Return to Website

Alvin Lee Message & Discussion Board


We invite you to use this forum to communicate with Alvin's fans around the world, but please do so with respect and goodwill.
We reserve the right to delete any messages we deem offensive.



Index > General Discussion > Alvin Lee Message & Discussion Board > Re: Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history
Forum: Alvin Lee Message & Discussion Board
Start a New Topic 
View Entire Thread
Re: Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

Hello Rod ? ( RS).
Thank you for the comment always nice to share toughts.
It is tru Alvin always refered about the Big red was a 58 model .I also saw that the Gibson ad refered to a model 1959 ( they probbely chequed it again at the factory against the serial nr )that is why i wrote 58/ keep both sides as option ( very diplomatic )

Yes the fender single coil was probbely added to the guitar mid 60ties i mean than arround 1965.66.67.

I made ofcourse a wrong typo about that Alvin got the sticker ( nu nukes ) at the Fillmore West in San Fransisco. in 1976 it is 1967 ofcourse is is a writing mistake sorry i ment 67 not 76.

Yest that PURPLE outfit with the stars on the sholders,is acctually red with black stars on the sholders i know i have seen it opclose , even touched it......this was the outfit i liked best on Alvin. As i recall he has a nother similar outfit yes maby that is purple/white sholders and black stars on it. I wonder where that is??????.....

I have investigate that one ...

Yest there is no record about T.Y.A that they have playd at the Marquee. that period that Alvin broke the nechk of by banging it in to the low ceeling . I got these facts from Alvin Himself in an Interview he did in 1987 with GUITARIST magazin Volume 3 Number 11 side 38 Alvin says " But when i broke the neck at the Marquee,owing it to the ceiling being so low. I send it back to Gibson for repair".......
RS a lot of concerst were never recorded. I give 3 Examples of concerts i have attended ,wich never er no record from . Amsterdam 2 oktober 1971. Amsterdam 26 Jan 1972 Rotterdam 24 march 1972. You never find these recorded in no dates but i still have the tickets .

I wrote the bigsby came of in the beginning of the 70ties You are probbebly right .Alvin played at the fillmore in 1970 without the bigsby but in febrary. Than he remouved the Bigsby between 17 august 1969 and febr 1970. But late 1969 ( You wrote), is almost the same as beginning 1970.

The other Gibsons Es 335 tc with the trapeze stoptail and TEAS sticer under the Trapeze . and STP and Ten Years After Watt Tour sticker sticker ,i am working
on that story for later.
The Gibson Es 345 The I.O.W.guitar ,ihave not so much info about that, exept that regrettebly Herb is in possesion of it. I SHOULD be in Toni`s possesion. At a real fan`s home.

Love and Peace.
Pieter Kentrop

Re: Re: Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

Hi Pieter,

You should have been in the UK a couple of months ago. There was an hour long serious documentary about Ronnie Wood - I know he's one of your favourites.

About the Big Red at The Marquee story. I too have read Alvin's interview in Guitarist (April 1987) where he says he broke the neck on the low ceiling at The Marquee. (In fact, I sent it over to Toni several years ago and she reprinted it in Rock On.) I've got slight doubts about that story though. One is for the reason I have already given, namely that (although you are correct that many gigs are still unrecorded) TYA weren't playing gigs at that sort of venue at the time in question. A second reason is that it is coincidentally close to a famous Pete Townshend story. When asked why The Who used to smash their equipment up in the '60s Pete says that one night they were playing in The Marquee. He swung his guitar up into the ceiling and the neck broke. He got so angry that he smashed the rest of it up. The crowd went apesh ... er, wild - and so equipment-smashing became part of the act after that. So you see what I mean.

Toni has said - and I've heard Alvin say it too - that his memory is a bit unreliable about some aspects of the old days. For instance, I have an interview where he is asked about the origins of "I'm Going Home". His answer was that at the gig when Undead was recorded they'd run out of material - so he just made IGH up there and then ... on the spot. Apart from wondering how the other three telepathically managed to play along quite so well, there is also the worrying factor that Toni's gigography reports IGH being played at gigs much earlier in 1968 than that.

So - nothing against Alvin - but I think that ALL rock stars' stories of their exploits and history from so long ago need a little independent verifiaction - and if that isn't possible, consume them with a pinch of the proverbial sodium chloride.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

Granted. Hey, it the least he remembers some of it!

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

Yeah Ronnie Wood is a funny sympathic Happy Dawn Good guitarplayer He fits best IN the Stones And with Rod Steward. I do not agree with Ronnie Solo. I do not like Keith Solo eighter. But Mick is great Solo. Maby somebody taped the documentary i can buy it from.

Hope to meet you sometimes as well RS. You are sitting in with a lot of knowledge. I had such a great time meeting ,Rosie,Kim,Alan,Jari,Jerry,Ian during the Alvin Lee UK tour. Were were YOU?
Looking forward to USA as well one time Swimming in Toni`s pool.

About the Marquee... I would certainly remember if i was Alvin where i broke my Gibson. Does the Marquee have a low ceiling ???
L&P and Keep On Tokin` (like Peter Tosh once said).
Pieter kentrop

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

Pieter - I went to one of last year's UK gigs, the one at Dartford. As you may well be aware, that's Mick and Keith's home town, as it happens. As kids, they lived just around the corner from each other - I know the two houses in question - and went to the same primary school. Mick's dad wrote a best-selling book on basketball and so, in the early '50s, the Jaggers moved to an expensive, brand new, four-bedroomed house in the nearby village of Wilmington. They named the house "Newlands". (Call me a saddo, but when we moved into our own brand new, four-bedroomed house I gave it the same name.) Keith's home was hit (not directly) by a German V2 flying bomb at the end of the second world war. Neighbours caught the brunt of it, and some were killed. When Keith tells the story he gives the impression that the Richards (him - only child - Bert and Doris) were there at the time. In fact, they were staying in Mansfield, where his dad was being treated at an orthopaedic hospital for war injuries. Interestingly, enough, less than a decade later, this would be the very same hospital where local Mansfield lad Leo Lyons would be treated for his polio. On returning to Dartford, the Richards were re-housed in a council house (US translation: housing project)- and this was when he and Mick lost touch.

