“Noel spat on his T-shirt, rubbed off the signature and said, ‘I’ll take it anyway!’”: Noel Gallagher once bought one of Peter Green’s Les Pauls – but erased Green’s signature to get back at the store owner who sold it to him

The late Peter Green was the custodian of a number of high-profile electric guitars – not least the famed Greeny Les Paul, which is currently owned by Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, having previously passed through the hands of Gary Moore.

But that particular Les Paul was just one of a number of Gibson single-cuts that once populated the blues guitar legend’s six-string arsenal. Indeed, Green had owned another Les Paul that actually ended up crossing paths with Noel Gallagher.

Notably, this guitar had once bore the signature of Green himself – an addition that would have made the highly desirable vintage guitar even more valuable. However, if you were to visually appraise the Les Paul today, you’d find no such signature.

Why? Well, because Gallagher decided to completely remove it from the guitar in order to get back at the person who sold it to him.

The guitar in question is currently in the possession of The Coral guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones, who, in an upcoming conversation with Guitar World, traced the Les Paul’s history – and recalled how the Oasis man robbed it of its signature to spite who he thought to be a rude store owner.

Bill Ryder-Jones' Gibson Les Paul

(Image credit: Press)

“It was given to me by Noel Gallagher in 2006 when I was 23,” Ryder-Jones says by way of introducing the LP. “The Coral were making a record in Noel’s studio, Wheeler End Studios, and I’d used this Les Paul for most of it, not knowing it was Peter Green’s.”

As for how Gallagher got his hands on it before him in the first place… well, that’s another story. As Ryder-Jones recalls, the Oasis man had spotted it in a guitar shop, though was met with some hesitation from the cautious store owner, who was both unaware of who Gallagher was, and uneasy with the prospect of handing over a genuine Green-signed guitar.

“He didn’t know who Noel was; he somehow had not heard of Oasis,” Ryder-Jones goes on. “But Noel saw one of the guitars at the top of the shelf, like behind the counter, and said, ‘Can I have a go with that Les Paul?’ 

“And the guy behind the counter goes, ‘Erm, you do know that was Peter Green’s, and it’s signed by Peter Green, right?’ He reluctantly got it down and gave it to Noel.”

Gallagher, evidently irked by the manner in which the store owner had conducted the exchange, decided to play a wildcard: “Noel spat on his T-shirt and rubbed off the signature. And then Noel said, ‘That’s alright; doesn’t matter now. I’ll take it anyway.’”

To the average guitar fan, it sounds like a borderline unbelievable anecdote. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to erase Peter Green’s signature from an actual Peter Green guitar.

Bill Ryder-Jones' Gibson Les Paul

(Image credit: Press)

Gallagher, though, was quite clearly (and, to a degree, rather admirably) unfazed by all that: he just wanted the guitar.

“He purposefully rubbed off Peter Green’s signature to make a point to the guy in the guitar shop,” Ryder-Jones clarifies. “He [Noel] thought he [the guitar shop employee] was being a bit rude, you know? 

“But he said, ‘Yeah, I want that guitar,’ and the guy was like, ‘That belonged to Peter Green; he signed it,’ and Noel got it, rubbed it off, saying, ‘That’s alright; it’ll come off,’ and he took it.”

Of course, Ryder-Jones is chuffed with the guitar as it is – and he’s quick to note that it is “a very funny story” – but there is a part of him that wished it still bore Green’s signature.

“I woulda loved for it to have Peter Green’s signature, as I probably would have sold it by now, and had a house [laughs],” he jokes. “But I’m so very thankful I didn’t do that; it’s a cracking guitar.”

Keep your eyes peeled on GuitarWorld.com for the full interview with Bill Ryder-Jones.

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