As the leading global authority on vintage instruments, particularly the Gibson Les Paul, Drew Berlin currently owns and manages the high-end vintage guitar dealership Drew Berlin’s Vintage Guitars. In his capacity as appraiser, authenticator, curator, and sales broker, Berlin facilitates sales to a discerning costumer demographic, including some of the most recognized names in the music business, and personally curates celebrity collections. 

A long-established guitarist, singer, and producer in multiple bands, Berlin spent decades as Little Richard’s touring guitarist and musical director from 1969 throughout the rest of Richard’s career. From his teenage years and through his time with Little Richard, Berlin began collecting what were then known as “used” guitars (mostly pre-1965 Gibsons and Fenders), favoring the Gibson Les Paul Standard Sunburst (‘58-’60). This even earned him the nickname “Burst.” Berlin’s reputation as a player and collector established him as a highly respected and honest early authority, and he was frequently sought for his knowledge, opinions, and experience with these now-vintage instruments. 

Long renowned as the go-to for high-end vintage guitars, in 1994 Berlin joined Guitar Center, where he founded the retail chain’s national Vintage department for all 280 stores. Throughout his nearly two decades as Head of Vintage, Berlin founded the legendary “Burst Brothers,” which specialized in sales of rare Gibson Les Paul Sunburst guitars and brought in tens of millions of dollars in transaction value. Berlin also acquired world-famous guitars such as Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Lenny” guitar, George Harrison’s Martin acoustic, Eric Clapton’s 1963 ES 335 “The Cream” and Fender Strat “Blackie” (sold at Clapton’s Christie’s Auction in 2004). Additionally, in 2000, Berlin sourced and supplied many of the guitars for Seattle’s Experience Music Project, including an acoustic Woody Guthrie used to write iconic American songs.

In addition, from 1994 to 2018, Berlin served as the Advisor to Gibson Custom Shop around recreating the 1959 Burst R-9 reissue. Within the same time frame, Berlin also authored numerous featured articles in the official Burst Believers books II, III, and IV. In 2013, Berlin created the popular lecture series: “Les Paul: The Man, The Music, and The Guitar,” “The Les Paul Story,” and “The American Guitar.” In 2017, Berlin initiated and oversaw production of the Gibson Custom Shop Collectors Choice #38: Chicken Shack Burst. 

Since departing Guitar Center in 2012, Berlin continues to be the world’s leading authority on high-end vintage models, working with Julien’s Auction to oversee, appraise, and write descriptions for The Les Paul Estate Auction, which raised millions for the Les Paul Foundation. He has also teamed up with the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame to induct Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, The Ramones, and Kiss, and was the Guitar Curator for the Cars and Guitars of Rock and Roll exhibit at the Peterson Automotive Museum Los Angeles. In 2014, Drew was featured in the full-length documentary film Turn It Up: A Celebration of the Electric Guitar, hosted by Kevin Bacon and featuring appearances from B.B. King, Slash, Les Paul, and others. In 2016, Drew loaned 10 guitars from his personal collection to the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi for their inaugural exhibition, History of Electric Guitars. In 2022, Berlin led the evaluation and appraisal of the late ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill’s estate, which included an extensive instrument collection. 

As an expert authority of Dumble amplifiers and close friend of the late boutique builder Alexander Dumble, Berlin is an executor of Dumble’s estate and co-owner of the brand’s official legacy manufacturer, Dumble Amplification. In 2023, Berlin hosted a first-of-its-kind exhibit of rare Dumble Amps from Alexander’s personal collection at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival in Los Angeles. The exclusive backstage exhibit featured the first Overdrive Special, Dumble’s own prototypes, and a Steel String Singer personally loaned to Stevie Ray Vaughan by Alexander in 1986. 

Berlin’s current client list includes (but is not limited to): Julien’s Auctions, ZZ Top, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bad Company, Bon Jovi, Mike Campbell, The Cars, Cheap Trick, Eric Clapton, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Johnny Depp, The Eagles, John Entwistle, Robben Ford, Billy Gibbons, Vince Gill, Dave Grohl, Guns ‘N Roses, Buddy Guy, Eric Johnson, John Paul Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Sean Lennon, Yoko Lennon, John McBride, Paul McCartney Band, John McClane, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, REO Speedwagon, The Rolling Stones, Richie Sambora, Carlos Santana, Brian Setzer, John Shanks, Steely Dan, Rod Stewart, Sting, Marty Stuart, Stone Temple Pilots, Van Halen, Stevie Wonder, The Yardbirds, and Neil Young.