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"Electric Guitar" indeed.
July 10, 2009 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Fried Gibson. I've always thought you were safe in a house from lightning storms as long as you were off the land-line or computer. A Mississippi man's Gibson Les Paul got positively roasted while sitting in his home, in its case, leaning against a wall. That's a powerful bolt. Lots of gory photos here and in the auction linked above including a nice shot of some of the parts that exploded off of the guitar, some shooting like bullets through the case. Awesome! And it still held quite a bit of its value. Via

" The lightning had struck the huge pine tree and traveled down the trunk until it reached the nails holding the trim to house. Then it jumped across through the nails, went through the drywall, and struck the top edge of the case. It then went into the case and down the neck of the guitar, vaporizing the strings, (remnants of which can still be seen on the fretboard and frets) also apparently traveling down the Truss rod inside the neck. It then blew out the last few frets on the fretboard above the end of the Truss rod before apparently melting the insides of the pickups. It then proceeded to explode some of the bridge saddles outward through the case."
posted by JBennett (49 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Next week, on Metalocalypse, ..."
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:18 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


incredible.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 10:21 AM on July 10, 2009


Wow! I've never heard of that happening. Too bad it toasted the guitar.
posted by garnetgirl at 10:25 AM on July 10, 2009


Oh, please someone get that thing working again.

"oh, that? That's where it got stuck by lightning."

*WWWEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW*
posted by absalom at 10:26 AM on July 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Well the only logical thing to do with this is BATTLE SATAN!
posted by chugg at 10:27 AM on July 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Item location: Mississippi, United States

Umm hmmm...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:28 AM on July 10, 2009


Oh, the humanity!
posted by Spatch at 10:29 AM on July 10, 2009


I'm actually in Texas.
posted by item at 10:32 AM on July 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


........Metal.
posted by spirit72 at 10:32 AM on July 10, 2009


Ironically, this is how all electric guitars used to be powered.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:34 AM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


dude listen to this guy he's on fire
posted by shakespeherian at 10:39 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Devil went down to Mississippi, he was looking for a soul to steal....
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:41 AM on July 10, 2009


Fake.

I was raised to believe that when lighting strikes a guitar in mid-riff, the said riffer is transported to a magical universe of flying lizards, robot armies, and blond warrior-women in chain mail bikinis atop a pile of flaming skulls; brandishing a sword in one hand and a bazooka in the other.

So this is clearly bullshit.
posted by The Whelk at 10:42 AM on July 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


I meant to mention in my initial post that the guitar was allegedly in "near mint" condition.

I expect Nigel Tufnel to step forward as the high bidder.
posted by JBennett at 10:43 AM on July 10, 2009


I'm an extreme lightningphobe. Reading this book didn't help.

When the storms appear each afternoon here everything gets unplugged. The plastic basins get brought out because you don't want to have a lightning bolt up your ass while you're taking a dump. Of course the odds are in your favor in terms of lightning strikes. Still, who needs highly electrified genitals?

Not me!

So I'm curled up in some corner until the storms pass. Pussy? Hell yes, but one who has yet to be fried.

(I highly recommend that Alice Hoffman book BTW.)
posted by metagnathous at 10:44 AM on July 10, 2009


I was getting ready to get snarky about this amazing occurrence going to a single anecdotal source (an eBay sale at that), but the damage pictures of the house and tree kind of redeem it.
posted by crapmatic at 10:45 AM on July 10, 2009


Oh man, Les Pauls.

I miss mine so goddamn much.

It was Tuxedo White with gold hardware (seen here but a little washed out) and goddamn if that thing could not produce the perfect tone for any genre with the flick of a switch or the turn of a knob.

Whoever stole it out of my apartment in Columbia, SC in college, I hope you get hit by lightning. And not the good, internet famous, kind of lightning. The ouchy kind!
posted by lazaruslong at 10:45 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


And let us not forget Keith Relf.
posted by metagnathous at 10:46 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


lazaruslong is the Edge!

(I didnt know the Edge went to college in SC?)
posted by rumsey monument at 10:56 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think there should be a special place in hell for thieves guitar thieves, Lazaruslong, where the devil plays a Hendrix guitar solo on their intestines for eternity.

As for that guitar, I wonder what the sound it made was when mother nature decided to take it for a little spin. I really really hope it wasn't "Stairway to Heaven" cos I would lose all respect for her.

*PPPPPZZZZZTTTTTTTTTTTTTKKKCCCCHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOBBBZZZTTTTTTKAPOWWW!!!!!!*


Uh oh....
posted by Skygazer at 10:59 AM on July 10, 2009


Last summer lightning struck a tree across the street from my house. The bolt traveled down the tree, into the ground, into a metal junction box, and up my cable and telephone lines. It fused the copper in my phone jack to the copper in the line leading to the handset, and it traveled though my cable modem, into my router, and down the ethernet cable into my gaming PC. Oddly, the PC still functioned fine, except for networking. Even adding in a new NIC, it couldn't get online. I played single-player games for a week while I waited for new PC parts to arrive.

