British guitarist Jeff Beck made a big name for himself right from the start, after stepping into very big shoes in The Yardbirds as Eric Clapton’s replacement, then splitting off to form The Jeff Beck Group with Ron Wood and Rod Stewart in 1967, all before the age of 25. Moving into the 1970s, though, Beck began forging his reputation as a solo artist — and one of the hottest guitarists of his generation – with a Gibson Les Paul as his leading instrument of choice. And like so many legendary guitars, the Gibson Les Paul in question made its way into Beck’s hands not through an endorsement deal, or a gift from the manufacturer, but through the lucky happenstance of some down-time being killed with a little browsing at a local music shop. While recording in Memphis, Tenn., Beck paid a visit to the popular Strings and Things guitar store to check out the stock. While browsing inside, Beck’s attention was immediately drawn to a 1954 Gibson Les Paul (occasionally reported to be an early 1955 model), which had been dropped off to receive some very specific modifications.
The first request was to swap the guitar’s original Goldtop finish with a deep chocolate-brown color that turned out to exhibit some oxblood tints in certain light. Others mods included the installation of full-size humbucking pickups in place of the original P-90s, altering the full and rounded early ’50s neck shape to a slightly thinner profile and changing the original tuners for modern replacements. Legend has it that the customer didn’t like the results … but Jeff Beck did. He purchased the modified Les Paul from Strings and Things and played it extensively on the road and in the studio. It would go on to be forever etched into the minds of millions as Beck’s guitar on the widely recognizable cover shot of his milestone 1975 album, Blow By Blow. A tone legend was born.
The Jeff Beck Les Paul is the most detail-precise reissue of this hallowed instrument that the Gibson Custom has ever created. All of the intensively accurate craftsmanship expected from Gibson Custom is there, from the one-piece light mahogany back to the accurately-arched carved maple top to the light aluminum wrapover bridge to the one-piece Beck-profile mahogany neck with long-tenon neck joint. Beyond even these, however, the instrument exudes the vibe of the original, with a feel, sound and finish match that pay homage to Beck’s original modified Les Paul.
Gibson’s Burstbucker 2 and Burstbucker 3 (neck and bridge respectively) are among the most accurate vintage “PAF” reproductions that Gibson has ever conceived, right down to the irregular windings from coil to coil and their lack of potting, two ingredients that contribute to an authentic late-’50s and early ’60s humbucker tone. This guitar spoke to Jeff Beck throughout the ’70s, and it defined his throaty, emotive tone and encouraged his extreme use of sustain and harmonic feedback. Along the way it also helped define the cornerstone sound of the Gibson Les Paul in the hands of a superlative artist. Check out Jeff Beck Oxblood Les Paul from Gibson Custom and hear how it speaks to you. Each guitar comes with a standard Gibson Custom case and certificate of authenticity.