The Story of Buckethead's Iconic 'Soothsayer' Guitar and it's sale
On April 19th 2023 Buckethead put his KFC KV2 Jackson guitar up for sale for $250,000 (http://bucketheadpikes.com/v_guitar.html)
Of those that inquired, a select few were offered the chance to buy another guitar from Buckethead. A Buckethead Gibson Signature guitar.
That guitar was sold to a long time fan in the UK. This is his story & the purchase of an iconic Buckethead guitar.
How did you become a fan of Buckethead?
I’ve been a Buckethead fan since the late 90s, thanks to his collaborations back then with Primus; albums like Colma, Monsters and Robots, and Praxis Transmutation were influences on me as a teenage guitarist. In recent years I’ve come to own a couple of other guitars from heroes of mine so when the Buckethead opportunity came along it was right up my alley!
What was the condition of the guitar?
When I first unpacked the guitar I was struck by how filthy it was - which delighted me! Because that meant this guitar must have seen serious action, it wasn’t just a spare that had been living quietly in a cupboard its whole life. It’s got its share of dings but was fully functional and playable as soon as I tuned it up.
There was a bit of fret buzz which a quick truss rod adjustment has sorted out - probably due to the difference between Buckethead’s California climate and my English one!
The guitar sounds great both clean and distorted - the notes really sing out effortlessly when playing lead.
The one oddity is the nut - the G string is running through a secondary slot which is slightly closer to the B than the D. I’m not sure at this stage whether that is deliberate or not.
How was it dealing with Bucketheadpikes.com?
The service was pretty solid to be honest, we emailed back and forth pretty quickly to arrange payment and delivery; we ended up delaying shipment for a couple of weeks to ensure that I’d be home when it arrived.
The one thing I would have liked is more information about the guitar itself and its history - not that it would have impacted my purchase. I asked if it would be possible to get a photo of Buckethead with the guitar but I don’t think that was logistically doable at the time.
The guitar came in a generic gig bag rather than a hard case, which was a little unexpected but fine - it was packed really well with lots of bubble wrap and 2 boxes.
How much did you pay for the guitar?
I offered a modest premium above what the Buckethead Signatures are going for on the market, and was surprised that they accepted it pretty much straight away! It was the maximum of what I could justify spending, so I’m pleased that it worked for them and happy to be putting some money in an artist’s pocket.
When was the guitar used?
Based on the serial number (013790352) it looks like this guitar was made May 17th 2009, which interestingly is a few months before the signature model was released. It also has a white toggle switch as opposed to the red one that shipped with the production models, which suggests that perhaps this was a pre-production example made for him.
I’ve reached out to Gibson to see if they have any insight but haven’t had a reply back yet.
There’s footage and photos of him playing a guitar matching these specs in 2009 and 2011, which very probably is this guitar. He definitely used it on tour in 2012 as there’s plenty of live footage with the same marks and grime around the killswitches and below the toggle switch.
I’d love to know if he used it on his albums during the same period.
Editors note: Buckethead used the guitar extensively throughout 2009, 2011 and 2012, noticeable by it's white toggle switch and later in 2012 by the various markings shown on the guitar in various videos online (see examples in the video above). This is the guitar Buckethead famously used in his most watched onstage performance, 'Soothsayer' (14+ million views). It was also the guitar that he likely used in other famous performances such as Wakarusa 2009, Florida 2011, Bluegrass 2011, the aforementioned Colorado 2012(Soothsayer performance) and his final performance before taking a 3+ year touring hiatus, The Great American Music Hall 12/31/2012.
Thanks to the good folks at Natternet for all the work they do for the fans, and in particular for their enthusiasm in helping me explore the story of this guitar!
Thanks Buckethead for the music and for being a unique character, you’ve brought me a lot of joy over the years! Hope you’re doing well and we’d love to see you in the UK some time!
If anyone out there has any more insight on this guitar and its story please get in touch!
The guitar was purchased by Chris Walls from the UK, you can find his social media here:-