A Gibson Les Paul Classic in Black Beauty style, customized and played by Madonna on her 2001 Drowned World tour. Serial #001360. This guitar introduced "Madonna the guitar player" to the world. It is one of the most photographed guitars ever, appearing in magazines and newspapers from around the world. This was the first (electric) guitar Madonna ever played in performance.
In 2001, during early rehearsals for her Drowned World tour, Madonna, who had been taking guitar lessons, decided that she wanted to debut her guitar playing for the first time in her show. The production design team for her tour had tried to convince her to play a customized futuristic, space-age looking guitar, thinking that the aesthetic would work with the rest of the theme of the tour, but Madonna refused. She believed that if she came out playing a guitar that looked like it was more ornamental than practical, the audience would never believe that she was actually playing. She wanted a more traditional looking guitar, so she asked her guitar technician - who had been with her since her 1990 Blonde Ambition tour - to procure a guitar for her, requesting the Gibson Les Paul. Madonna's tech also requested that Gibson add some gold hardware to the guitar, giving it a Custom/Black Beauty look. A Gibson representative brought both this primary guitar as well as a backup version.
On tour, Madonna played this guitar on her new song "Candy Perfume Girl," the third song of her performance. The images that were taken of her playing the guitar during this performance went viral, appearing in magazines and articles around the world. Demand for Gibson Black Beauty guitars quickly spiked. Madonna was eventually presented with the Les Paul Horizon Award for Most Promising Up and Coming Guitarist.
Before the final show of the Drowned World tour, which took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Madonna called her guitar technician to her dressing room. There she presented this Les Paul guitar to him as a thank you, and signed it in gold paint pen, "Love, Madonna." The guitar has been in the possession of the technician since then. Shortly after the tour ended, the guitar was brought to Tim's Guitars in Baton Rouge, LA, so that the signature could be professionally clear-coated, to preserve it from any degradation.
In 2004, as Madonna was gearing up for her Re-Invention tour, her guitar technician gave up his job with her as he had engagements with other performers. During production rehearsals, the backup Black Beauty Gibson, which Madonna had retained, was stolen from her dressing room, leaving this Gibson as the known guitar from Madonna's first tour as a guitar player.