Gary Moore / Peter Green 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard

This is one of the most famous electric guitars in rock and roll history. Prior to Gary Moore, the guitar was owned by Peter Green (Bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac), who was one of the musicians who most contributed to the spread of the Les Paul model.

This guitar, paired with Eric Clapton ‘s Les Paul “Beano Burst” and Jimmy Page ‘s Les Paul “Number One” and a few others, is probably why the
Les Paul of the late 1950s is now seen by many as the “Holy Grail” of guitars.

The guitar with Peter Green

Peter Green bought this guitar for about £110 at Selmer’s on Charing Cross Road probably in 1965. At that time, Peter was already a member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, as he remembers using his old Harmony Meteor to audition for the band.

Peter continued playing with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers until July 1967, when he left the band with Mick Fleetwood to form the
Fleetwood Mac
. With John Mayall, he recorded an album, A Hard Road, which largely included this
Les Paul from 1959.

With Fleetwood Mac, Peter used this guitar as his principal, and it can be heard on all four albums he released with the band, Fleetwood Mac (1968), Mr. Wonderful (1968), Then Play On (1969), and Fleetwood Mac in Chicago (1969).

After leaving Fleetwood Mac in 1970, and moving away from public life, Peter offered his guitar to
Gary Moore
, presumably expressing a desire that he continue to have “a good life.”

Oddly enough, in his more recent years, Peter never returned to a Les Paul guitar, but instead switched to a 1960s Fender Stratocaster and a
Howard Roberts Fusion, among others.

In interviews, his opinion of the guitar ranged from being nothing special, to expressing great regret for selling it. Overall, it seemed that Peter felt some nostalgia whenever the guitar was mentioned to him.

The mod “Peter Green”

This guitar is known for its out-of-phase sound, which is activated when both the neck and bridge pickups are active. This characteristic was the result of one of the guitar pickups having its polarity reversed. Nowadays, people who decide to do this with their guitars often refer to it as the Peter Green mod.

It is, however, important to dispel some myths behind this mod. Many people consider Peter Green ‘s mod to be simply rotating the pickup at the neck about 180 degrees, as Peter unintentionally did some time in the 1960s. According to the story, he took out the neck pickup and played the guitar using only the bridge pickup. Apparently he got the idea from listening to Eric Clapton.

But when Peter returned to the store (or did he do it himself, the story is unclear on this) to reinstall the pickup, he ended up being put in the wrong way.

But, to achieve this out-of-phase sound, the polarity on one of the pickups had to be reversed, which, as noted, was the case on Peter‘s guitar. It had nothing to do with the rotation of the pickup itself.

Now, the story of when this was done varies from source to source. Phil Harris said that Green was unhappy with the way the neck pickup sounded, and he took it to Selmer to be repaired.

But, according to Jol Dantzig, who had a chance to examine the guitar in the 1980s, this was probably a factory error. The interior of the pickup was all original at that point.

Based on Peter Green‘s recollection of events, it is more likely that Jol Danzig ‘s version is correct. It could be that Phil Harris is also right, but the changes to the pickup (new cable) had to be made after Jol had already inspected the guitar (Phil Harris did this in the 2000s).

Guitar with Gary Moore

The guitar was passed from Peter to Gary in the early 1970s (the exact date is yet to be determined).

According to Harry Shapiro’s piece, Gary Moore: the story of Still Got The Blues,
he first met Peter in January 1970, when the band of
, Skid Row, supported Fleetwood Mac. They spent some time talking in a hotel room and became friends.

Sometime after Peter left Fleetwood Mac around May 1970, he went through a phase of selling his material assets. After meeting
at The Marquee club, he asked him if he would like to borrow his Les Paul for a few days and try it out. From then on, and until the early 2000s, the guitar remained in the possession of.

Other guitars

used this guitar as his main guitar in the early years, and almost exclusively until the late 1970s. She can be heard throughout her first two solo albums Grinding Stone (1973) and Back On The Streets (1978), and in her work with Thin Lizzy and Colosseum II. Over the years he began experimenting with different guitars, so it is difficult to determine which specific song the guitar was used on.

Contrary to popular myth, perhaps the best-known song by
, Still Got the Blues, did not contain this particular guitar, but another
1959 Les Paul purchased in 1989. As for that specific album (Still Got the Blues, 1990), the Peter Green Les Paul was used only on Midnight Blues and Stop Messin’ Around [ Gary Moore: the story of Still Got The Blues ].

The guitar was used, however, in what would generally be considered his second best-known song, Parisian Walkways.

The changes

During the period with
, the guitar underwent some modifications. According to Phil Harris, who at one point was the guitar’s “janitor,” the guitar had a bridge and tuning pins both replaced. The original vintage bridge was changed for an almost identical ABR-1 reissue model, and the keys replaced by nickel-plated Sperzels.

In addition, the original plastic guitar jack plate has been replaced with a metal one, and the two lower control knobs have been replaced with 1960s-style reflector knobs. When asked by Phil Harris about the reasons for the changes, the answer from
was exactly what one would expect from him.

The broken pallet

But perhaps the most important thing that happened to the guitar while it was with Gary is that the headstock broke at some point. Once again, according to Phil Harris, Gary was in a car accident and a van drove into the back of this car, where the guitar was allegedly kept.

As mentioned earlier, the guitar remained with
until about the mid-2000s. Presumably,
ran into some money problems and decided to sell it at that point. The whole business of the guitar changing hands had to be kept private, and
was not particularly happy when the news began to circulate.

The buyer was Phil Winfield of Maverick Music and the purported price was about $1 million. From then on it is unclear how many hands he changed before he ended up with Kirk Hammet of Metallica.

Guitar with Kirk Hammet

Kirk was approached with the prospect of purchasing this guitar in 2014 by Richard Henry of Richard Henry Guitars. According to Kirk, at first, he was not interested because he knew the guitar could cost a fortune.

Hammet ended up using the Green / Moore Les Paul on the 2016 Metallica album Hardwired … to Self-Destruct, and often uses it live even today.

At one point, he even met Peter Green and presented him with the guitar, to which Peter perhaps jokingly replied that the guitar could not be his.