10 Famous Guitars


5
B.B. King's 'Lucille'
B.B. King performs on his legendary guitar "Lucille" while in concert at the Majestic Theater in 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. Gary Miller/Getty Images

Even in the South it gets cold in the winter. One night back in 1949, a young bluesman was playing a gig at a nightclub in Twist, Arkansas. The owners of the joint were heating it with a bucket of kerosene they'd lit on fire. The room was warm, the music was cool and all was going well until a fight broke out and the bucket tipped over. A river of burning kerosene streamed through the place and everybody fled for their lives including the musician.

But just as he made it outside, he remembered his guitar. It wasn't an expensive instrument, just a Gibson L-30 Archtop, but it was all he had. He rushed back into the flames, dodging the collapsing wood frame, grabbed his axe and made it out just in time.

The fight, he later learned, had started between two men battling over a woman named Lucille. The young musician was B.B. King and he dubbed his guitar "Lucille" to remind himself never again to be so foolish as to run into a burning building. Over the years, B.B. King has had many different guitars, but they always get the same name: "Lucille" [source: Bienstock].

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