I use wireless now.
posted by Liver at 10:59 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anyone else exposed to grandparents'-era folk wisdom that you never leave windows open during a lightning storm because a bolt might come in through the open window?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:05 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


We now have the only guitar is is officially more badass than COBRA!'s. All must bow in awe!
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:10 AM on July 10, 2009


Oh man, Les Pauls.

I miss mine so goddamn much.


You can see the original every Monday night at Iridium Jazz Club in NYC.
posted by hippybear at 11:32 AM on July 10, 2009


If lightning hits a guitar and nobody is there to hear it, does it scream?

Oh, and somebody paid nearly USD$1300 for it.
posted by localroger at 11:34 AM on July 10, 2009


I have seen this happen, well at least the effects. Lightening hit a couple of trees across the street, and then forked out with one bolt going into our house and the other going into the house across the street. The woman in that house saw a flash explode through the living room. I think it hit a pipe or something. In our house it cracked a window and grounded into a space heater. The trees took the brunt of the bolt. One of the trees that was hit was a total loss but the other still bears the ugly scars. It always creeps me out to look at that tree.
posted by caddis at 11:35 AM on July 10, 2009


Did the strike contain 1.21 gigawatts? And if so, where when are the strings???
posted by hippybear at 11:44 AM on July 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I heard Sun Ra made a drum from a tree that was struck by lightning. Lightning drum. This guitar is probably magical now.
posted by mike_bling at 11:44 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now we'll see a wave of people trying to run shitloads of current through their guitars to duplicate the effect...
posted by COBRA! at 11:45 AM on July 10, 2009


Flametop, indeed.
posted by lekvar at 11:47 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, that's one way to get the blues into a guitar.
posted by loquacious at 11:59 AM on July 10, 2009


Now we'll see a wave of people trying to run shitloads of current through their guitars to duplicate the effect...

And then someone will release a pedal that claims to emulate that sound, and then someone else will write an RTAS plugin that emulates the pedal, and so on...
posted by god hates math at 12:17 PM on July 10, 2009


What? The couch? No, that's not a urine stain, it was ummm..... hit by lightning! yeah! lightning!

I'll take $50.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:36 PM on July 10, 2009


Oliver Sacks has a chapter in his new book on Musicophilia about a surgeon who got hit by lightning that traveled down the line to the telephone he was holding (never hold a landline during an electric storm!). The man was fine, but a few weeks later he developed this unquenchable thirst for listening to, and then to playing, classical piano music. (It also got him a divorce, BTW.)
posted by apakabar at 12:50 PM on July 10, 2009


lazaruslong is the Edge!

No, I think lazaruslong is telling us that the Edge stole his frickin' guitar!
posted by yoink at 12:59 PM on July 10, 2009


lazaruslong is the Edge!

No, I think lazaruslong is telling us that the Edge stole his frickin' guitar!


He's a sneaky one, he is!

In all honesty, I had no idea we had the same guitar when I bought it. I was going to a jazz guitar boarding school for the last 2 years of high school, and my grandmother had recently died and left me two grand. I decided to spend it on a guitar for school.

The tuxedo look was sort of my compromise to the classy look as opposed to showing up for jazz lessons with a flametop crazyness.

Only afterwards did I realize that all sorts of famous guitar players have rocked the tuxedo look. I felt in good company.

And then, it was gone. sniff.

This was in....2000. And the guitar cost about $1800.00. So yeah, there's no way I am getting another one until another relative who likes me kicks the bucket. Alas.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:09 PM on July 10, 2009


There really aren't enough words to describe how amazing those guitars sound.

The only downside is they weigh a freaking ton. Gotta have a really nice padded strap or some serious shoulder muscles to make it through a 3 hour gig without feeling like one's shoulder is about to fall off.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:12 PM on July 10, 2009


Yet another example of someone being inspired to dangerous behavior by a video game.
People, Star Power should only be activated by trained professionals in controlled settings.
posted by Durhey at 1:44 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Snapping the headstocks off Les Pauls is a long tradition of Fender fans everywhere but even they would not condone such fretted violence.

