Rare Electric GuitarThe Gretsch G6199 "Billy-Bo" Jupiter Thunderbird is a reproduction of a guitar designed by Bo Diddley in 1959 and produced by a former Gretsch employee.
Diddley built his first guitar in 1945, it was trapezoid shaped since Diddley felt that the regular shaped Gibson L5 he was playing were hindering his live performances. The smaller trapezoid and rectangular guitars allowed him to keep jumping around on stage while still playing his guitar. Diddley went on to play a number of rectangular guitars built by himself and others, which soon became one of his trademarks throughout his career.
In 1959 Bo approached a former Gretsch employee known only as "Juliano" to build him some guitars from his own designs using Gretsch necks and hardware. The resulting three guitars (Jupiter Thunderbird, Cadillac and Cigar Box), two of which were named after popular automobiles became synonymous with Diddley and his '60s stage partner "The Duchess" Norma-Jean Wofford.
The Jupiter was later donated as a gift to ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons who used it on some ZZ Top recordings. Since Gibbons did not want to risk subjecting the rare guitar to touring and live performances, Gibbons approached Gretsch with the idea of reproducing the Jupiter Thunderbird. The end result was the G6199 "Billy-Bo" Jupiter Thunderbird which Gretsch launched in 2005.
Later Gretsch also launched the G6199B "Billy-Bo" Jupiter Thunderbird Bass which is a four string bass identical to the guitar, the G5810 Bo Diddley inspired by Diddley's rectangular guitars and the G5850 Mini Diddley a miniature version of the rectangular guitar.
The Billy-Bo is a modern version of the Jupiter Thunderbird designed in 1959 by Bo Diddley himself. Billy F. Gibbons fell in love with an original given to him by Bo Diddley, but added some of his own mojo to this new version that he created as his touring axe. The Billy-Bo features a heavily chambered mahogany body, one-piece mahogany neck, ultra-thin laminate maple top, TV Jones Power'Tron (neck) and Power'Tron "Plus" (bridge) pickups, pinned Adjusto-matic™ bridge, and Schaller Straplocks. It's a dirty, low-down rock guitar with serious credentials and a vibe that hasn't lessened in nearly 50 years.
A great mix of retro and modern, the Billy-Bo is a rock legend of the past and present. Order your now.