Don Felder

Former Eagles guitarist Don Felder is the subject of Premier Guitar's latest installment in their Rig Rundown series. In this episode Felder talks about how he got hooked on Gibson Les Pauls after missing the opportunity to buy a Black Beauty from the music store in Gainesville, Florida where he worked in his youth. "I'd always wanted a Les Paul and I missed that first opportunity. Later I wound up having more than I probably deserved - all classic ones."

Don is the proud owner of a 1959 Les Paul Standard, which has since been replicated by Gibson Custom as the Don Felder "Hotel California" 1959 Les Paul. These days Felder leaves the original at home and brings one of the replicas on the road. Felder talked about buying the guitar in the mid-seventies: "The most expensive guitar I bought from him [a guitar salesman named Tony Dukes] was my original ’59 Les Paul Sunburst, and I paid $1,200 for it. Everybody went 'You're crazy to pay that much… that guitar’s not worth that!'"

Felder also talked about his Gibson EDS-1275 Double Neck, a guitar that has been closely associated with the guitarist ever since the Hotel California days. "I stripped the humbuckers' covers off of these pickups off the original model. It's wired differently, because when we recorded 'Hotel California' I think I played sixteen different guitar tracks on that record. I played reggae parts, the acoustic 12-string part, the power chord parts, descending harmony lines, the solos, and just a bunch of different guitar parts. Then we got on a soundstage to try and figure out 'how am I going to play all those parts?' Felder modified his EDS-1275 to have two separate outputs which allowed him to route the 12-string through a Leslie effect while playing the six-string neck through a regular lead amp.

As is the case with the '59 Les Paul, Felder is not bringing the original out on tour, but rather one of Gibson’s faithful reproductions of the original guitar. "Gibson did a remarkable job of reissuing those for me," says Felder.

To see the entire Rig Rundown segment, visit Premier Guitar.