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Photographer Lisa S. Johnson captures the story behind rock’s most iconic axes owned by Page, Beck, Gibbons, and others—with commentary from the guitarists themselves.

Ace Frehley: Modified Gibson Les Paul UFO Light Guitar

"I met Ace's tech backstage at Mandalay Bay, and he guided me through an obstacle course of road cases as the crew readied for what would be an epic show-Skid Row and Ted Nugent performing in support of Kiss. He had staked out a small room near the stage, to work on guitars in relative peace, and it was here, in a craftsman's special lair, that he showed me three of Ace's special axes and divulged their secrets. Ace frequently plays this Les Paul when Kiss performs 'New York Groove.' It was built by luthier/guitar tech extraordinaire Steve Carr. -Lisa S. Johnson, 108 Rock Star Guitars


About fifteen years ago, Lisa S. Johnson was working as a technical sales representative for Kodak. In order to gain a greater knowledge of Kodak's product line, she bought her own professional grade camera equipment and began shooting still images in her spare time. As fate would have it, one night she found herself at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York, the Monday night court of one, Les Paul. The always-gracious Paul allowed Johnson to photograph his guitars, which, unbeknownst to either of them, sent Johnson on a quest that would span years and send her far and wide in search of guitar players old and new.

The culmination of that journey is available now. 108 Rock Star Guitars is a 396-page, leather-bound behemoth brimming with beautiful, elegant images of some of the most iconic and recognized instruments the world has ever known. The subjects who allowed their most prized possessions to be photographed by Johnson reads like a veritable who's who of rock guitar royalty. More than that though, Johnson's work is threaded with personal stories detailing her own epic adventure to discover and celebrate these wondrous instruments. It wasn't always easy, but it came out looking oh, so good.


Emily Wolfe lets loose, with an Epiphone Sheraton around her shoulders. Her signature Sheraton Stealth was released in 2021. "The guitar is the perfect frequency range for my soul," she says.

Photo by Brittany Durdin

The rising guitar star blends classic and stoner rock, Motown, and more influences with modern pop flourishes in songs replete with fat, fuzzy, fizzy tones from her new Epiphone Sheraton signature.

For so many artists, the return of live shows means the return of the thrill of performing, much-needed income, and, in a way, purpose. The third definitely goes for guitarist Emily Wolfe, who, when asked about her goals, immediately responds, "I just want to play arenas every night for the rest of my life. When I go up there, something could hit me at any point—an emotion that I felt 10 years ago could come out in a bend on the low E."

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