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Vintage Vibes: 1968 Gibson Trini Lopez Deluxe Sunburst
Henry tells the story of Trini Lopez and his highly collectible signature model, the Gibson Trini Lopez Deluxe, thawing our weary winter bones in the process with dreams of hot sun, white sand beaches, and maybe a lemon tree or two.
In the early 60s, Gibson had the most impressive roster of artist endorsements across the guitar industry, as well as signature guitars with players like Barney Kessel, Tal Farlow, the Everly Brothers, and Les Paul. However, the signature model that performed the best belonged to a Dallas-born Mexican-American singer, guitarist, and actor: Trini Lopez.
For those who don't know, Trini Lopez was discovered by Frank Sinatra while playing a club in Dallas. Multifaceted and multitalented, he was a huge pop star at the time, had major hits, including his versions of America, La Bamba, If I Had a Hammer, and also appeared in the film The Dirty Dozen.
When Gibson approached Trini to create his own signature model, he basically took the Barney Kessel guitar that he already played and owned and added some tweaks and mods to it to make it his own.
He moved the pickup selector switch down and added a kill switch. Some of the striking visual changes that he made were the diamond f-holes, split diamond inlays, and the headstock. He asked Gibson to go from the three-on-a-side headstock, which they're obviously most famous for, to the six-on-a-side.
Looking at this, you might think it looks like a Firebird, and you'd be correct. However, it’s a little bit elongated compared to what the Firebirds looked like at the time.
Around the same time that Gibson asked Trini to create this guitar, he created another guitar. That’s right. He released two signature models for Gibson: the Trini Lopez Deluxe and Trini Lopez Standard, which is very similar to a 335.