The Legacy of B.B. King & Lucille

B.B. King truly needs no introduction, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about some of the cool stories that have come out of his life—including that of “Lucille.”

His main squeeze "Lucille”, widely known as a f-hole-less Gibson ES-355, is now a legendary axe that has been reissued under both Gibson & Epiphone monikers. However, King has bestowed every one of his guitars with the Lucille name ever since he rescued his Gibson L-30 from a fiery inferno that was started by two men at the club fighting over the same woman. That woman's name—you guessed it—Lucille.

The seductress herself, Lucille. 

Lucille has become one of the most famous instruments ever (if not THE most famous) but in the early days you would most likely find B.B. King in the studio playing a Fender Esquire or Telecaster.

The man himself! 

Although B.B. used this guitar during the early 1950’s, a few years later he switched back to using semi-hollow Gibson guitars exclusively. It’s rumored that he continued to use this Esquire in the studio for a few recordings, but he stopped appearing with it publicly live and in promo photos by 1952.

King may've switched back to Gibson guitars but he would continue to use Fender amps almost exclusively in the '60s and onward. Most often you'd see him onstage with a Fender Super Reverb or the classic Twin Reverb. Although Fender tube amps tend to have that quintessential blues tone, B.B. was often spotted with a Solid-State Lab Series L5 amp which he would go on to give to fellow bluesman Eric Clapton in the '70s. 

FENDER VINTAGE REISSUE '65 TWIN REVERB

FENDER SUPER REVERB-AMP 4X10" COMBO 1967

BUT WHAT ABOUT LUCILLE?

Gibson produced the B.B. King Standard model from 1980-1985 while Epiphone has marketed a low-cost foreign-made option of the famous Lucille model. In 1999, Gibson launched the Little Lucille, a version of the Blueshawk guitar with a Tune-o-matic bridge and a TP-6 stoptail (the same that is found on today's Lucille models).

No matter which "Lucille" is your favorite there's no denying the legacy this guitar has left behind. It would be nothing without the man behind the axe. One reason this is a brief history of B.B. King's gear is that he didn't overcomplicate things. He stuck with the gear he loved and continued to use it until he passed away in 2015. We will always appreciate the blues and B.B. was truly the king of the blues. 

SHOP GIBSON

Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow

Gibson ES-335 Sunburst 1960

$65,995.00
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow
Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969 Electric Guitars / Semi-Hollow

Gibson ES-355 Cherry 1969

$13,995.00
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962 Electric Guitars / Solid Body

Gibson Les Paul Custom Polaris White 1962

$25,995.00
Gibson Custom Shop 1964 Trini Lopez Standard Reissue 60s Cherry VOS Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Custom Shop 1964 Trini Lopez Standard Reissue 60s Cherry VOS Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Custom Shop 1964 Trini Lopez Standard Reissue 60s Cherry VOS Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Custom Shop 1964 Trini Lopez Standard Reissue 60s Cherry VOS Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Custom Shop 1964 Trini Lopez Standard Reissue 60s Cherry VOS Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Custom Shop 1964 Trini Lopez Standard Reissue 60s Cherry VOS Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Custom Shop 1964 Trini Lopez Standard Reissue 60s Cherry VOS Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Custom Shop 1964 Trini Lopez Standard Reissue 60s Cherry VOS Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Custom Shop 1964 Trini Lopez Standard Reissue 60s Cherry VOS Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Custom Shop 1964 Trini Lopez Standard Reissue 60s Cherry VOS Electric Guitars / Solid Body
Gibson Custom Shop 1964 Trini Lopez Standard Reissue 60s Cherry VOS Electric Guitars / Solid Body

Gibson Custom Shop 1964 Trini Lopez Standard Reissue 60s Cherry VOS

$5,795.00

SHOP FENDER AMPS

Fender Champion 40 1x12 40w Combo Amp and (1) Cable Bundle Amps / Guitar Combos
Fender Champion 40 1x12 40w Combo Amp and (1) Cable Bundle Amps / Guitar Combos

Fender Champion 40 1x12 40w Combo Amp and (1) Cable Bundle

$259.99
Fender Frontman 20G 120V Amp and (1) Cable Bundle Amps / Guitar Combos
Fender Frontman 20G 120V Amp and (1) Cable Bundle Amps / Guitar Combos

Fender Frontman 20G 120V Amp and (1) Cable Bundle

$139.99
Fender Mustang LT50 120V and (1) Cable Bundle Amps / Guitar Combos
Fender Mustang LT50 120V and (1) Cable Bundle Amps / Guitar Combos

Fender Mustang LT50 120V and (1) Cable Bundle

$289.99
Fender Mustang GTX50 120V and (1) Cable Bundle Amps / Guitar Combos
Fender Mustang GTX50 120V and (1) Cable Bundle Amps / Guitar Combos

Fender Mustang GTX50 120V and (1) Cable Bundle

$409.99

Related Posts

The Coles 4038 | A Ribbon Microphone Standing the Test of Time

The Coles 4038 | A Ribbon Microphone Standing the Test of Time

The Coles 4038 was the overhead microphone of choice used to accurately capture Ringo Starr’s drums in early Beatles recordings. If one wants to hear the sonic capabilities of the...

Read more
The History of Delay

The History of Delay

In a rare moment of recurrence and recognition, the staff here at CME couldn’t help but notice the seemingly historical significance of three iconic delay pedals that debuted in March...

Read more
Catalinbread | Tribute Overdrive Pedal

Catalinbread | Tribute Overdrive Pedal

An homage to a rare and early Catalinbread pedal, the Catalinbread Tribute is an all-analog circuit that combines expressive, high-headroom overdrive with a powerful, flexible tone control based on the Catalinbread VariOboost...

Read more