Gibson Custom’s Collector’s Choice™ series is dedicated to re-creating the exact look, feel, tone, and “vibe” of some of the rarest instruments in guitar history. Gibson Custom’s unrestricted access to specific guitars for precise testing and analysis allows reproducing the characteristics of these acclaimed originals—neck shape, dish carve, finish, ageing, and tone, to name just a few essential elements—with stunning accuracy. This painstakingly detailed process, which lets players around the world experience these acclaimed guitars for themselves, is amazing in its own right—but takes on additional significance when applied to an iconic guitar owned and played by a globally recognized artist who helped shaped guitar-driven music.
Collector’s Choice™ #16 is the long-time sidekick of Ed King, co-writer of the southern-rock classic “Sweet Home Alabama,” and has been played on countless gigs and recording sessions through Ed’s work with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Strawberry Alarm Clock. When Ed agreed to work with Gibson Custom to recreate his Collector’s Choice Les Paul, the team was taken initially by the beautiful, well-preserved look of the guitar. “The top on this thing is crazy, and its condition is actually quite incredible,” said Edwin Wilson, Gibson Custom Historic Manager. Once we plugged it in, though, the rare mix of feel and tone that lay beneath the surface proved this guitar as well-rounded an example of a rare ’59 burst as we have ever had the pleasure to re-create.to recreate.
In addition to embodying the full aesthetic and sonic glory of this pristine Les Paul, Collector’s Choice™ #16, like all 2013 Gibson Custom reissues, also features Gibson Custom’s 20th Anniversary Historic Specifications, which bring the Custom Shop reproductions closer to the real thing than ever before. These specifications, introduced for 2013, include a single-layer rosewood fingerboard, hot hide glue neck joint, accurate fingerboard and body binding color, historically accurate truss rod assembly, and genuine aniline red dye for the guitar’s back, neck, and sides. Further period-correct details include the neck’s nylon 6/6 nut, holly headstock face with pearl Gibson logo, reissue Kluson™ Deluxe green-key tuners, ABR-1 Tune-o-Matic bridge with lightweight aluminum stopbar tailpiece, reproduction Bumble Bee tone caps, and more.
All of this comes together in a guitar that presents a rare opportunity for the Les Paul player or collector, and will be produced in a very limited run of up to 300 hand-aged and meticulously crafted instruments. Qualifying materials will ultimately determine the size of the run, so reserve this burst beauty now at your authorized Gibson Custom dealer.
Body and Neck
The body of Collector’s Choice™ #16 is made from a single piece of solid, lightweight mahogany with a figured maple top hand selected to emulate the look of the original guitar. The neck is made from solid quarter-sawn mahogany and carved to the precise ’59 profile taken from close measurement of the original guitar. It’s topped with a one-piece rosewood fingerboard featuring aged cellulose trapezoid inlays.
Pickups and Electronics
The original PAF humbucking pickups are a crucial part of the “burst tone” in any original late-’50s Les Paul, and to make those loaded into Collector’s Choice™ #16 as authentic as possible, Gibson Custom carefully studied and measured every intricate spec of the originals. A BurstBucker 3 made with an Alnico magnet—a relatively hot PAF for its day—is the perfect match for the neck pickup in Ed’s guitar, while a Custom Bucker with Alnico III magnet has been wound to match the bridge pickup. They are routed through the traditional control knob complement and three-way switch, with Bumble Bee tone capacitors.
Period-correct hardware graces Collector’s Choice™ #16, including reissue Kluson™ Deluxe “green-key” tuners, an ABR-1 Tune-o-matic bridge, and lightweight aluminum stopbar tailpiece, all nickel-plated. The binding retains the accurate vintage color, as do the pickup rings and pickguard, and the guitar carries a traditional black/white “bell” truss-rod cover.
Cases & Coverage
Each guitar is backed by Gibson Custom’s Limited Lifetime Warranty and 24/7/365 Customer Service, and will include a silkscreened brown Custom Shop hardshell case and owner’s manual, and a Custom Shop Collector’s Choice #16 leather-bound trifold Certificate of Authenticity.e.