By the time the sunburst finish finally arrived on Gibson’s Les Paul Model in 1958, the guitar had already evolved through several modifications through the course of the decade, including the arrival of the Tune-o-matic bridge in 1956 and humbucking pickups in 1957. As legendary as ’50s Les Pauls have become, Gibson had sold fewer of the guitar every year since 1953, the year following its introduction, when the company shipped 2,245 Les Pauls.
Gibson president Ted McCarty blamed some of the model’s waning popularity on its flashy Goldtop finish, and attempted to bolster its appeal with an elegant and more traditional Cherry Sunburst finish. Since this finish now displayed the grain of the guitar’s carved maple top, Gibson also now used “bookmatched” two-piece tops glued together with a center seam, giving each guitar its very own distinct look and marking the beginning of the guitar world’s fascination with figured maple tops, even though the majority of the tops used in 1958 were considered “plain” when compared to the tops used one year later and beyond.
The 1958 Les Paul Standard Reissue from Gibson’s Custom Shop presents the most accurate recreation yet available of this first incarnation of the hallowed “Burst,” in a guitar that contains all the crucial ingredients, with a less showy maple top that is sometimes considered more authentic looking than those with highly detailed figuring.
Gibson Custom Shop 1958 Les Paul Reissue VOS with Case Features
- One-piece rosewood fingerboards
- Aniline Dye
- Kluson Deluxe machine heads
- Hot Hide Glue Neck Fit
- Custom Buckers
- Historic Truss Rod Assembly (no tubing)
- Accurate body and fingerboard binding color
The 1958 Les Paul Standard Reissue relies on the ingredients that made the Les Paul a classic in the first place, but puts them together in the way that first began to show off what was going on underneath the finish. The Gibson Custom Shop uses a body of solid, non-weight relieved mahogany, which blends depth and richness with the snap and clarity of the maple top. The quarter-sawn mahogany neck still has a chunky, rounded ’50s profile, which, in combination with the traditional long-tenon neck joint, enhances sustain and resonance as well as feeling great in the hand. In addition to these classic ingredients, the 1958 Les Paul Standard Reissue also benefits from Gibson Custom’s 20th Anniversary Specifications, newly adopted for 2013. These include a one-piece rosewood fingerboard, Kluson Deluxe machine heads, hot-hide glue neck fit, a Historic Truss Rod assembly with no tubing, accurate body and fingerboard binding color, new Custom Buckers created in the image of the original PAFs, and period-correct Aniline dye beneath its nitrocellulose lacquer finish.
Gibson Custom’s new Custom Bucker accurately recreates the original PAFs of the late ’50s, using Alnico III magnets and unequal turns of 42 AWG wire in each coil for that characteristic PAF “bite.” These pickups clean up beautifully at the guitar’s volume controls, while Bumble Bee tone caps assist in that warm, singing “woman tone” when you roll back the tone controls. To top it all off, the 1958 Les Paul Standard Reissue plays superbly right out of its Custom Shop hardshell case thanks to a trip through one of Gibson’s state-of-the-art Plek machines before it leaves the Custom Shop floor.