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The Fate of Duane Allman's "Tobacco Sunburst" Les Paul

#1 User is offline   JasO 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:38 AM

One of the first interviews I did after becoming an editor for Guitar Payer magazine in 1978 was with Steve Morse and the Dixie Dregs. Afterwards, Steve Morse introduced me to his road manager, Twiggs Lyndon, who had worked as both a roadie and the road manager for the Allman Brothers back when Duane was in the band. Twiggs and I did an interview that night, and then he died about a year later in a parachute accident. A couple of years later, I interviewed Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts for my 1981 Duane Allman cover story, and learned that Gregg had traded Twiggs Duane's beloved "tobacco-sunburst" for an old car.

My Twiggs interview remained untranscribed until a couple of months ago. At the end, I traced the fate of Duane's Les Paul. Here's the info:

"At the time of his death, Twiggs Lyndon had Duane Allman’s famous tobacco-sunburst Les Paul on the road with him. A few months after the skydiving accident, I asked Steve Morse what had happened to the guitar. 'We were up in New York at the time,' Morse explained, 'and I just took responsibility of carrying it around until I was able to give it to Twiggs’ brother Skoots in Georgia. Now it’s at Twiggs’ parents’ house in Macon. I use that guitar when we record, and they’ll let me use it pretty much when I want to, but it’s with his family.”

"Steve Morse described the guitar as 'a Les Paul Custom with tiger stripes and a sunburst paint job. It doesn’t have a pickguard, and the neck looks like a regular Les Paul neck, a sort of dark brown. It was cracked once, but Twiggs had it fixed when we were in California. And it’s got regular humbucking-looking pickups, but the one in the lead position is so intense! It’s so powerful. Something is so right about it. That’s the main thing about the guitar. I think the reason Duane had that guitar is because it would scream so much on the lead pickup. I remember Twiggs saying that Duane used that guitar on Layla and a lot of the Fillmore East. He like to use it for songs where he’d switch from playing regular fingerstyle to slide. I’ve used the guitar for solos on every [Dixie Dregs] album, just about. You can hear it on the melody of ‘Cruise Control,’ the slide guitar parts in ‘Rock and Roll Park,’ and in ‘Twiggs Approved’ there are two short guitar solos – one is in a regular style and the other is slide, and both of those are on the Les Paul.

“'That guitar of Twiggs’ has gone through a long journey,' Morse continued. 'Twiggs traded a car to Gregg Allman to obtain the guitar. Twiggs had a lot of old-time cars, in really good shape, and it was one of those. It wasn’t like Gregg was just giving the guitar away. He knew that Twiggs would really take care of it. At a time when Twiggs was really broke, someone offered him $15,000 for the guitar, and he wouldn’t take it. Twiggs all along was planning on giving it to Duane’s little daughter when she turned 18, so the family is holding the guitar until then. The reason Twiggs was gonna wait until then is he didn’t think that the girl would realize what she had. And Twiggs was just that kind of person – the principle of the whole thing was more important than anything.'” [

After I posted this info on my website, I heard from two of Twiggs' brothers, who added this new info:

John Lyndon: " I thought I might add a post script. After Twiggs death and while we were waiting for Duane’s daughter to get old enough to give it to her, as Twiggs had instructed, the guitar spent a fair amount of time under a bed in our parents home in Macon. My brother A.J. kept it for a time at his house here in Athens, Ga. and Skoots loaned it to Steve Morse for a while. I ended up storing it here in Athens at my law office before Skoots sent it to Galadrielle. When A. J. had it, some guy from Texas called him and said he wanted to buy it and that money was no object. A. J. told him it was not for sale and this guy said 'I have good guitars, I have great guitars, but I do not have THE guitar! A. J. told him 'Man, if I sold you that guitar, my brother, Twiggs, would come back to haunt me, and I would wake up in the middle of the night and Twiggs would be sitting next to me, smoking those Kool cigarettes, saying 'What the hell did I tell you about giving that guitar to Galadrielle.' It says a lot about Twiggs that he wanted Galadrielle to have it, and we all feel great that we could carry out his wishes."

And then Skoots finished the account: "I got in touch with her mother who happened to be coming to Macon, GA on a visit. I took the guitar and met her at Rose Hill where Duane and Berry bodies reside. At the gravesite I handed it off to her and she carried it back to Galadrielle. She has since loaned it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. Galadrielle and I hope to some day make a trip there together to see it."

Great ending, huh?

