Original after planecrash
Peter Frampton’s long-lost guitar was recently discovered after its disappearance in a plane crash 32 years ago. In 1980, a cargo plane carrying Frampton’s equipment for an upcoming show in Panama crashed, supposedly destroying
all of the instruments on board including Frampton’s cherished 1954 Gibson Les Paul. Thanks to the unyielding work of two dedicated fans, one in Holland and one on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao, as well as the CEO of the Curaçao
Tourist Board, Frampton was reunited with the guitar in an emotional meeting last month in Nashville, TN.
The Curaçao Tourist Board helped acquire the guitar from an individual after hearing news that they may indeed have a lead
on the long lost and beloved guitar. Together in Nashville, TN at the Gibson Custom Shop, with experts from Gibson Guitar and Peter Frampton, the team confirmed it was the original guitar long missing from Frampton’s collection.
custom guitar was given to him in 1970 by a man named Mark Mariana when Humble Pie played at the Fillmore West. Frampton borrowed Mariana’s guitar for the show and afterward tried to buy it from him, “But to my surprise he said he couldn’t
sell it to me—he wanted to give it to me!” he notes.
Frampton played the guitar exclusively on Humble Pie’s Rock On and Rocking the Fillmore albums. The guitar also appeared on a number of sessions for other artists
including George Harrison, Harry Nilsson, and John Entwistle. Most notably, Frampton played the guitar on the electrifying Frampton Comes Alive!, one of the top-selling live records of all time.
Frampton is ecstatic to have the guitar
back in his hands once again. “I am still in a state of shock, first off, that the guitar even exists let alone, that it has been returned to me. I know I have my guitar back, but I will never forget the lives that were lost in this crash. I am so thankful
for the efforts of those who made this possible. And, now that it is back I am going insure it for 2 million dollars and it’s never going out of my sight again! It was always my #1 guitar and it will be reinstated there as soon as possible—some
minor repairs are needed. And, I just can’t wait to get Mark Mariana on the phone.”
Peter Frampton has been reunited with the Gibson electric guitar he played on “Frampton Comes Alive,” three decades after it
was presumed destroyed in a plane crash.
Peter Frampton has been reunited with the Gibson electric guitar he played on “Frampton Comes Alive,” three decades after it was presumed destroyed in a plane crash.
RothPeter Frampton’s favorite guitar, presumed destroyed in 1980, was returned to him last month.
It turns out the guitar did not burn up in November 1980 when a cargo plane crashed on takeoff in Caracas, Venezuela, on its way
to Panama, where Mr. Frampton was to perform. Instead someone plucked it from the burning wreckage and later sold it to a musician on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao.
The guitar was returned to Mr. Frampton in Nashville
last month after a two-year negotiation involving the local musician who had the guitar, a customs agent who repairs guitars in his spare time, a diehard Frampton fan in the Netherlands and the head of the island’s tourist board.
month, the tourist board official, Ghatim Kabbara, bought the guitar with public funds and traveled to Nashville to hand it to Mr. Frampton in a tattered gig bag. Mr. Frampton said he knew as soon as he picked the instrument up that it was the same 1954 Gibson Les Paul with customized pickups that he had played for a decade. It was an emotional moment, he said.
30 years, it didn’t exist – it went up in a puff of smoke as far as I was concerned,” Mr. Frampton said in a telephone interview.
Mr. Frampton said he was given the guitar by a man named Mark Mariana in 1970. Mr. Frampton
had been playing with his band Humble Pie at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, and he borrowed the guitar from Mr. Mariana for a show because his own instrument kept feeding back when he soloed. He fell in love with it. Made of Honduran mahogany, it was
light in his hands, and the neck was thin, the fretting action light, suiting his small hands.
“I used it for both sets and my feet didn’t touch the ground,” he recalled. saying he thought, “This is the best
guitar I have ever played.”
After the show he tried to buy the instrument, but Mr. Mariana insisted on giving it to him. It became his favorite guitar. He played it on the Humble Pie albums “Rock On” and “Rocking
the Fillmore,” and on all his solo records. He used it in sessions with George Harrison, Harry Nilsson and John Entwistle.
Perhaps most important, it was the guitar he played on the 1976 solo album “Frampton Comes Alive!”
one of the best-selling live albums ever and the recording that established him as one of the great rock guitarists of the 1970s. “It’s all I ever used for 10 years,” he said. “That was it. That was part of me.”
Kabbara said the guitar surfaced two years ago when the local guitarist, who has not been identified, took the instrument to Donald Balentina, a Curaçao customs agent who collects and repairs old guitars in his spare time. The musician had been using
it for decades, playing in hotels and bars on the island, but did not know the instrument’s history, Mr. Kabbara said.
Asked to repair the guitar, Mr. Balentina noticed the unusual third set of pickups and burn marks on the neck,
Mr. Kabbara said. The customs agent began to suspect the guitar might be the one Mr. Frampton had played on the “Frampton Comes Alive!” album. He consulted with another Frampton fan in the Netherlands, who confirmed it had all the earmarks of the
missing Gibson. Mr. Balentina also sent photos of the inner works of the guitar to Mr. Frampton. Mr. Frampton said he was stunned when he saw the photos; it looked like guitar, he said, but he could not be sure.
For two years Mr. Balentina
tried to persuade the local guitarist to sell the instrument, and finally, in November, facing a financial problem, he finally agreed. But Mr. Balentina did not have money and, afraid another buyer might scoop up the guitar, he approached Mr. Kabbara at the
Mr. Kabbara, an amateur guitarist who admires Mr. Frampton, agreed to put up the board’s funds to purchase the guitar, on one condition. He and Mr. Balentina would take the guitar to Mr. Frampton as a gesture of
goodwill. “I thought the right thing to do was to give him back his guitar,” he said. “This guitar was him. The whole 1970s was this guitar.”
Mr. Frampton, who is 61, said he hopes to play the guitar again when
he appears at the Beacon Theater in New York in February. For now, he has left the instrument at the Gibson Custom Shop in Nashville to have some minor repairs made. The neck is still straight, he said, but he must replace old pickups with new ones, made to
the same specifications as the original coils. But he said he will leave the burn marks and scrapes alone.
“I want it to have its battle scars,” he said.