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Guitar of the Day

The year 1958 was simply huge for Gibson. The Explorer, Flying V, and ES-335 models made their debut, as did the first non-Goldtop Les Paul, which is what this limited-run guitar commemorates. Like so many guitar models that were clearly ahead of their time, the Les Paul was no runaway success. There was a quick succession of advances in the design – the addition of a Tune-o-matic bridge in 1955, humbucking pickups in 1957, and a Cherry Sunburst finish applied to a carved maple top in 1958 – then in the blink of an eye, just two years and less than 2,000 units later, it was discontinued. Capable of producing broad, expressive tones with ringing sustain and unprecedented playability, it nevertheless caught the guitar world largely unprepared. That is, until a new generation of British and American blues-rockers partnered it with powerful new amplifiers, cranked the knobs to 10, and roared with a voice previously unheard of in rock and roll. The Les Paul Standard had already been in production for eight years (1952-1960), but by the mid-’60s, it became the guitar of choice for high-profile players that included Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Peter Green, Mike Bloomfield, and Carlos Santana.

The 50th Anniversary Les Paul Standard is loaded with all the classic hardware and electronics you’d expect to find on a fine vintage instrument. The classic carved, lightly figured maple top (which is historically accurate, by the way) has a Washed Cherry Sunburst finish over a solid mahogany back with cream single-ply binding. To give it the authentic appearance of a vintage instrument that’s seen a half-century of careful, loving use, this Les Paul is “Murphy Aged.” The 1-piece mahogany neck with long neck tenon is also vintage-correct, as is the ’50s-style rounded neck profile. For that unmistakable Les Paul crunch, a pair of Burstbuckers provide the perfect balance of highs and lows with a complex midrange, plus CTS pots and bumble-bee capacitors for even more authenticity. Vintage tulip tuners reside on the holly veneer headstock, with trapezoid inlays over a solid rosewood fingerboard, and the ABR-1 bridge with stop tailpiece. If you want to own a true piece of rock history, but don’t have half a million bucks for a real ’58 (if you could even find one), in looks and tone, this 50th Anniversary Limited Edition should definitely float your boat!

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