If you're interested in seeing the complete interviews with Twiggs, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Jim Shepley, and others who knew Duane, I've posted them all here: Jas Obrecht Music Archive
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#2 User is offline   sexygibson 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:41 AM

Great article. I met steve Morse once and he was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet.
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#3 User is offline   Rocky4 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:48 AM

Great story! Thanks!
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#4 User is offline   jnastynebr 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:56 AM

Good story man thanks, your blog looks really cool too.
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#5 User is offline   Searcy 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:10 AM

Very cool. Thanks for posting this here.
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#6 User is offline   Jared Purdy 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:16 AM

View PostJasO, on 13 February 2011 - 08:38 AM, said:

One of the first interviews I did after becoming an editor for Guitar Payer magazine in 1978 was with Steve Morse and the Dixie Dregs. Afterwards, Steve Morse introduced me to his road manager, Twiggs Lyndon, who had worked as both a roadie and the road manager for the Allman Brothers back when Duane was in the band. Twiggs and I did an interview that night, and then he died about a year later in a parachute accident. A couple of years later, I interviewed Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts for my 1981 Duane Allman cover story, and learned that Gregg had traded Twiggs Duane's beloved "tobacco-sunburst" for an old car.

My Twiggs interview remained untranscribed until a couple of months ago. At the end, I traced the fate of Duane's Les Paul. Here's the info:

"At the time of his death, Twiggs Lyndon had Duane Allman’s famous tobacco-sunburst Les Paul on the road with him. A few months after the skydiving accident, I asked Steve Morse what had happened to the guitar. 'We were up in New York at the time,' Morse explained, 'and I just took responsibility of carrying it around until I was able to give it to Twiggs’ brother Skoots in Georgia. Now it’s at Twiggs’ parents’ house in Macon. I use that guitar when we record, and they’ll let me use it pretty much when I want to, but it’s with his family.”

"Steve Morse described the guitar as 'a Les Paul Custom with tiger stripes and a sunburst paint job. It doesn’t have a pickguard, and the neck looks like a regular Les Paul neck, a sort of dark brown. It was cracked once, but Twiggs had it fixed when we were in California. And it’s got regular humbucking-looking pickups, but the one in the lead position is so intense! It’s so powerful. Something is so right about it. That’s the main thing about the guitar. I think the reason Duane had that guitar is because it would scream so much on the lead pickup. I remember Twiggs saying that Duane used that guitar on Layla and a lot of the Fillmore East. He like to use it for songs where he’d switch from playing regular fingerstyle to slide. I’ve used the guitar for solos on every [Dixie Dregs] album, just about. You can hear it on the melody of ‘Cruise Control,’ the slide guitar parts in ‘Rock and Roll Park,’ and in ‘Twiggs Approved’ there are two short guitar solos – one is in a regular style and the other is slide, and both of those are on the Les Paul.

“'That guitar of Twiggs’ has gone through a long journey,' Morse continued. 'Twiggs traded a car to Gregg Allman to obtain the guitar. Twiggs had a lot of old-time cars, in really good shape, and it was one of those. It wasn’t like Gregg was just giving the guitar away. He knew that Twiggs would really take care of it. At a time when Twiggs was really broke, someone offered him $15,000 for the guitar, and he wouldn’t take it. Twiggs all along was planning on giving it to Duane’s little daughter when she turned 18, so the family is holding the guitar until then. The reason Twiggs was gonna wait until then is he didn’t think that the girl would realize what she had. And Twiggs was just that kind of person – the principle of the whole thing was more important than anything.'” [

After I posted this info on my website, I heard from two of Twiggs' brothers, who added this new info:

John Lyndon: " I thought I might add a post script. After Twiggs death and while we were waiting for Duane’s daughter to get old enough to give it to her, as Twiggs had instructed, the guitar spent a fair amount of time under a bed in our parents home in Macon. My brother A.J. kept it for a time at his house here in Athens, Ga. and Skoots loaned it to Steve Morse for a while. I ended up storing it here in Athens at my law office before Skoots sent it to Galadrielle. When A. J. had it, some guy from Texas called him and said he wanted to buy it and that money was no object. A. J. told him it was not for sale and this guy said 'I have good guitars, I have great guitars, but I do not have THE guitar! A. J. told him 'Man, if I sold you that guitar, my brother, Twiggs, would come back to haunt me, and I would wake up in the middle of the night and Twiggs would be sitting next to me, smoking those Kool cigarettes, saying 'What the hell did I tell you about giving that guitar to Galadrielle.' It says a lot about Twiggs that he wanted Galadrielle to have it, and we all feel great that we could carry out his wishes."

And then Skoots finished the account: "I got in touch with her mother who happened to be coming to Macon, GA on a visit. I took the guitar and met her at Rose Hill where Duane and Berry bodies reside. At the gravesite I handed it off to her and she carried it back to Galadrielle. She has since loaned it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. Galadrielle and I hope to some day make a trip there together to see it."

Great ending, huh?

