Twenty years ago when Dave Grohl went from behind the drum kit in Nirvana to front the Foo Fighters, I never thought that he would end up with his own signature guitar from Gibson. Throughout his time in the Foo Fighters, Dave has played an Ampeg Dan Armstrong, Gibson Firebirds and SGs, but no guitar has been associated with him more than the Gibson Trini Lopez. He first picked up a Trini Lopez in the early 90s and that guitar has become the foundation of his sound and the sound of the band. In 2007, Gibson released the ‘Inspired By’ DG ES-335 in Pelham Blue and Ebony. Both guitars were a limited run and went on to be very popular and highly collectable. I was fortunate enough to have owned an Ebony one, but had to sell it a few months later due to a financial situation. I had no idea that within a few years that guitar would almost triple in value. Not only do I regret selling it, but I also regret the price I sold it for. It was a versatile, well-made guitar that was fun to play, and I missed it.
In November 2014, I received an email from Gibson that gave me the chance to correct a mistake I made 7 years earlier. They announced they were bringing back the Dave Grohl ES-335 in Pelham Blue and a new color, Gold Metallic. These guitars, like the modelsbefore, are a limited run – only 200 Pelham Blue guitars were produced and 400 of the Gold Metallic. I opted for the Gold Metallic because of price and the uniqueness of that color. The retail price for the Pelham Blue is $6,999, which is out of my price range, while the Gold Metallic lists for $3,499 and is worth every penny. I was very impressed by the color when I took the guitar out of the case. The pictures on the Gibson site do not do it nearly enough justice. The gold color is unlike the gold that they use for their gold tops and I found it to be a little more similar to the color of the Elliot Easton Firebird. The Gold Metallic has a subtle sparkle to it that adds to its impressive stature.
These guitars are Memphis-made and feature a Burstbucker #2 in the neck and #3 in the bridge with Orange Drop capacitors. This guitar, like the ‘Inspired By’ series from 2007 feature the diamond f-holes like the Trini Lopez that it is modeled after. The Firebird style headstock has six in-line mini Grover 14:1 tuners and the neck has had the PLEK treatment with a rosewood fingerboard with acrylic split diamond inlays. The guitar is housed in a hardshell Gibson case with Dave Grohl’s signature silkscreened on the front as well as a Certificate of Authenticity.
I plugged this guitar into a Fender ’68 Custom Princeton amp and was impressed with the sonic results that I was able to achieve. In the neck position, the chords sound rich and full. When I moved to the middle position, I was able to still get those great chords and also some great note articulation when playing single notes. The Burstbucker #3 pickup sounded great with a lot of note clarity when I switched to the bridge position. I then tried a few pedals with this guitar. I played through a ProCo Rat and got some tight distorted tones and could play anything from punk to metal with no concerns about the guitar being able to handle the challenge. I tried playing through an Earthquaker Devices Palisades Overdrive and was equally impressed with the tones I was able to generate. I also used a MXR Carbon Copy Delay and TC Electronics Dreamscape for some spacey, Floyd type sounds and it sounded great as well.
Overall, this is a versatile guitar that is capable of handling a variety of genres or musical styles. The unique look of this guitar allows it stand out from other ES-335s and the Pelham Blue or Metallic Gold are both great color choices that add to the appeal of this instrument. If you’re in the market for an instrument that can do it all, consider checking out the Gibson Dave Grohl ES-335 while they are still available. I could probably get rid of my other guitars and just keep this one…but don’t tell them that.