In the summer of 1972 I just graduated from high school , I was 18 yrs old and in a rock band ! I just spent the last few years going to the Fillmore East as well as attending Woodstock, and the Atlantic City Pop Festival . The music scene in New York was alive with great music everywhere. In 1970 I heard Peter Greens Fleetwood Mac at the Fillmore and immediately new that this is what I wanted to do ! Mike Bloomfield’s recording of Super Session and Peter’s playin pointed me in the direction of the one guitar that had that Tone that I would in the Summer of 1973 finally acquire ! The Sunburst Les Paul ! I headed to the famous street in NYC known as Music Row looking for a job and to find a Burst! My first stop was Mannys Music and inquired about a job there , they weren’t hiring but kind enough to point me in the direction of Eddie Bells Gtr Headquarters on 49th st one short block away . I headed there and spoke to Miss B , and the owner Mark Biddlemen. They hired me and I started immediately .
On one of the occasions that I was delivering parts to Mannys I noticed a U-haul truck parked in front with the back door open and 3 characters pulling out guitars cases of all types , tweed Fender cases , brown Gibson cases and opening them and the store owner was saying I’ll take that one , that one and so on . I stopped one of these characters and introduced myself and told him I worked at Eddie Bells and was lookin to purchase a Burst and they all turned around and said ” so is everyone else” ! I fast made friends with him , his name was Les Levia. He stopped over at Eddie Bells with some guitars and told me that a Burst would cost $1500.00! Allot of money at that time , especially for me ! He told me off a 57 three PU Gibson Black Beauty with a blown middle PU that would be available for $750.00 and that if I was interested he would stop by with it and let me see it . At the time Bill Lawrence was winding pick ups for us and he told me he would rewind the pick up for me and charge me lunch ! When Les showed up with the 57 I already sold my 100 watt Marshall head and Cab and pulled the rest of the money together and purchased the Gtr with the intent on selling it and finally getting a Burst ! The pick up was rewound by Bill and I put an ad in the buy lines and immediately got an offer of $1100.00 from someone who worked at the World a Trade Center . My brother and friend drove down with me to meet the gentlemen and he handed me eleven one hundred dollar bills and I handed him the Gtr ! When I got home I called Les and told him I sold the 57 and to keep me in mind for a Burst . He told me he would have one shortly to get the rest of the cash together and I did . Shortly thereafter Les told me he and a friend would stop in the store on that following Sat with two Les Paul’s . The follow Sat , Les and his friend Kosta came barreling through the doors with two brown cases and proceeded to lie them on the floor and told me to take a look ! You can imagine my excitement ! I opened the one case and there was a mint 57 Gold Top with tags and a fat neck for $1100.00! I opened the second case and there it was , a 1960 Burst ! You can’t imagine how I felt ! I looked at Les and said its mine! I have a total of $1450.00 , I’ll pay you the rest off and he said no worries ! So there you have it , the search was over ! Since 1968 I wanted a Burst and now I had one ! I’ve played Betsy at EVERY show of my music career from the moment I purchased her till 2002 . I semi-retired her for fear of loosing her and picked up a great sounding 1952 Gold Top that already had a tune-a-magic added from friend Tim Kummer. I still take Betsy out on special occasions, and she’s all over my 2011 CD ” Currents” ! “Theres nothing like playing a Burst” . Videos, photos and music of Betsy can be found on my website : JeffPrinegroup . com . I hope you enjoyed my story ! JP