The year 1959 stands out in guitar making history as a very special year. It seemed all the major guitar manufacturers( Gibson, Fender, Gretsch, Martin, Magnatone, and many others) provided musicians with an impressive selection of new solid-body electric guitars and added additional options on existing models. With this being the 60th Anniversary of Gibson’s release of the 1959 Les Paul Standard, let us compare the reissue to the original instrument.
The original Gibson Les Paul Standards produced during the years from 1958 to 1960 have reached a mythical status in the minds of many guitarists because of the sound, appearance of the instrument’s flamed maple tops, and the musicians associated with this model. Because of the guitar’s construction, featuring a headstock pitch of 14 degrees, a long neck tenon that extended into the body of the instrument, and a thinner guitar neck profile with higher fret profile( started in early 1959), many guitarists discovered these instruments to be the perfect vehicle for their musical needs. When one considers a large amount of music produced by the leading musicians of the ’60s and throughout the ’70s using a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, it is staggering, to say the least.
While there are many wonderful examples of recordings from this time period where a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard was used to produce unforgettable guitar tones, I wish to direct your attention to the live recordings of the Ohio based power trio of “The James Gang” featuring Joe Walsh (guitars, keyboards, vocals) Dale Peters (bass,vocals) Jim Fox (drums,vocals) live album ” James Gang Live in Concert” released in 1971. This was recorded in venerable Carnegie Hall (before rock concerts were banned at this venue) which has some of the best acoustics in the world. A listen to this release, it gives you an excellent sense of what a powerful and expressive rock’n’roll instrument this is in the more than capable hands of Mr. Walsh.
So how do the Gibson 60th Anniversary 1959 Les Paul Standards stack up to the originals? With Gibson’s attention to details like the guitar’s finish, headstock pitch angle and the extended neck tenon, the company went all out on this series of guitars. And in my opinion, these are some of the most authentic reproductions that Gibson has ever released of this model. And I formed this opinion having been lucky enough to have played ( about 35) and sold several ( 7 in total) Gibson Les Paul Standards made from 1958 to 1960. From the maple tops to Gibson’s exacting details with the reconstruction of the PAF( patent applied for) pickups used in the original models for these reissues, the company really captured the essence of their original instruments. Historically, these types of reissues from Gibson have really done a good job of retaining and even appreciate in value over time. Now, will these instruments be worth what the original Gibson made 1958 to 1960 Les Paul Standards are currently selling for in the marketplace? When one considers that an all original Gibson made Les Paul Standard from these years can cost in the high 6 figure range, only time will tell. But if your fan of the guitar playing of Jimmy Page, Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa and many, many others, this instrument could inspire your best musical expression using by playing it. And as a musician, that is the best you can ask any instrument, that it inspires you to play in complete command and control of your musical ideas. And the Gibson 60th Anniversary Les Paul Standard is a beautiful guitar that can help you achieve that lofty goal.
Sales Manager, Wild West Guitars