Aldo Freakin’ Nova: Les Paul, Marshall

December 28, 2010 | By | 5 Replies More
These are not Super Distortions...though that might not be his original Les Paul.

These are not Super Distortions...though that might not be his original Les Paul.

Anyone remember that song “Fantasy”? (If not, it’s below.) I liked it, though it did remind of a Jefferson Starship tune – which will be the subject of the next post.

Off and on I’ve tried to track down info on the gear Aldo used on that tune, since he apparently played all the parts including the solo. (He obviously knows how to play – check out the video, including the pickup switch at the end of the solo.)

At a minimum he used his tobacco-burst Les Paul Standard. Looks like it had replacement pickups, but what were they? At the time (1981) DiMarzios were far more common than Duncans, but it’s questionable whether they have the open pole pieces that would make them Super Distortions. They also seem more white than cream.

But Aldo does get some crunchy distortion on the tune. In the vid below, you can see he’s using what look like early Marshall JMPs, the first Marshall master volume heads, still with the smaller Marshall logo and four inputs (please check me on this Marshall experts).

That looks more like a Super Distortion.

That looks more like a Super Distortion. Then again, I think I see pole piece screws meaning...PAF?

Beyond that, is there some chorus in there? An overdrive box of some sort? A different amp? Some studio tomfoolery? Who knows. Apparently no one took notes at the time, or at least never published anything about it that I could find.

Lesters Uncool

At that time, all traditional axes like Les Pauls and Strats were uncool and getting colder fast. So Gibson jumped all over this hit and got a deal going with Aldo – which resulted in this, the Aldo Nova Les Paul:


Now it looks just plain wrong, doesn’t it? Gibby trying to be hip….

Category: Aldo Nova, Les Paul, Marshall

Comments (5)

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  1. Jocko says:

    What a great tune, and your so totally correct about that Lester being so wrong on so many levels. I have owned Lesters and SG's for three decades now and this guitar failed just like the newer Gibson experiments (Firebird X) will fail. My father told me many years ago that you don't fix whats not broken and Gibson is quickly becoming a guitar maker for collectors since they are pushing out all the Signature Series and Experimental crap guitars. Give me a Gibson that has 2 pups and I can tune it myself. If I want effects I will put them where they belong; on the floor.

  2. Jim says:

    Gibson released some "reissues" that looked just like the Les Paul that Aldo is holding in the photo. Those guitars were the farthest thing from being anatomically correct, they just had some nicely figured tops. However, the "white" pickups are the stock ones that came in that particular guitar. I've seen several of those guitars and I remember when they first came out. I collect Gibson literature, so I'll go look and see if I can find out what the exact model of those pickups were. Most people into guitars today hhave never seen or don't remember these early '80's "reissues".

  3. Dusty says:

    I've always liked that song too. There's an interview on VH1 for like, Best Songs Of The 80's or One Hit Wonders Of The 80's or something from the late 80's or early 90's where Aldo's hanging with Jon Bon Jovi and talks about JBJ got him some new threads, no more leopard print pajamas, haha.

    Are the Aldo signature guitars collectible? Does anybody know if they price compare better or worse than a similar Les Paul Standard? I'm not 100% sure how I feel about that Explorer neck, but I like the quirky Rick Nielsen vibe it gives.

  4. Mark says:

    Actually own the double cutaway version of this beast…in PURPLE/BLACK BURST, gold hardware and 24 frets. A true Gibby Abomination! Plays great though and has a unique sound, not exactly shred, but not the typical Gibson warmth either. Somewhere in the middle. Picked it up for $250 (with hard Gibson case!) very gently used, in 1986. Usually stick with Fender Strats of a newer vintage, but this one was so unique (and cheap) that I couldn’t pass it by. That same day (at the same shop) my buddy bought the Gibson version of the Map Guitar, much more rare than the typical Epi version, for $400 with case. I think the owner was in the depths of a bad (insert your favorite 80’s habit here!) And yes, the Cheap Trick vibe is heavy, though the fiddle is plenty light!

  5. DrewB says:

    Aldo just told me that the rig for that whole album was a Les Paul straight into a Lab Series L5 amp with an SM57 on it. Dunno what was going on outboard…

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