It’s not every day that the world loses one of their pioneers of the Rock n’ Roll music as we all know it.
Chuck Berry truly changed the world of music as we know it.
Have you ever wondered which music legend was buried with his red Gibson guitar?
In short, Chuck Berry was the music legend that was buried with his red Gibson Gibson ES-355 guitar. He was born in 1948 and passed away in 2017 at the age of 90 in St. Louis Missouri after going into cardiac arrest.
Why is Chuck Berry Considered a Music Legend?
For those who are unfamiliar with Chuck Berry’s music, here is a little background of how he because known as a true rock ‘n’ roll music legend.
Chuck Berry was considered by many as the father of rock ‘n’ roll.
Throughout his time, he had several hit songs, primarily in the 1950’s – 1970’s era of music.
Some of these songs include “Johnny B. Goode” ”Maybellene” and “Roll Over Beethoven”
Chuck Berry was a music legend because his songs helped pave the way for the modern era of rock ‘n’ roll music.
The tone and feel of his music really had not been done before up until this point. His upbeat and eccentric style in his performances made him a popular icon in the genre.
In addition, he was one of the main music legends that popularized semi-hollow body electric guitars.
Since Gibson had just started releasing their semi-hollow body ES series of guitars in the mid 1950’s, Chuck Berry was an early adopter and pioneer of the instrument.
Today, the Gibson ES shaped semi-hollow body guitars are the most iconic semi-holly body shape guitar in existence, and rivals that of the Gibson Les Paul in terms of popularity.
What Guitars Did Chuck Berry Use?
Now, we all know that Chuck Berry was the music legend who was buried with this red Gibson guitar.
But what guitar models did Chuck Berry play?
In his time, he was seen playing several different guitars in addition to his iconic red Gibson guitar.
Here is a look at Chuck Berry’s complete guitar collection.
Kay K-161 Thin Twin
So, we all know that Chuck Berry was very fond of the Gibson ES semi-hollow body guitars. However, what most people don’t know is that he actually started playing on a Kay K-161 Thin Twin guitar.
These guitars were made in from 1952 to 1959 right around the time the Gibson Les Paul was first introduced. Similar to the Gibson ES guitars, the Kay K-161 is also a semi-hollow body guitar. Since they only had a short production run of about 7 years, you’re not likely to see them anymore.
However, if you’re lucky you might find tone of these vintage guitars on the used market.
Gibson ES-350T and ES-350TN
These Gibson guitars were some of the first that Chuck Berry made his name with. They were originally released back in 1957 and at the time featured Gibson’s new PAF humbucker pickups.
For those of you who are familiar with electric guitar gear, you’ll know that PAF style pickups have become a staple of the industry nowadays.
There are countless guitar pickup manufacturers that have emulated the classic tone of a PAF pickup and it all started with the Gibson ES-350T and ES-350TN.
This guitar shape is quite possible the most popular style of semi-hollow body electric guitars on the market. Since it’s release, this body shape has been copied countless times by every single popular guitar manufacturer you can think of.
The Gibson ES-335 was Chuck Berry’s bread and butter guitar. It was his “go-to” guitar for years. Originally issued in 1958, this was also the same year that Berry released his hit single “Sweet Little Sixteen.”
Cherry Red Gibson ES-355
Now, this is the guitar that we all know and love. The cherry red Gibson ES-355 that he sported became one of the most iconic guitars in the history of Rock ‘n’ Roll music. While he did play several different versions of this exact guitar, it’s still the main guitar we think of when hear Chuck Berry’s name.
This Gibson ES-355 was so cherished that the music legend was actually buried with his red Gibson guitar when he passed away in 2017 at the age of 90.
While Chuck Berry was primarily known for playing Gibson guitars, he was also seen dabbling with Gretsch Guitars. For those who don’t know, Gretsch is a very established guitar manufacturer that is known for their semi-hollow body and hollow body electric guitars.
So in terms of style, these guitars were right up Chuck Berry’s alley. He was seen playing a various versions of Gretsch Guitars including a 1959 Gretsch 6121 Roundup, and a Gretsch 6120, as well as a Gretsch G6136DC White Falcon double cutaway.
Which Red Gibson Guitar was Chuck Berry Buried With?
So we’ve mentioned it before, but just to reiterate, the red guitar that Chuck Berry was buried with was a Gibson ES-355.
The Gibson ES-355 is one of Gibson’s top of the line semi-hollow body electric guitars.
It is essentially a luxury version of the classic Gibson ES-335 that everyone knows and loves.
The Gibson ES-355 is basically the same guitar as an ES-335 except that is has a split-diamond inlay rather than the small crown inlay. In addition, the 355 has an ebony fingerboard with a nice binding around it instead of rosewood.
Where Can You Buy the Guitar that Chuck Berry’s Guitar?
Chuck Berry’s actual cherry red Gibson ES-355 would be impossible to get considering he was buried with it. But what if you wanted to get your hands on the exact same model of the guitar as a tribute to him? Where would you be able to buy one?
Well, unfortunately, Gibson does not produce the Gibson ES-355 anymore, so it’d be pretty difficult to find one.
This model was manufactured from 1958 to 1982, so you probably won’t find too many of the original models floating around anymore unless to look on the used market.
However, if you really want something similar to Chuck Berry’s red Gibson guitar, you can just get a Gibson ES-335. This was Chuck Berry’s go-to guitar for years and still one of the most popular semi-hollow body electric guitars on the market today.
Alternatives to Chuck Berry’s Red Gibson Guitar
If you’re interested in playing the same cherry red Gibson guitar that Chuck Berry used, then it’ll set you back about $3000.
That’s the average price for a brand new Gibson ES-335. Since this well out of the budget for most guitar players, it would definitely make sense to look for other similar options on the market that don’t break the bank.
Luckily, the Gibson ES-335 is one of the most copied guitars out there, similar to the Gibson Les Paul. Nearly all of the major guitar manufacturers out there have a semi-hollow body guitar model that is inspired by the Gibson ES-335
So here are some of the best budget alternatives the music legends’ red Gibson guitar: