Several years have passed since the launch of Seven Decades, the London stage show that features rare vintage guitars being used to perform rock and roll hits culled from the past 70 years. With new performances set to resume, Guitarist spoke with the show’s originators about two of their more recent purchases – a 1956 Les Paul Goldtop, and a 1958 Les Paul Standard.

“We got this [1956 Goldtop] about two years ago from a friend who told us it was possibly for sale,” says Michael Ross, who along Phil Hylander co-founded the show.  “… We’ve had a lot of people say this is the nicest-sounding guitar in the show. We play Guitar Slim stuff on that, because he was an early Goldtop player … and Rosetta Tharpe, who played a Goldtop and, of course, Freddie King, who was an early Goldtop player.”

As with the Goldtop, Ross and Hylander picked up the ’58 Les Paul Standard about two years ago.

“When we played it … it was like, ‘Yeah, this is really good,’” notes Ross. “It’s quite a mellow ’Burst, which again is quite nice because they’re all different. You can sit there and be like, ‘Oh, which one’s better?’ but really that’s not what it’s about. They’re all so different. But ’58s, I think, are very generally a bit mellower; I tend to think of a ’59 as being much more potent.

He continues: “We play all the Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page stuff. On the ’Burst we do Peter Green … a selection of Fleetwood Mac tunes. Allman Brothers as well. But it has got a very mellow vibe to it. It’s a good weight and it’s still got the original buttons on the tuners … in working, original condition.”

To learn more about the Seven Decades show, click here.