If you're interested in seeing the complete interviews with Twiggs, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Jim Shepley, and others who knew Duane, I've posted them all here: Jas Obrecht Music Archive


Yes, really great story. I always wondered if Duane had a kid. I have long been a huge fan of the early Allman Bros., and Dickey Betts, and The Dixie Dreggs, though I have not kept up with them. Thanks for the inspiration, and I am going to check out the link that you posted. So, is his daughter into music at all?
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#7 User is offline   Rocky4 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:38 AM

I just realized who you are. I had a subscription to GP mag back in the late 70s. Welcome to the forum!
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#8 User is offline   surfpup 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 10:49 AM

Excellent story. I've read the account of Duane's gold top. It's nice to know what
happened to the sunburst at well.
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#9 User is offline   57classic 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 10:59 AM

That was really cool. Thanks for the story.
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#10 User is offline   davidl 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 11:33 AM

Thanks for that update.
The last I had read was that Triggs had it boarded up behind a wall in his home studio until Duane's daughter was old enough to take it.
I forget the name of the guitar right now but I believe it had something to so with the car that was traded for it. I could have this mixed up with Billy Gibbon's Pearly gates.

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#11 User is offline   Mr. Natural 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 11:38 AM

"JasO", GP editor? That can only be one man.
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#12 User is offline   L5Larry 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 12:03 PM

Hey Jas, great story....and welcome to the forums.

The backstory on how Duane acquired the guitar is very interesting too. As I remember it involved Christopher Cross and Billy Gibbons.

There is a couple of great books on Duane and The Allman Brothers Band that I have read. One is "Midnight Riders" by Scott Freeman, and the other is "Skydog" by Randy Poe. The "skydog" book contains some interesting details about Duane's guitars, and one of them has talks about Twiggs in detail. Both required reading for any Allman Bros. or Duane fans.
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#13 User is offline   JasO 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 03:02 PM

Thanks for the welcomes!
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#14 User is offline   daveinspain 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 03:31 PM

You sure know how to make an entry.... Great story!
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#15 User is offline   ShredAstaire 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 03:44 PM

Jas nice work sir!! That was a cool read!

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#16 User is offline   RobG 

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:20 PM

Great story...thanks for sharing!
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#17 User is offline   guitargreg1993 

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 04:01 PM

hey sorry for the late response to the post, but i just wanted to say that this is an awesome story... really cool stuff! Thanks for sharing!!! [thumbup]

(plus it should be bumped for the people who may have missed it earlier....)


View Postsurfpup, on 13 February 2011 - 10:49 AM, said:

Excellent story. I've read the account of Duane's gold top. It's nice to know what
happened to the sunburst at well.


wasn't the story about his gold top just recently published in Guitar World? cuz i know i read about that story too but i cant remember where i read it. GW seems right but idk...
Music isn't something you merely just hear; it is a powerful, driving force with a soul all its own; its healing power is one that you can feel in the deepest trenches of your soul; and the true measure of greatness has nothing to do with looks or money or popularity, it's about how the words and the notes move and inspire you to be everything you can be....

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#18 User is offline   Mr. Natural 

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 05:08 PM

View Postgibsonkid1993, on 27 February 2011 - 04:01 PM, said:

hey sorry for the late response to the post, but i just wanted to say that this is an awesome story... really cool ...wasn't the story about his gold top just recently published in Guitar World? cuz i know i read about that story too but i cant remember where i read it. GW seems right but idk...


I think it was in VG.


EDIT: I just checked my "library", it was not in VG; gibsonkid, you were right. The story of Duane's long-lost gold-top is in Guitar World's Guitar Legends, issue no. 116. It's probably still on the newsstand.

This post has been edited by Mr. Natural: 27 February 2011 - 07:06 PM

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#19 User is offline   guitargreg1993 

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:25 AM

View PostMr. Natural, on 27 February 2011 - 05:08 PM, said:

I think it was in VG.


EDIT: I just checked my "library", it was not in VG; gibsonkid, you were right. The story of Duane's long-lost gold-top is in Guitar World's Guitar Legends, issue no. 116. It's probably still on the newsstand.


yeah, i own that issue [thumbup] i bought it because it was on the most iconic guitars of all time... i love reading about that stuff [biggrin]
Music isn't something you merely just hear; it is a powerful, driving force with a soul all its own; its healing power is one that you can feel in the deepest trenches of your soul; and the true measure of greatness has nothing to do with looks or money or popularity, it's about how the words and the notes move and inspire you to be everything you can be....

What gives a guitar soul is the shoulder that holds it up.


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#20 User is offline   surfpup 

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:13 PM

The owner of that Duane gold top is a friend. I played the guitar before it received
the Tom Murphy treatment, and let me tell you it was one ugly guitar! Sounded fine
though.
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