Skip to main content Skip to footer
Save 15% on a qualifying item of $79 or more when you call 866-498-7882. Now thru March 24.

Gibson Custom Collector's Choice #3 1960 Les Paul The Babe Electric Guitar

Item #: 
1335192836183   POS #:107893323
  • Write a Review

The entire premise of Gibson Custom's Collector's Choice series revolves around the recreation of the most prized Les Paul Standards. In a little over 52 years on this planet, this fascinating "transi... Click To Read More About This Product

We're sorry—we no longer carry this item.

Find a similar product below or contact us for a recommendation of a great alternative.

Call: 866-498-7882 Email

Recommended Products

The entire premise of Gibson Custom's Collector's Choice series revolves around the recreation of the most prized Les Paul Standards. In a little over 52 years on this planet, this fascinating "transitional" early 1960 Les Paul Standard has had only four owners, three of whom prefer to remain anonymous, while one is very much known to the guitar-playing public, Joe Bonamassa. Collector's Choice 1960 Les Paul #3 0-0137, otherwise known to all as "The Babe," is a marvelously well-preserved Les Paul Standard. It presents an unusual combination of late-'59 features on an early 1960 model-year guitar, as well as being one of very few verifiable Standards of the era produced with a factory-ordered Bigsby vibrato (called a "Floating Bridge" at the time). In short, the Collector's Choice 1960 Les Paul #3 0-0137 "The Babe" is a precise recreation of what is an unusual and extremely desirable Les Paul by any standards, and production is strictly limited so it is destined to remain an extremely collectible guitar.

While 1959 Standards were stamped with a serial number with the leading digit "9" and 1960 Standards began with a "0," the first digit of The Babe is actually stamped too faintly to be read with total accuracy. The fact, however, that its trailing serial numbers”0137”are low in the series, and that it was ordered by its original owner in June of 1959 and delivered in August of 1959, indicate that it would have been a very early 1960 model-year guitar, a detail that has been verified by each of its owners as well as by Gibson Custom. The original guitar currently in Joe Bonamassa's possession exhibits a vibrant Cherry Red Sunburst finish (which has retained most of its Aniline red dye, a rarity among vintage Les Pauls), although such finishes would soon appear more orange-red on Les Paul Standards as 1960 progressed. The original owner of the guitar recounts that he purchased this Les Paul from the proceeds of a bumper season's grain haul, a financial decision that left him unable to buy an engagement ring. When he ordered the guitar, he was asked whether he preferred a "more red" or "more orange" sunburst finish, and opted for the former. Gibson Custom has accurately recreated this "Cherry Tea Burst" finish on a two-piece plain maple top carved from woods that have been hand-selected to closely represent the grain pattern of the original, and the results are hand-aged to recreate the gently aged patina of the original instrument. The one-piece genuine mahogany body back and neck are finished in an accurate dark Analine red dye, while the top and the rosewood fingerboard are bound in vintage-accurate plastics.

Further examples of its unusual "transitional" status, this Les Paul retains the somewhat heftier neck profile of the '59 Standard. Recreated from precise measurement of the original guitar, the one-piece, quarter-sawn neck measures .920" deep at the 1st fret and 1.01" at the 12th, a depth and shape that make it just about the perfect profile in the hands of many players today. In addition to several other precise measurements, Gibson Custom has accurately recorded the specs of the original PAF humbucking pickups on "The Babe," and used them to recreate a pair of Custom Buckers used on Collector's Choice 1960 Les Paul #3 0-0137. Made with Alnico III magnets and accurate numbers of turns of period-correct coil wire, these pickups meticulously recreate the specifications, look, and”most importantly”the tone of the original late-'59 PAF pickups, offering all the characteristic warmth, depth, edge and clarity of some of the greatest pickups ever created. Further period-correct details include Vintage Reissue fret wire, aged acrylic trapezoid fingerboard inlays, tortoise side dots, accurately aged hardware (including the unusual aluminum base beneath the Tune-o-matic bridge), single-band green tuner keys, gold "Top Hat" knobs without silver inserts, and reproduction "Bumble Bee" tone caps. In short, the Collector's Choice 1960 Les Paul #3 0-0137 "The Babe" represents a painstaking effort to recreate the character and individuality of the original guitar, and gives a fortunate few players and collectors the opportunity to own as near to an exact recreation of "The Babe" as it is humanly possible. From its original owner via a mere two further stops to the collection of one of the most renowned guitarists of our time, Joe Bonamassa, this is a prized and precious 'Burst that you won't want to miss out on.

The guitar will be produced in no fewer than 25 and no more than 300 examples.


  • One-piece Mahogany back with hand-selected, Eastern Maple top
  • Rosewood fingerboard with vintage-accurate trapezoid inlays
  • Powerful Custom Bucker #3 Humbucking pickups in the neck and bridge
  • ABR-1 bridge with aluminum base and Bigsby tailpiece
  • Gotoh Nickel Reissue Green Keys with 12:1 tuning ratio
  • Top: Maple
  • Back: Mahogany
  • Binding: .90 Cream
  • Adhesive: Franklin Titebond
  • Species: Mahogany with Maple Spline
  • Profile: '59 Rounded, Precise Recreation of Original
  • Truss Rod: Traditional
  • Joint Angle: 4 (+/- 15 seconds)
  • Adhesive: Franklin Titebond
Neck Fit
  • Joint: Mortise & Tenon
  • Adhesive: Franklin Titebond
  • Joint Angle Tolerance: +/- .005"
  • Species: Rosewood
  • Radius: 12"
  • Scale Length: 24.75"
  • Binding: .04 Cream
  • Inlays: Nitrocellulose Trapezoid
  • Nut/E.O.B: 1.687/2.062
  • Other: Reissue Fret Wire
  • Tortoise Side Dots
  • Material: Nylon
  • Width: 1.687
  • Slots: Gibson PLEK System
  • Inlay: Mother-of-Pearl Gibson Logo
  • Truss Rod Cover: Vintage Antique Bell Shaped
  • Angle: 17 Degrees
  • Model: Gotoh Reissue Green Key
  • Tuning Ratio: 12:01
  • Plating: Nickel
  • Type: ABR-1 with Aluminum Base
  • Plating: Nickel
  • Type: Bigsby Vibrato
  • Plating: Nickel
  • Knobs: Gold Top Hat with Dial Pointers
  • Toggle Switch: Washer Cream with Gold Silkscreen
  • Pickup Mounting Rings: Cream
  • Control Plate Cover: Black
  • Strings: .010 - .046
  • Strap Buttons: Aluminum
  • Neck Position: Custom Bucker
  • (Alnico III)
  • Bridge Position: Custom Bucker
  • (Alnico III)
  • Potentiometers: 2 Volume Controls
  • 2 Tone Controls
  • Capacitors: Bumblebee
  • Coil Wiring: Parallel-Machine Wound
  • Toggle Switch: Switchcraft Axial Three-Way with Vintage Toggle Cap
  • Output Jack: Traditional ¼"
  • Sealer: Nitrocellulose Lacquer
  • Cherry Tea Burst
  • Custom Shop Hardshell
Customer Reviews
Questions & Answers View All
You are changing the Ship-To country.

Our product catalog varies by country due to manufacturer restrictions. If you change the Ship-To country, some or all of the items in your cart may not ship to the new destination.