Gibson Custom went to extreme lengths in designing and building the Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Reissue electric guitar. The combination of expert craftsmanship, high quality tonewoods, and remarkable pickups used by Gibson in 1959 made that year of the Les Paul arguably the best vintage guitar ever produced. Gibson Custom thoroughly studied several excellent 1959 Les Paul specimens and looked at original Gibson documents used in that year to replicate that iconic guitar as closely as possible.
The 1959 Les Paul Reissue features Gibson Custombucker pickups which replicate better than any other pickup the look, tone and feel of late 50’s Gibson humbuckers. Everything from the correct neck and body binding, Kluson tuners, aniline dye and period correct truss rod is brought together to produce an instrument that looks, feels and sounds as good as the original.
The fretboard of the original 1950s Les Paul has a very distinct cream binding and binding thickness that were displaced over the years, eventually drifting to a slightly thicker material and darker color. To recapture the original look and feel across the entirety of the neck, Gibson has worked to recreate a proprietary binding formulated to their original specifications. While the change seems subtle, there is a noticeable difference in both the aesthetic of the guitar and the feel of the fingerboard.
Updates to the 1959 Les Paul Reissue Gloss 2013 guitar includes the accurate reproduction of vintage Kluson machine heads as were used on the original 1950s Les Pauls. With proper profiles, performance specifications and quality of materials, these recreations mark significant attention to detail. The original Kluson ‘Deluxe’ machine heads are coveted for their smooth performance, vintage aesthetic and rugged reliability.
Because of the manual nature of their application and their tendency to create fine, airborne dust in a woodworking environment, aniline dyes were abandoned for pigmented dyes, which result in a cloudier grain presentation but were not prone to substantial color fade over time and exposure to light. Today, Gibson Custom has invested in its manufacturing environment and training to facilitate the use of superior aniline dye finishes. The result is the same extravagant presentation of the natural grain of fine wood.
For decades, Gibson Custom has been studying the performance specifications of the original Gibson Humbuckers, consulting with vintage specialists, testing original examples and pouring through the limited amount of historical data from the company’s own manufacturing history of processes and materials that shifted over time.
Among the details to capture the original tone of the legendary Les Paul is the proper length alnico 3 magnets as well as its exact materials composition. Gibson also studied the minutia to recapture nearly fanatical detail including the original wire material, thickness and covering. All the way down to the shape of the pickup covers that had drifted over time as tooling became older and worn, The Custombucker represents a patient, untiring dedication to bringing vintage Les Paul tone to the Historic series of the Gibson Les Paul.
In 2013, Gibson Custom is ushering back the use of hide glue in its crafting of Historic Series instruments. This truly ancient process requires more time to be taken in the crafting of each guitar as well as more curing time to allow proper drying and adhesion. The result is a better join of hardwoods that prepares each guitar for a lifetime of use, care and recuperation from damage. The 2013 Gibson Custom Historic series now feature authentic hide glue at the neck joint, applied by hand by the world’s finest craftspeople.
In 2013, Gibson Custom returns to the original specifications of the 1950s era Les Paul by removing the truss rod tubing and re-engineering the truss rod, truss rod washer and anchor to its original form. While it’s not a detail you’ll see easily, our goal is to capture the original Les Paul down to incredible detail as much as is possible. It also helps us return to that ‘Original Recipe’ that resulted in the world’s finest guitars.