Also, homeowners' doesn't usually cover such things (or so I've read). I wonder if that AFLAC duck has something for that.
posted by basicchannel at 1:54 PM on July 10, 2009


.
posted by _dario at 2:09 PM on July 10, 2009


God rocks.
posted by punkfloyd at 2:10 PM on July 10, 2009


Didn't one of Spinal Tap's drummers die this way?
posted by punkfloyd at 2:15 PM on July 10, 2009


About 16 years ago I half woke up to the sound of a summer thunderstorm approaching. Some of the thunder started getting fairly loud and my lizard brain was apparently trying to figure out if there was any danger. So, while half awake, I'm trying to reassure myself with the rational part of my brain, I'm inside, lightning doesn't come through houses, of course I'm safe.

Then the rational part of my brain starts to mutiny. Wait a minute, it says. We're talking about voltage differences that cause current to flow over a mile or two of air, and you're thinking that a few feet of roof or wall is going to present an insurmountable obstacle? Don't you remember physics 122? Enough voltage and current will flow through just about anything. What about the chimney that's right next to your room? The trees right by that window you left open?

That's silly, some third part of my brain comes back, while feeling actually a little scared as the thunder gets louder, a real crack. Even if that's true, of course the chances are pretty good of finding some better target, right? I mean, aren't there taller trees and teleph--

CRACK!

That's when the big one hits like a bomb going off. Maybe the loudest noise I've ever heard. Buildings rattle, a dozen car alarms go off, it actually echoes off the mountains three or four times, kids start crying and you can hear people up and down the neighborhood wondering aloud what the hell was that. Next day we find out it apparently hit the street about a block and half away, pretty much disproving the theory that it'll necessarily hit high places first, and another strike pretty much took out the electrical substation two miles away.

Had a couple of interesting encounters since, a strike that hit a block away, a strike hitting the road a ways off and my car dropping out electrically for half a second. Lightning is strange and scary and I don't know why I'm half as sanguine as I am about it (which is less so than before the above incidents, but I'll still blithely hike away as thunderstorms approach sometimes....).
posted by weston at 2:23 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Snapping the headstocks off Les Pauls is a long tradition of Fender fans everywhere but even they would not condone such fretted violence.

I've never heard of this, but that is absolutely terrible!
posted by lazaruslong at 4:40 PM on July 10, 2009


Well that only made sense the third time around because the first two times I was looking for details about what happened to poor Fred Gibson.
posted by Mike D at 6:03 AM on July 11, 2009


Lightning is strange and scary and I don't know why I'm half as sanguine as I am about it (which is less so than before the above incidents, but I'll still blithely hike away as thunderstorms approach sometimes....).

I love thunder storms, but I will always respect lightning. As a child, lightning would regularly hit our electric fences in the cow pasture (LOUD!), and I even had a TV blow up during one stormy Saturday afternoon. The clincher, though, was being dropped off to canvas a neighborhood by an overzealous manager in the middle of a huge lightning storm. Just as the car moved out of sight, and I turned toward the nearest house, lightning struck a tree less than 20 feet away from me. I realized it was lightning after the fact, but at the time, all that I experienced was a blinding white flash and a feeling that I'd been hit in the head with a board - I could feel it all the way into my sinuses. The boom was so loud and so immediate - I thought that there had been an explosion. If I'd been a few feet closer to the tree, I would have been toast.

I went up to the house and was greeted by a very concerned woman who exclaimed "what are you doing outside in a storm like this!" After a very kind offer to stay for the rest of my shift, and receiving a free rain poncho, I went back out for the rest of my time. The manager caught 8 kinds of hell for letting anyone walk around in that type of weather.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:19 PM on July 11, 2009


I used to have a hot tub in my back yard and a favorite thing for me was to sit in it during thunderstorms, especially lightning storms. There was a huge tree behind my property and I new I was well within its cone of protection from lightning, and I was sitting in a grounded tub of hot water, so I felt fairly safe sitting out there naked getting pelted by the rain and watching the lightning play.

The reason I don't have the hot tub any more is that Tropical Storm Bill felled the tree, doing thirty thousand dollars worth of damage to my house and smooshing the tub flat. Oh and it nearly killed me even though I was inside the house; branches came through the roof and played "You're It!"

I still miss sitting in the hot tub naked during thunderstorms though. You don't get much closer to the power of nature than that.
posted by localroger at 2:36 PM on July 11, 2009


I still miss sitting in the hot tub naked during thunderstorms though.

Sounds like a good time.

Me, I like to rub myself down with raw meat and go swimming in shark infested waters. Good times, good times....
posted by Skygazer at 12:36 PM on July 12, 2009


There was a huge tree behind my property and I new I was well within its cone of protection from lightning, and I was sitting in a grounded tub of hot water, so I felt fairly safe sitting out there naked getting pelted by the rain and watching the lightning play.

ummmm. You know lightning is seeking a ground, right? It loooooooves tubs of water! And a tall tree is no protection if more attractive grounds are available. Not to mention the electric motor on your tub. Sounds like a recipe for long pork soup to me.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:33 PM on July 12, 2009


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