Pure Vintage Magic
No one would bat an eye if you called the 1959 Les Paul the most legendary vintage guitar of all time. It’s certainly rare enough for one to stake such a claim, since less than 650 were ever made (roughly eight percent of Gibson’s total production that year!). More importantly, they were some of the best-sounding electric guitars ever to grace this ball of dirt and water we call home.
Though they weren’t big sellers at the time (so much so that the model was discontinued briefly in favor of the SG in 1961), 1959 Les Pauls quickly achieved holy grail status among players in the know. Guitarists like Peter Green, Jimmy Page, Ed King, and Paul Kossoff all fell in love with the 1959 Les Paul Standard’s just-right medium C neck profile and its muscular, rich tone. Since so many important players adored their ’59s, its signature tone formed the sonic backbone of dozens of canonical rock records.
As a result, the 1959 Les Paul has achieved lofty status in guitar culture (rightfully so!), and its value reflects it. Beat-up examples can sell for six figures, and guitars owned by legends can go for ten times that. Yep, that’s right: Peter Green’s ’59 sold for a cool million to Kirk Hammett of Metallica.
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. For these guitars, Gibson 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 ’59s 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. 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.
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 Neck of Your Dreams
While I could probably write an entire book about how glorious these ’59s sound, it’s also worth noting that they play like a dream, too. If you’re a fan of the medium-chunky rounded ’59 neck profile, you will be blown away by these guitars. Gibson took great pains to ensure these guitars felt authentic, and as a result, their ’59s have the same sort of spectacular playability that drew players like Jimmy Page to them in the first place.
Obsessive Attention to Detail
In our never-ending quest for total vintage accuracy, we asked the Custom Shop to put aged plastics on our VOS Wildwood Spec ’59s. 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.
The Legend Lives
We believe that these Wildwood Spec Les Paul Standards capture the magic of 1959 with exceptional accuracy (not to mention, you won’t have to mortgage a 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 1959 Les Paul Standard
- Finish Color: Kindred Burst
- Finish Type: VOS
- Weight: 8.61 lbs.
- Top Wood: Hand-Selected Maple
- Body Wood: Mahogany with No Weight Relief
- Neck Wood: Mahogany
- Neck Shape: Authentic ’59 Medium C-Shape
- Neck Dimensions: .900 1st – 1.020 12th
- Fingerboard: Indian Rosewood with Hide Glue Fit
- Fingerboard Radius: 12″
- Inlays: Celluloid Trapezoids
- Scale Length: 24.75″
- Width at Nut: 1.695″
- Frets: 22
- Pickups: Wildwood Spec Custombuckers
- Controls: CTS 500K Audio Taper Potentiometers, Paper-in-Oil Capacitors
- Hardware: Nickel
- Bridge: No-Wire ABR-1
- Plastics: Aged Vintage-Style
- Tailpiece: Lightweight Aluminum Stop Bar
- Tuners: Kluson Single Line, Single Ring
- Case: Brown/Pink Lifton Reissue 5-Latch
- Special Features: Aged Plastics
- COA: Yes