A detail-perfect recreation of an iconic Les Paul.
Gibson Custom’s Collector’s Choice Series provides players around the world with the opportunity to experience the precise look, feel and tone of some of the rarest guitars in history. Through unrestricted hands-on access to specific vintage Les Pauls, Gibson Custom captures and reproduces the characteristics of these prized originals in amazing detail: neck shape, dish carve, finish, ageing, and tone—to name just a few essential elements—are all re-created with stunning accuracy. The process is astounding on any occasion, but when the subject guitar has a history as rich and vibrant as this one, the results are all the more breathtaking.
The acquisition of any original 1958-'60 Burst is an intoxicating experience, but when Gordon Kennedy acquired his own 1959 Les Paul in 2000, he was also fully aware of the guitar's deep legend of musical heritage, popular music, and ownership by a cultural icon. This guitar—re-created here as Collector's Choice #13 1959 Les Paul "The Spoonful Burst"—was the sole guitar that had accompanied the musical journey of John Sebastian, best known for a brilliant and colorful career as frontman of The Lovin' Spoonful. In Sebastian's hands, this guitar had helped to create a string of hits such as "Do You Believe In Magic," "Nashville Cats," and "Welcome Back," the theme song to the hit '70s TV show Welcome Back Kotter. If that wasn't enough, this guitar has also been held by Michael Bloomfield and Jimmy Vivino, and has made big screen appearances in Woody Allen's Tiger Lily and Paul Simon’s One Trick Pony.
One of the factors that makes Collector's Choice #13 "The Spoonful Burst" truly special is the way Gibson Custom, as with all Collector's Choice guitars, clones distinctive elements of its specific wear, tone, look and feel, rendering a detail-perfect re-creation that comes as close as is humanly possible to an original vintage Les Paul. Signs of the very individual personality of Collector's Choice #13 include its unusually balanced front and rear pickups, substantial neck profile, significant wear from a long career of heavy use by John Sebastian, and the beautifully faded "Dirty Lemon" burst finish. In tribute to one of America's most accomplished artists, a tie-dyed dust cover is included with each guitar, along with a limited-edition reproduction of a hand-written letter from John Sebastian explaining the guitar's unique history in detail.
Gibson Custom's Collector's Choice #13 1959 Les Paul "The Spoonful Burst" will be available in a limited run of up to 300 pieces worldwide, with the availability of qualifying materials ultimately determining the final number.
Body and Neck
The body of Collector’s Choice #13 is made from a single piece of solid, lightweight mahogany topped with a subtly figured maple top that’s hand-selected to emulate the original guitar’s look. The neck is made from solid quarter-sawn mahogany and carved to the precise ’59 profile taken from close measurement of the Kennedy/Sebastian Burst. It’s topped with a one-piece rosewood fingerboard inlaid with aged cellulose trapezoid inlays, and heavily rolled to replicate the precise feel of the original Les Paul.
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 #13 "The Spoonful Burst" as authentic as possible, Gibson Custom carefully studied and measured every intricate spec of the originals to replicate them in every detail. The neck pickup is made with an Alnico II magnet while the bridge pickup is made with Alnico III; both have scatter-wound coils with double-black bobbins beneath aged nickel covers. Together, they recreate the exceptionally rich and balanced tone of the original Kennedy/Sebastian Burst. They are routed through the traditional control knob complement and three-way switch, with “bumble bee” tone capacitors.
Period-correct hardware graces the Collector’s Choice #13 1959 Les Paul, 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 includes a silkscreened brown Custom Shop hardshell case with tie-dyed dust cover, along with an owner’s manual, a Custom Shop Collector’s Choice #13 leather-bound trifold Certificate of Authenticity.