Reader Guitar of the Month: The One That Got Away

After a decade of dreaming of a special blue Les Paul, a guitarist’s wife brings it home.


Name: Craig Clevenger

Current Residence: Edmond, Oklahoma
Guitar: Manhattan Midnight Gibson Les Paul Standard LE

I was blessed to grow up around music, and my dad had a band that would play, to quote the Blues Brothers, “both kinds of music” in our basement. Most of his jamming buddies played T-type or Strat guitars, but my world changed the moment I saw a certain top-hat-wearing player with a Les Paul on MTV. It sounded glorious and I had to have one. Thankfully, I’ve owned a couple over the years.

My favorite comes from a limited run of Standards that Gibson did in the mid 2000s. I first played one in Manhattan midnight at a music store in Norman, Oklahoma. I was attracted to the blue color and loved the ebony fretboard. It sounded phenomenal, too. The price tag was too steep, so I hung it back on the wall. I joked about the one that got away so much that my wife had the groom’s cake at our wedding decorated with a blue Les Paul.

After our wedding, I took a new job and moved back to my hometown in Michigan. While shopping at Motor City Guitar, I spotted it: a Les Paul Standard LE in Manhattan midnight. Once again, the price tag scared me off and I left with some strings.

Fast forward nine years and my family of five was preparing to move back to Oklahoma to escape the snow. My wife asked if that blue guitar was still hanging at Motor City. We went to investigate: It was still there and as beautiful as ever. The next day, she went back with the kids in tow. The salesman had to call the owner to get approval on the negotiated price and they both seemed tickled with this lady and her kids buying a guitar for their husband/father. They gave it to me that night and it’s been my No. 1 ever since. My wife gets me and I’m blessed to have her, and the guitar, too!

P.S. We are now a family of eight!

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