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50th Anniversary 1959 Les Paul Standard
Given that the original sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard is considered by players and collectors alike to be the most desirable electric guitar ever created, it’s hard to find words to describe the heights reached briefly in 1959, when the very best of the elements that came together to make this design great in the first place coalesced into the ultimate rendition of the ultimate guitar. Having gone from wraparound bridge to Tune-o-matic and stopbar tailpiece in 1956, from P-90s to PAF humbuckers in 1957, and from goldtop to sunburst in 1958, the ’59 Les Paul evolved only slightly further, but the minor variations introduced to the fabled ’Burst that year—involving the specifications of the neck—attained a critical mass that really put this guitar over the top. On the back of the neck, the Les Paul’s chunky profile remained thick and rounded, but it was slightly less thick and “clubby” on many previous examples, making its D profile even more comfortable in the hand. On the front of the neck, the narrow vintage “nail” frets on the rosewood fingerboard were replaced by wider “jumbo” frets, which made bending easier on the ’59 ’Burst, and, as many players would argue, also helped to induce more resonance into the neck and, ultimately, a fatter tone. Ironically, as the Les Paul was evolving toward the epitome of its form, it was having even more difficulty finding a footing in the guitar market of the day. By the mid to late ’60s, artists such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Mike Bloomfield, Paul Kossof, and several others would appreciate this guitar as “the best of the best”, but in the year of its birth the ’59 Les Paul Standard suffered declining sales. Only a few hundred were made that year, and fewer than 2,000 sunburst Les Paul Standards were manufactured in total between 1958 and 1960. Hard to come by? That would be putting it lightly. Thanks to Gibson’s Custom Shop, though, the beauty of the ’Burst has been reborn in the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard, the most accurate recreation of the original instrument that Gibson has ever produced.

Created after precise measurement of original vintage Les Pauls, this model incorporates a stunning amount of period-correct detail that combines to make the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard look, feel, and sound like the real thing. In addition to several obvious features such as its one-piece mahogany neck with long tenon, BurstBucker PAF reproduction pickups, solid non-weight relieved mahogany back, and accurate rounded ’59 neck profile, other subtle but important nuances take this guitar’s accuracy even further. These include its historically accurate thin fingerboard binding that’s only .040-inch thick (which contributes greatly to the comfortable, vintage-feeling, “rolled” fingerboard edges), historically accurate 1/2-inch wire channel from toggle switch to control pocket, accurately sized back control pocket route, correct height of the binding in the cutaway, 5/8-inch heel with accurate heel shape, period-correct carved arch on the guitar’s maple top, correctly tapered headstock with tuner holes in a straight line (rather than following the headstock edge), and much, much more. Every Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard comes with a Gibson Custom Shop hardshell case, a leather-bound Certificate of Authenticity, a Custom Care Kit, and a full array of owner’s manuals and “how to” guides.
Body
Species
Each Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard is crafted from a two-piece maple top attached with ultra-strong Franklin Titebond 50 glue to a non-chambered mahogany body. This wood combination, one of the most legendary pairs in the history of the solid and semi-solid electric guitar, yields a “best of both worlds” tonal splendor, while also producing a classic look and a sturdy instrument.
  Design
The Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard precisely follows the body lines and dimensions of the original ’59 Les Paul Standard, with a gently arched carved top and rounded lower bout, and combines the classic tonewood combination of mahogany back and carved maple top. The body’s back is cut from a single piece of solid, high-grade, lightweight clear mahogany, and capped with a two-piece top of figured maple that is carved into a period-correct “dish”, or arch.
  Weight
Weights vary slightly, according to wood supplies, but Gibson’s Custom Shop seeks out the lightest, most tonally advantageous mahogany for the one-piece bodies of the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard.
  Tonal Characteristics
The Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard’s body woods present the classic combination of good clarity, definition and treble bite from the maple, and excellent depth and richness from the mahogany, all of which are elements that are found in the legendary tone of the original ’59 Les Paul Standard. This is one of the most revered wood combinations of all time, and truly offers a “best of both worlds” design in the way that mahogany and maple complement each other to offer superior resonance, sustain, depth, clarity, and definition.
Finish
Color
The Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard is finished in either Heritage Cherry Sunburst or Heritage Dark Sunburst, with a light vintage-mahogany back on both versions.
  Surface Texture
Just as original ’Bursts were finished some 50 years ago, the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard is given a well-buffed, high-gloss finish, resulting in an instrument that looks like it was found in a case under the bed after resting for half a century.
  Process
The Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard is hand-finished in nitrocellulose in a process that closely replicates the finishing process applied to original Les Paul Standards of 1958-’60. Like the great Les Pauls made 50 years ago, this instrument is finished with minimum build-up, in an effort to produce a finish that breathes with the guitar and enhances natural resonance, and will age elegantly and naturally to continually enhance the appearance of this reborn classic.
Neck and Headstock
Species
The neck of the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard is constructed from one solid piece of quarter-sawn, lightweight mahogany for improved strength and resonance. The luthiers in Gibson’s Custom Shop carefully match the grains and weights of these guitars’ bodies and necks to optimize tone and sustain.
Truss Rod
Gibson’s traditional truss rod, found in most all of our guitars, is highly responsive to the individual adjustments you’ll want to make to personalize and optimize string action and sustain.
Profile
The neck on the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard is carved to Gibson’s rounded D profile, a full yet comfortable neck shape that accurately recreates the feel of the neck on a genuine ’59 ’Burst.
  Joint Angle
4.0° (+/- 15 seconds)
Headstock Angle (Pitch)
Just like the original Les Pauls of the late ’50s, and many classic Gibson models, the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard headstock is carefully angled at Gibson’s traditional 17 degrees, which increases pressure on the strings and helps them stay in the nut slots. An increase in string pressure also means there is no loss of string vibration between the nut and the tuners, which equals better sustain.
Logo
The traditional, period-correct Gibson logo is inlaid in mother of pearl across the top of a holly headstock veneer, with “Les Paul Model” silkscreened in gold along the center of the headstock face.
  Tonal Characteristics
Every detail counts in the effort of bringing ’59 Les Paul tone to the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard, and the angled, classical-style peg head and mahogany neck work together to provide exceptional tonal richness and resonance from the neck, with a good string definition and sustain.
Neck Fit
Joint
Gibson uses what is known as the Mortis & Tenon joint to bind neck to body so that the two pieces form one solid unit. On the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard, this technique incorporates the lauded “long neck tenon” which extends further into the body than the tenon on the necks of many other, later guitars, greatly enhancing resonance and sustain, as well as neck strength in general.
  Adhesive
The adhesive used to join neck and body is Franklin Titebond 50, one of the strongest glues on the market today.
  Tolerance
When fitting the neck and body together, we take advantage of our precise measuring equipment so that all angles, pitches and alignments maintain a tolerance within .005 of an inch. Not only does this help to keep your guitar in tune but it also maintains proper string alignment relative to the fingerboard.
Fingerboard
Species
The Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard carries a rosewood fingerboard, the traditional fingerboard of the original Les Paul Standard. Rosewood is both hardwearing and sonically superlative, adding sweetness and depth to the guitar’s overall sound.
  Radius
Just like that of the original ’Burst, the 12-inch radius of the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard fingerboard provides smooth note bending capabilities and eliminates “dead” or “choked out” notes, common occurrences on fingerboards with lesser radiuses.
Frets
To replicate one of the small but significant changes brought to the Les Paul in 1959, the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard’s fingerboard carries 22 jumbo frets, all immaculately dressed and polished.
Inlays
The Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard fingerboard carries acrylic trapezoid position-marker inlays, echoing the traditional look of the original Les Paul Standard.
  Tonal Characteristics
Rosewood fingerboards are known for their rich, round tone.
Nut
Material
The nut on the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard is made from nylon in the image of the original ’59 Les Paul. It is installed into the top surface of the neck, butting up to the end of the fingerboard to ensure proper tone and sustain transfer, and its nut slots are cut with Gibson’s PLEK system to ensure precise fit, break angle, and string spacing.
  Width
The width of the nut on the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard is approximately 1.695”, the traditional nut width of Gibson electric guitars.
Pickups
Model
The Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard is equipped with a pair of Gibson’s popular BurstBucker humbucking pickups, a BurstBucker 1 in the neck position and a slightly hotter BurstBucker 2 in the bridge position, for the perfect output balance between the two pickup selections. Gibson’s BurstBuckers are widely regarded as the most accurate reproductions of original PAF humbuckers available today, and even go so far as to reproduce some of the inconsistencies that are credited with contributing a certain magic to original Gibson humbuckers from 1957-’62. BurstBuckers are made with unpolished Alnico II magnets and unpotted coils that are wound to slightly different numbers of turns, like the originals. While using two slightly mismatched coils depletes a humbucking pickup’s noise-canceling abilities slightly, it also gives the pickup a little more edge—a sound that you could even say comes a little closer to single-coil bite—than can be achieved with perfectly balanced coils.
  Magnet Material
Gibson’s BurstBuckers use unpolished Alnico II bar magnets, just like many of the most prized original PAF humbuckers.
  Tonal Characteristics
The BurstBucker 1 is slightly underwound to achieve an output toward the lower-medium end of the PAF range, and it offers added clarity mixed with vowel-like tone in the neck position, with the bonus of good volume balance when paired with a BurstBucker 2 in the bridge position. The “2” has a slightly hotter output in the range of some of the more over-wound PAFs of the era, for more grind and sustain from the bridge position. Between them, the accurately translate all the warmth, depth, and clarity of the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard’s woods into a tone that is rich yet crisp and can range from an aggressive wail to a mellow moan, all at the flick of a switch and the turn of a knob… just like the original ’59 ’Burst.
Electronics
Volume Controls
Just like the original, the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard uses an independent Volume control for each pickup, which consists of a quality CTS 500k audio-taper potentiometer for a smooth, natural volume roll-off.
Tone Controls
Individual CTS 500k audio-taper potentiometers with accurate .022mF “bumble bee” tone capacitors provide independent tone controls for each pickup.
Toggle Switch
The Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard features the classic three-way Switchcraft toggle switch with cream plastic tip.
Output Jack
The guitar features a 1⁄4” output jack made by Switchcraft, for years of trouble-free service.
Hardware
Tuning Keys
The headstock of the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard is equipped with vintage Kluson-style tuners with pearloid tulip buttons. These tuners provide a classic look in line with the model’s lineage, and smooth, robust performance.
Bridge
In the image of its predecessor, the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard carries a Tune-o-matic (ABR-1) bridge that is made from zinc and plated in polished nickel. This bridge provides a firm seating for the strings, allowing the player to adjust and fine-tune the intonation and string height in a matter of minutes. It also yields excellent coupling between strings and body, maximizing resonance, tone, and sustain.
Tailpiece
Every Tune-o-matic bridge is combined with a separate “stopbar” tailpiece, which is essentially a modified version of the earlier wraparound bridge that’s designed to further enhance the connection between the strings and the body. The Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard’s stopbar tailpiece is made from lightweight aluminum, like the original, and is plated in polished nickel.
Strap Buttons
The guitar’s aluminum strap buttons are the same style and design that Gibson has used since the early 1950s.
Plastics
Truss Rod Cover
The truss rod cover on the Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard follows the period-correct “antique bell” shape of the originals, and is made from black and white vinyl plastic.
Control Knobs
The Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard’s Volume and Tone controls carry historically correct gold top-hat knobs.
Pickguard
The guitar carries an accurate reissue cream pickguard, made in the image of the ’guard on the original 1959 Les Paul Standard.
Strings
  Gauge
The Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard is fitted with vintage strings, sizes .010 - .046.
Accessories
  Case
Your Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard comes protected in black Gibson Custom hardshell case with “Gibson Custom” silkscreened in gold on the black pleather covering.
  Extras
Each Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Standard comes with a leather-bound Certificate of Authenticity, owner’s manual, adjustment literature, and documentation for the guitar’s limited lifetime warranty.
 
 
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