Rick Nielsen by Mike Graham

We all know Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen is a guitar nut. We also know he has some of the finest vintage Gibsons known to man. But what he doesn’t talk about too often is his early days when he was a real guitar trader (of sorts). Nielsen was a huge fan of Jeff Beck in the ‘60s (and still is!) and says a lot of his inspiration for playing guitar at all comes from the Yardbirds veteran.

In an interview with MusicRadar.com, Nielsen explains: “A lot of it comes down to Jeff Beck – he’s my favorite because he came up with things no-one else played. I guess that’s why I like him so much. I have a lot of Jeff Beck history, even on my phone. There’s a picture of my ticket to see him on 11 December 1965 with The Yardbirds. He played about 15 minutes from my house at the Rock River Roller Palace.

“You know, I sold Jeff Beck the second Les Paul he ever owned not long after on 4 June 1968. I’m not kidding one ***ing bit! It was a ’59 that had a Bigsby on it… If you look close, you can see where it used to be. I traded a Gibson SG and $25 for it. I have pictures of me with him, Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan 10 years after selling him that guitar.”

Nielsen tells more about his life as a teenage vintage dealer at MusicRadar. He also reveals he now owns “150” Gibsons and there’s hope for all of us failing to put in the hours woodshedding. It doesn’t matter to Nielsen who says, “I haven’t practiced since 1967.”

If you crave a replica of Nielsen’s own favorite 1959 Gibson Les Paul, look here.

Photo Credit: Mike Graham