|Chuck Berry playing a Gibson ES-335|
|1950's publicity photo|
In the Beach Boys song "Do You Remember", Brian Wilson wrote "Chuck Berry's got to be the greatest thing that came along, He wrote the guitar beats and the all time greatest song". Chuck Berry essentially defined early Rock and Roll with his 3 chord songs, guitar introductions, and lyrics.
|Young Chuck Berry|
|With Jimmy Johnson Trio|
Chuck holding his Gibson ES-295
In 1955 Berry traveled to Chicago and began performing with the Johnny Johnson Trio. It was there where he met Blues player Muddy Waters. Waters introduced him to Leonard Chess of Chess Records who signed Chuck Berry to the label.
Chuck’s first hit song was Maybellene, which was an adaption of an old Country song called Ida Red. The recording sold over one million copies and was on Billboard Magazines’s Rhythm and Blues chart list. This lead to more hit songs and a lucrative touring career.
|Chuck Berry in the 1950's|
|Chuck Berry inducted into |
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
In 1986 he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. Chuck Berrry was ranked fifth on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
|Chuck Berry with an ES-335|
|Westbury, NY Fair 2004|
I knew a keyboard player that once backed him up at a state fair show. He said that Berry pulled up in a rented Cadillac convertible with his guitar in the back seat. He walked on stage, plugged into an amp that was already set up, and began playing to the crowd.
When his set was over, he thanked the crowd, walked off stage without saying a word to the band, and drove off.
|Doing the Duck Walk|
|Chuck Berry |
playing a Gibson ES-350TN
When Chuck Berry first started out he is probably best known for playing a 1956 Gibson ES-350TN (thin natural finish) on several TV appearances. In fact he is probably best known for playing Gibson electric guitars.
|'59 Gretsch 6121|
He also owned and played a 1959 Gretsch 6121 Roundup in appearances.
|With Gretsch |
stereo White Falcon
For a movie called Rock! Rock! Rock!, Berry is seen with a stereo Gretsch White Falcon, however that was possibly a prop guitar provided by the production company.
Berry also played an early to mid 1960’s model of a Gibson ES-335. He is seen playing a number of different ES-335’s. Possibly some were provided for him so he didn’t have to fly with his own instrument.
|Berry with Gibson ES-335|
The most iconic and photographed guitar he played was the Gibson ES-355. You can tell this guitar by the split diamond inlay on the headstock. He played a number of versions of this instrument. Some had Maestro vibratos, some had Bigsbys, and some had no vibrato.
|Berry with Gibson ES-330|
Berry can be seen playing a Gibson ES-330 hollow body electric.
|With '67 version of a Flying Vee|
There is but one image of an older Chuck Berry playing a red 1967 Flying Vee.
|Berry playing a Gibson Lucille model|
Berry was also known to use a Gibson B.B. King Lucille model guitar.
|Chuck Berry with Gibson Super 400|
And Berry brought this guitar to the 2012 Awards for Literary and Lyrics Excellence.
As for amplifiers, Chuck probably insisted on the venue providing one. He was fond of Fender Dual Showman amps with reverb, and Fender Twin Reverb amplifiers. In fact a concert rider states the venue should supply: "Two Dual Showman amplifier heads and two Dual Showman speaker cabinets. Any alternative equipment must be in above watts and speaker size."
|Chuck Berry's amps - Dual Showman - Pro Amp - White Dual Showman - Ampeg - 2 Dual Showman Reverb Heads|
|Themetta (Toddy) and Chuck Berry|
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