Gibson Trini Lopez Standard 1966 Pelham Blue from Mexico City
Posted on May 11 2022
An original Gibson Trini Lopez Standard model guitar is tough to track down, but nearly impossible to find in an original Pelham Blue finish. I've just returned from a trip to buy this clean example from 1966! Since Trini Lopez was a Mexican American pop star, it's no surprise that the last two original 1960s Pelham Blue Trini Lopez guitars that I know of have come out of Mexico City. I am thrilled to have found this one and to connect with its sole owner since about 1967.
As a Gibson guitar buyer, I am always on the hunt to find the nicest examples of original vintage Gibson Trini Lopez guitars, but especially those with original Pelham Blue finish. If you've inherited a 1950s or 1960s Gibson guitar and are looking for more information then check out Gibson Serial Numbers. Or if you're interested in selling your guitar to a passionate player then you can contact me here: sell a Gibson.
Gibson Trini Lopez Model
Gibson's Trini Lopez Standard signature model guitar is essentially a customized version of its popular ES-335. It features a semi-hollow electric design with a solid center block, hollow wings, and sound holes in the shape of a diamond instead of the classic stylized F shape. The peghead shape differs from the ES-335 in that it is an elongated shape with six tuners on one side, sort of similar to Fender's shape, but with the typical Gibson pitched back angle.
Like the ES-335, the Trini Lopez Standard's typical finish color is a translucent red that Gibson called Cherry Red, but some of them were finished in opaque metallic colors like Sparkling Burgundy and, even less common, Pelham Blue. Gibson's Pelham Blue finish is a shiny blue with clear lacquer top coat which often yellows slightly with oxidation and exposure to light. The yellowing of the lacquer combined with the blue often gives it a turqoise or even green look. It's estimated that between 45 and 60 examples of original Pelham Blue Trini Lopez guitars exist from the 1960s.
I purchased this 1966 Gibson Trini Lopez Standard in original Pelham Blue finish from its second owner. Mexico City native Jose told me that he was the band leader for Comparse Internacional, a lounge music and dance band in the late 1960s and 1970s. Jose is primarily a flute player, but he provided most of the instruments for the band gigs. He purchased the Trini Lopez from its original owner who was a cousin of his cousin. Its original owner bought it from ABC Music in Laredo, TX.
Trini Lopez Pelham Blue Wide Neck
The original Pelham Blue finish really sets this 1966 Gibson Trini Lopez apart from similar guitars, but the neck width even more so. Most of the original Pelham Blue Trini guitars were made after 1965 and the transition from wide to skinny neck shape. By late 1965, essentially all of the Gibson guitars featured the 1 9/16" nut width or about 40mm. This guitar has the very uncommon transitional neck width and nylon nut. The nut width of this guitar measures exactly 1 21/32" or about 42mm, which is just a hair over the typical transitional neck width found only in 1965. This may the only wide neck Pelham Blue Trini Lopez in existence.
We are lucky to have a scan of the original Gibson shipment ledger showing the exact age of this Trini (for more help with serial numbers check out Gibson Serial Numbers). Serial number 430168 is listed as having shipped on May 2, 1966. It's interesting that the Pelham Blue finish isn't mentioned in the record for this guitar. I believe that this color was applied to the guitar in order to cover up a flaw in the laminate which would be too exposed by a translucent finish. This may also explain the wide neck, since the guitar may have been mostly made in 1965 but not finished until 1966.
Gibson Guitar Collector
I am a Gibson guitar collector for mostly electric guitars made in the 1950s and 1960s.You can get help with the value of your Gibson guitar here: Appraisal. I travel world wide to buy the guitars I've always dreamed of. I may be the guitar buyer you're looking for or can help connect you with one. You can also contact me to sell your Gibson here: Sell a Gibson.