Gibson introduce the 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standard with period-correct detail 03-Feb-10
Here's what Gibson have to say...
It might seem laughable, even absurd, that the guitar world's failure to appreciate the original Les Paul would lead to its deletion from the Gibson line up after 1960, but so it often goes with creations that are so far ahead of their time. Just a few years later, scores of groundbreaking artists would discover the incomparable power of this instrument, and its premature scarcity would also make it an extremely valuable guitar while the model was really still just a toddler, thus rendering it the first collectible "vintage" electric guitar.
Fast forward 50 years, and the Les Paul of 1958-'60 has become the most prized electric guitar on the planet. But to say "the" Les Paul is actually somewhat misleading: while all of the fewer than 2,000 Les Pauls manufactured in this brief three-year timeframe are exceedingly desirable, they were often quite different guitars, too, varying not only from year to year as the model's specs evolved, but varying even within the same year of manufacture.
None embodies this "work in progress" so completely as the final issue of the line, the 1960 Les Paul Standard--or, should we say "Standards"--now brought back to life in the Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standards. To accurately present the variations in specifications and finish that original examples from 1960 exhibit, Gibson's Custom Shop is creating this limited Anniversary model in three versions, each of which embodies in period-correct detail the final three steps along the journey before this hallowed electric guitar was pulled from production.
At the start of 1960, the Les Paul retained the same specs as its predecessor from 1959, although it did receive the official "Les Paul Standard" designation in place of the former "Les Paul Model" (a name that its headstock nonetheless still retained). Among these details were the full, rounded neck profile, top-hat control knobs, and Heritage Cherry Sunburst or Heritage Dark Sunburst finish, and these are the very characteristics with which the Custom Shop has imbued Version 1 of the 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standard, which might be confused for a 1959 Les Paul Model if not for the 1960 serial number stamped into the back of the guitar's headstock at the dawn of this new decade, and the R0 serial number of this 50th Anniversary model.
Version 2 represents the neck's transition from full to slim--a progression that was gradual, rather than sudden--in the form of a Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standard with thinner, yet still somewhat rounded and "elliptical" neck profile, based on painstaking research and detailed scans of several transitional '60s Les Pauls that were studied by the Custom Historic and Engineering team. To represent this alteration visibly, Version 2 will be offered in two classic "faded" 'Burst colors: Light Iced Tea and Sunset Tea Burst. The final version of the Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standard is represented by a guitar with the slim-taper neck for which late-'60 Les Pauls have become famous, along with the double-band tuners and gold top-hat control knobs with the "new" silver inserts that were fitted to these guitars.
Furthermore, Version 3 accurately represents the changes in the finishing process at Gibson in the latter part of 1960, in its more vibrant, colorfast Cherry Sunburst, a finish that stood the test of time somewhat better than many of the sunbursts that preceded it.
In addition to these pertinent details, the Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standards pack all the tonal nuances and unparalleled playability that really helped to make these guitars legendary in the hands of artist like Eric Clapton, who wielded a slim-necked 1960 Les Paul Standard on the most influential blues-rock album of all time, John Mayall Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton, often referred to as the "Beano" album. The time-tested tonewood combination of mahogany and maple, the classic duo of Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, and a pair of Gibson's lauded PAF-style BurstBucker humbucking pickups all work toward a tonal splendor that no other guitar can equal.
Add to these the Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standards' long-tenon neck joint, traditionally back-angled headstock, and thin, breathable nitrocellulose finish, and you've got a guitar that sings and resonates like no other. A total of only 500 Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standards will be produced in a blend of all three versions. All will include a Custom Shop hardshell case and a 50th Anniversary Certificate of Authenticity.
Body and Finish
Crafted from a book-matched figured maple top and a lightweight one-piece mahogany back, these guitars are finished in low-build nitrocellulose lacquer, and are available in a range of colors to suit each Version, including Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Heritage Dark Sunburst, Light Iced Tea Burst, Sunset Tea Burst and Cherry Sunburst.
In every way, these details represent careful study of several actual 1960 Les Paul Standards that were examined in the course of reproducing the Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standard.
Neck and Headstock
The guitar's neck and headstock are made in the classic tradition of the original 1960 Les Paul. Carved from a single piece of quarter-sawn mahogany, and topped with a rosewood fingerboard, the design incorporates Gibson's lauded 17-degree back-angled headstock, which contributes greatly to the instrument's resonance and sustain.
Pickups and Electronics
The Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standard carries a complement of pickups and hardware that accurately reflect the original equipment on the most desirable Les Pauls ever made.
A pair of BurstBucker pickups captures that highly sought-after "PAF" style tone, while quality CTS potentiometers with "bumblebee" tone caps translate the signal in pure vintage style.
As befits a Custom Shop Anniversary Les Paul of this caliber, the Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standard is equipped with Gibson's most accurate, period-correct reproduction hardware, including Kluson-style tuners, a Tune-o-matic bridge and stop-bar tailpiece both made from the correct metals and plated in nickel, and Gibson's original aluminum strap buttons, all of which contribute to the vintage look and tone of the instrument.
Pricing and Availability: