|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.