As if Collector's Choice doesn't already represent some of the most rare guitars ever crafted, "The Babe" as its been affectionately known by her four owners since 1959, is not only an amazing instument, but a bit of mystery.
As if Collector's Choice doesn't already represent some of the most rare guitars ever crafted, "The Babe" as its been affectionately known by her four owners since 1959, is not only an amazing instument, but a bit of mystery. In late 1959, when the transition was being made to 1960 models, some of the specifications carried through this transition. Most of those were fairly easy to track: the 1960 model Les Paul was slated to feature more of an orange burst, wehre the 1950 had sported a more red burst; the transition from the fatter profile neck of the 1959 to the slimmer profile neck of the later 1960 was yet another important change. the fatter profile neck of the 1959 spanned into early 1960, resulting in both variations shipping over a short period that spanned into 1960. Serial numbers were a fairly clear indicator of the model year of a Gibson guitar. While the leading number of a 1950 would be a "9", the leading number a a 1960 would have been a "0". In the case of "the Babe", the leading number wasn't stamped clearly enough to indicate either. However, based on the guitar's order date of Hune 1959 and delivery date of August 1959, as well as the low trailing numbers (-0137), Gibson Custom and its owners have verified this as a "1960" model year guitar. This marks one of the earliest 1960 bursts to be discovered, making Collector's Choice #3 the recreation of a very rare instrument.
Four owners, three anonymous, one not so much... and a great story. "The Babe's" original owner ordered her in June of 1959 and took delivery of her that same year. He and the subsequent three owners all have contributed to the recreation of the guitar in its current state, which is a pristine example of a 1960 model Les Paul "burst". One of the few to ship with a Bigsby, referred to at the modern time, Joe Bonamassa. The previous three owners have chosen to remain anonymous, but all have shared her stories with us. This creates one of the cleanest documentations of such a rare guitar's history as well as a very high level of confidence that we have recreated her to amazing levels of detail. We know, for example, that the original over used proceeds from a strong season's grain haul to purchase the guitar, subsequently leading to an inability to buy an engagement ring.
The pots of the original date their manufacture to the 38th week of 1958, the neck is within the specifications of a 1950 and the Cherry Tea Burst could have belonged to either a 1959 or 1960 model. Her original owner recalls that, when he ordered the guitar, he was asked whether he preferred the burst to be "more red" or "more orange". he chose the former. The Bigsby/ "Floating Bridge" is one of the few that we've seen and verified as original, factory-installed equipment on a Les Paul of the era.
Gibson Custom has reproduced "The Babe" with the original guitar in house, where she was digitally scanned so that every gorgeous curve, angle and profile could be captured for consistency. Aniline sye, "Custom Buckers" and period accurate details in every department all came together around the original guitar's individuality to give a few players and collectors the opportunity to own as near to an exact recreation of "The Babe" as possible.
Cherry Tea Burst finish captures the guitar's incredibly perserved finish and patina. The original Aniline dye has maintained a majority of its red, a rarity among vintage Les Pauls.
Digitally scanned and accurate neck profile.
Vintage accurate neck binding and body binding plastics.
Body: 1-Piece, Lightweight, Genuine Mahogany
Top: Hand Selected, Eastern Maple
Neck: 1 Piece Genuine Mahogany with CC#3 Profile
Fingerboard: Rosewood, 22 frets with Reissue Fret Wire, Tortoise side dots
Inlay: Aged Acrylic Trapezoids
Finish: Cherry Tea burst, Dark Reissue Red Aniline Dye Back and Sides
Tuner: Vintage Single-Band Green Keys
Tailpiece & Bridge: ABR-1 with aluminium base and Bigsby Tailpiece
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