passionate about rock music history in D.C. There is always something new to learn about the great bands and music that rocked the nation for decades.
    "Scan not a friend under a microscopic glass; you know his faults so let his foibles pass".

    Sir Frank Crisp
    Friar Park
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  32. #32
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by Unbound Dot Neck View Post
    ah, Club Soda , less than 15 folks on a given night , insane music makin
    same for the Gentry in SE DC

    crazy horse was the g'town hang much earlier
    of course Bayou, Desperados and Cellar Door , Short lived Wax Museum in SW DC !
    Fleetwoods and Warner th. too


    memories.. glad they exist
    I was at the Bayou in 1976 (I think?) when Foreigner played their very first American gig prior to playing in arenas and other large venues on the East Coast. The place was f_____ing insane!
    "Scan not a friend under a microscopic glass; you know his faults so let his foibles pass".

    Sir Frank Crisp
    Friar Park
    London, England

  33. #33
    Les Paul Forum Member jimmi's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by DANELECTRO View Post
    The pattern of the burst is very wide on the lower bout and follows the body profile rather than being sprayed in a teardrop shape. This is not typical of an original Burst finish. Since the photo was taken in 1969, I'd say its unlikely that he routed and refinished a brand new '68 or '69 Les Paul. My guess is that it's most likely a 50's guitar that was refinished, possibly a burst, more likely a goldtop. You mentioned he was a fan of Clapton and the Bluesbreakers. He may have refinshed it to look more like EC's burst.

    There where several guys spraying these. Each did it slightly differently. This includes at least one guy who did follow the body more...which is good since i like that more.

  34. #34
    Les Paul Forum Member jimmi's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by pinefd View Post
    How the heck did this 8 year old thread get dug up again?
    Holy smokes, just realized it was an old thread...

  35. #35
    Les Paul Forum Member thin sissy's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    The pattern kind of reminds me of Scott Gorham's old refin

    This is a song from the new album, it's a deep meaningful song this one... No, it's not whiskey in the fucking jar... Philip Lynott

  36. #36
    Les Paul Forum Member 66SuperTremMKIV's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Man I would have had it refinished back as a GT ....... real bad Burst job.

  37. #37
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by pinefd View Post
    How the heck did this 8 year old thread get dug up again?
    Diggin' in the dirt! Cheers

  38. #38
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by gawfshot View Post
    Diggin' in the dirt! Cheers
    There is a lot of gold in the old threads archived here.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

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  39. #39

    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Quote Originally Posted by marshall1987 View Post
    It didn't look like the Polaroid photo in person. Let's say that again....It didn't look like the photo in person. Old 36 year old Polaroid photos bleed badly.
    If the photo does NOT show the guitar as it looks like in real life, why did you post the pic as "cool"? Or do you mean "cool" in an artistic/abstract way?
    Regards, Dirk

    Come on, it's just some wood, plastic and wires!

    "What other people think of me is none of my business!"

  40. #40
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    Re: Cool Photo of a '59 Darkburst

    Yessir, this old thread is of value at any time as a model of how not to spray a Gibson sunburst, imho. when I saw the pic in the first post, my eyes almost crossed due to the confusion....it didn't look correct to my eye in any way. The refin 'burst in the post just above doesn't fit for me, either.
    "As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins." Albert Schweitzer

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