Sammy Ash has acquired a pretty extensive collection of some incredible guitars, some with incredible stories attached to them as well.

From Sammy’s Collection: Gibson 1960 Les Paul Classic

“Back in the 80s, my friend Ritchie Fliegler was introduced to Gibson’s New York Artist’s showroom when he was brought on as a consultant to help create a new product line, essentially a Les Paul for the masses. I had known him for about twenty years at that point. Ritchie Fliegler garnered a wonderful reputation as a player and in the music products industry for the ideas and projects he developed with major manufacturers including Marshall and Fender. With Gibson, he came up with the idea for a guitar that would be top quality, low cost to the consumer, and still profitable for the company. But how? The idea was to use what was considered a lesser grade wood, a bunch of fairly plain, flat-sawn maple that was taking up room in the Gibson woodshed. The wood was beautifully dry and clear, and unlike the quarter-sawn tops that were always showing off, this stuff would only “flame” at certain angles. Working alongside luthier JT Riboloff and Elliot Easton of The Cars, the decision was made to use up this “less desirable” wood on a more-or-less 1960-inspired Standard.

Ritchie’s biggest hurdle was selling the idea to the boss, so he needed a partner in crime, someone who would see the vision and actually buy the guitars – i.e. yours truly. I was the guitar buyer at the time and if I was willing to guarantee a certain number of guitars, (250 units I believe) for Sam Ash Music when we only had 12 stores at that time, only then would they go into production. Knowing the guitar market as we both did, I decided to jump in with both feet and I placed the purchase order with Trish Moss, our then and current rep for Gibson Guitars. The Les Paul Classic, as it came to be known, was launched in 1990 and was an instant hit! They built and reincarnated the model multiple times until 2006 when it was officially discontinued.

Due to my assistance, Gibson gifted me with serial number 0 0001. To this day it’s one of my proudest achievements in guitar development.”

– Sammy Ash