The Origin of the Burst
In 1958, the men and women of Gibson Guitars had no idea that they were about to give birth to a rock and roll icon. Their flagship solidbody, the Gibson Les Paul Standard, had always worn a “Goldtop” finish, but they were hankering to go for a different look. What about a sunburst finish?
These new-look Les Pauls weren’t an immediate hit when they arrived on the scene; in fact, Gibson sold less than 2,000 of them in three years of production before discontinuing the model in favor of the “Solid Guitar” or SG. By contrast, in 1959 the Les Paul Junior outsold the standard seven to one!
But, during the British blues explosion of the sixties and subsequent rock supernova of the seventies, the ‘bursts ascended to rock and roll Valhalla after numerous iconic guitar players wielded the Standard as they played huge concerts and made legendary records.
Many of these players gravitated towards the 1958 iteration of the Les Paul. Mick Ralphs of Mott the Hoople and Bad Company, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, and Duane Allman all were drawn to the ’58 Les Paul’s chunky neck profile and understated, lightly figured top. So, naturally, we had to pay homage to these legendary guitars. We asked our good friends at the Gibson Custom Shop to whip us up a Wildwood Spec version, and they were kind enough to oblige us. We think you’ll find the results of our collaboration absolutely stunning.
Capturing the Vibe
Whenever we do a run of Wildwood Spec Les Pauls, our primary goal is to capture vintage magic in a brand-new instrument. Together, Gibson and the Wildwood team pulled out all the stops and went deeper down the rabbit-hole of guitar nerdery than ever before. Before we get into the obsessive details (I swear, you’ve never heard anyone geek out about plastics as much as we did when these guitars arrived), let’s talk about some of the design choices that make these ’58s so Wildwood Spec-tacular.
All great guitars start with great woods, so our resident Gibson expert visited the Custom Shop to hand-pick each and every top and fretboard. Historically, the ’58 Les Paul had lighter figuring than the flamed-out ’59s and ’60s. But, that doesn’t mean that we simply picked some plain maple tops and called it good! No, we scoured for the most elegant, understated pieces of maple we could find. As a result, these luscious Lesters are sure to induce uncontrollable drooling every time they come out of the case. Of course, such high-quality woods also produce exceptional resonance and sustain.
Speaking of sustain: our friends at the Custom Shop then used hide glue to attach each piece of wood together. Here at Wildwood, we love hide glue the way Pete Townshend loves windmilling. It’s a protein-based adhesive that promotes the greatest possible energy transfer between two pieces of wood. This results in maximum resonance and sustain, but it isn’t easy. Hide glue is incredibly difficult to work with, and it requires a master’s touch (as well as a tremendous amount of patience and elbow grease). The Custom Shop luthiers were up to the task, though, and their incredible skill made these guitars true sonic heavyweights.
It’s All About the Little Things
In our never-ending quest for total vintage accuracy, we asked the Custom Shop to put aged plastics on our VOS Wildwood Spec ’58s. They obliged, and the resulting hardware looked perfect. It may seem like a small detail, but it really does make you feel like Gibson pulled these guitars from a time capsule.
Phenomenal Fat Fifties Feel
Though I could easily compose a hundred sonnets about the myriad sonic and aesthetic delights these ’58s offer, perhaps their greatest feature is their neck profile. If you like your neck profiles chunky and rounded, it doesn’t get much better than this! This shape gives you maximum leverage for bends all the way up and down on the neck, and its thickness invites your left hand to relax and play smoothly with precision. And the contour seems to fit the palm of your hand perfectly!
We also requested that Gibson use Wildwood Spec pickups in these beasts, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. They have such incredible vintage vibe that you’d think you took a time machine back to London circa 1966 when you plug one in. They have all of the qualities we covet in old-school PAFs: warm, clear low-end, upper-midrange snarl, low-mid growl, and sweet, singing highs. The bridge pickup is as punchy, muscular, and articulate as an undefeated prizefighter with a master’s degree in communication. Flipping over to the neck pickup makes you feel like you dove into a vat of melted artisan milk chocolate. It’s warm, inviting, vocal, creamy, and righteously smooth.
The Legend Lives
We believe that these Wildwood Spec 1958 Les Paul Standards capture the magic of 1958 with exceptional accuracy (not to mention, you won’t have to mortgage your mansion to get one!). We’re proud to showcase them for our exceptional customers, and we know they will inspire any Gibson aficionado to reach new heights on their fretboard adventures.
- Model: Wildwood Spec 1958 Les Paul Standard
- Finish Color: Green Lemon Fade
- Finish Type: VOS
- Weight: 8.93 lbs.
- Top Wood: 2-Piece Plain Maple Attached with Hot Hide Glue
- Body Wood: Non-Relieved Mahogany
- Neck Wood: Solid Mahogany
- Neck Shape: Chunky C Profile
- Neck Dimensions: .910 1st – 1.020 12th
- Fingerboard: Rosewood attached with Hot Hide Glue
- Fingerboard Radius: 12″
- Inlays: Aged Cellulose Nitrate Trapezoid
- Scale Length: 24.75″
- Width at Nut: 1.69″
- Frets: 22 Historic Narrow-Tall
- Binding: Single-Ply Royalite
- Pickups: 2 Wildwood Spec Custombuckers
- Controls: 2 Volume, 2 Tone and 3-way Toggleswitch
- Hardware: Nickel
- Bridge: No-Wire ABR-1
- Tailpiece: Lightweight Aluminum Stopbar
- Tuners: Kluson Single-Ring Single-Line
- Unique Features: True Historic Parts and Plastics
- Case: Historic Brown/Pink Lacquered Gibson Custom Hardshell
- COA: Yes