The Les Paul model that was the end of an era, and the beginning of a legend...
The Gibson Les Paul guitars of the late '50s and early '60s have become among the most prized electric guitars on the planet. But to say "the" Les Paul is actually somewhat misleading because Les Paul guitars varied not only from year to year as the model's specs evolved, but even within the same year of manufacture.
To accurately represent the variations in specifications and finish within original examples manufactured in 1960, Gibson is offering three versions of this hallowed vintage electric guitar.
At the start of 1960, the Gibson 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 Gibson Custom Shop has imbued. The first Version of the 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standard electric guitar might be confused for a 1959 Les Paul guitar 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 Les Paul guitar. This version is available in heritage Cherry Sunburst and Heritage Dark Burst finishes.
Version 2 represents the neck's transition from full to slim—a progression that was gradual, rather than sudden—in the form of a Gibson 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 Paul guitars 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 third version of the Gibson Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standard is represented by an electric guitar with the slim-tapered 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. Version three features a '60s Cherry Burst finish.
Furthermore, Version 3 of the Gibson 1960 Les Paul 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 Gibson Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standard guitar pack all the tonal nuances and unparalleled playability that really helped to make these guitars fabled 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 BluesBreakers 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 Gibson 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 1960 Les Paul guitars 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 Gibson 1960 Les Paul Standards that were examined in the course of reproducing the Custom Shop 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standard guitar.
Neck and Headstock
The Les Paul 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 50th Anniversary Gibson Custom Shop 1960 Les Paul Standard carries a complement of pickups and hardware that accurately reflect the original equipment on the most desirable Les Paul guitars 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 Gibson 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 Gibson Les Paul.