Maybe Alvin's Marquee tale is true. You're right - he should know. But it's fun tracing all the evidence and clues and seeing what does and doesn't stack up. I look forward to learnig from you about that other mystery early '70s cherry red 335. One last comment about Big Red though: I wonder if the guy who sold it to Alvin ever knew what became of it? Imagine going along to his local Nottingham cinema in 1970 and seeing his old guitar up there on the silver screen, about ten times its normal size, in "Woodstock".

Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

Nice to see/read/hear your stories of yester-year.
You may consider,oh I don't know...teaching English, or something along those lines as you certainly have a way with the mighty pen...or pencil...or keys...or...or...ok I am done....


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

I've recently been in touch with an old friend of Alvin's from Nottingham and he has given me the name of the original Big Red owner (or at least, as he remembers it). I've thought it might be fun to try to track him down and tell him about the half million dollar offer Alvin received for it - but that seems a bit cruel, no?

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

Great story.
I wisch i was in dartford too. I visited Edit Grove where Brain Mick and Keith lived in rediciolous houshold as Charlie Watts stated.

I i was the guy who sold Alvin the Big Red and see it on the screen in the cinema ( woodstock ) ,i think i would tuched and mighty proud.

About the "replacement " Es 335 Trapeze tailpiece ,( you can see it on the cover of R&R Music T.T.World),Alvin used wile the Big Red was in for repair. I wonder who bought it .Herb told me ( us on the other board ) that it was sold on a auction for $ 14000.00 Dollars. With the stickers on it.
Can the one who bought it please step foreward.

Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

I just wanted to say how proud I am to be an Alvin Lee fan. I graduated from Lynbrook High School in San Jose, CA. in 1980 and there were only about 2 or 3 fans of his in the entire school. Now to see that Gibson has made a replica of his guitar fills me with a sense of satisfaction.

Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

Gerard.....small world....
I graduated from Fremont High in daughter graduated from Lynbrook last year, with another graduating this year from Lynbrook.

Alvin Rocks!

Re:1958/59. 335

The true history of the first 1958 Gibson cherry 335 with Bigsby is it was finished Dec 15. 1958, more than a year before it was offered as an option color.
It came factory wired in stereo.
It's in a private collection.

The s# is: A28800 and came with a California Girl case made by Stone Case Co.


Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

My neice is graduating from Lynbrook this year: Christine Kehoe.

Email   Guitar Decals  
Re: Rachel Jefferson

WTF!! is this ,Rowe??
Dark side in a uproar??

Email   Jus Da Blues  
1959 BIG RED Gibson es 335

I believe there was a sticker on the old dot neck headstock.


Re: Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history


Re: Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

Great stories about Big Red, Pieter, RS, Toni - thanks! And here's what Alvin himself said about it (hope you forgive me Toni, it's from

Working on the 335 electronics is a bit like keyhole surgery. I used to fasten guitar strings to the pots, toggle switch and jack socket before dropping them into the body and pulling them out of the F holes. That way, there is a good chance of getting them back in place again later. Loads of fun when one of them falls of!!!!!!

Darn, how much I miss our old friend and his great sense of humour already..

Re: Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

Hey, just so you know, I'm not the dumb Dave Toni refers to. What you guys needed to have experienced, was to actually hold & play Big Red. I got to for about 10 min. W/Alvin. He went and got his backup guitar, saying he couldn't play mine! (I have very low action on my 335 & very light strings. 008 set.). It took all I had, & this was backstage at a gig in Az., I had been playing 6 days a week, & I was in good playing shape, it took all I had to bend his strings! Also, the action was very high! He said "how do you play this thing?" referring to my 66 335, I said, "back at ya!" about his 335! The guitar (in 82) was in very good shape, it had some battle scars, but was very well-made and sturdy. The finish on the body seemed rough, due to the stickers. One of our roadies took a picture of me playing Big Red, but, as time goes on, I can't find the picture. One other thing: I first met Alvin at the Tower records in Hollywood in '78. Rocket Fuel was just out, and he and Tom, and Mick came for a autograph session. That's where he drew a schematic on my pad of paper, on how to wire a start pickup with a separate vol control to the back humbucker. He was a little "happy" at the time, but treated everyone with respect. I said to him "These things are a pain in the ass, right?" . He just smiled and shrugged. So 4 yrs later, when we met backstage where we opened for him, he was the same guy!! He asked if we had met before, I said yeah, but it was at a record store. He remembered the schematic, and old me the guy who did my mods on my 335 "did a excellent job". Just to recap, he was the same guy both times! I think Pieter got to play Big Red, maybe I'm wrong.
Anyway, I'm not the dumb Dave Toni refers to. (I hope!)

Re: Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

No, my friend, you are not Dumb Dave. You are Sweet Dave.

Re: Re: Re: The Alvin Lee BIG RED Gibson es 335 true history

I saw Alvin break the guitar. It was indeed at The Marquee but I can't remember exactly when. I remember, at the end of the show, Alvin threw it over the back of the Marshalls and saw a roadie pick it up afterwards with the neck snapped off. Really didn't notice Alvin bang it on the ceiling, either then or at all the other gigs they did there. Don't recall the ceiling being particularly low at The Marquee.