Created to celebrate the six decades since Gibson rolled out the Les Paul with newfangled humbucking pickups and a sunburst finish, this Anniversary model is an accurate replica of what is probably the most coveted solidbody electric guitar of all time. The Custom 1959–2019 60th Anniversary Les Standard is a classic beauty, with its Royal Teaburst nitro-lacquer finish (one of 10 sunburst options) on a very vintage-looking two-piece maple top (note that the guitar shown is not of the example we tested). The neck is hide-glued to the body for superior transfer of vibration, and it has an extended tenon for enhanced neck-to-body coupling and, hence, sustain. As per original spec, the pickguard is made from laminated acrylic and the trapezoid fretboard inlays are aged nitrate. All the metal parts are treated to give the appearance of being decades old, and the cream binding surrounding the top and fretboard edges is flawlessly rendered.
Inside the control cavity we find 500kΩ CTS pots for the volume and tone controls and old-style “bumble bee” capacitors. The only nod to modernity is a die-cast metal plate behind the pickup switch stamped “1959–2019 60th Anniversary Gibson Custom.” An authentic acrylic cover is included for those who want a totally stock look.
The ’59 medium C-shape neck feels awesome, and the medium jumbo frets are given a satin polish that makes for effortless bending. Possibly a result of being shipped from Nashville to California, the guitar arrived with quite low action, enough to cause some buzzing on the bottom strings, which was easy to fix by raising the bridge a bit and adjusting the truss rod.
A lively acoustic sound is always a plus, and the 60th Anniversary Les Paul Standard is resonant and sustaining, and it sounds satisfyingly in tune along the neck. Played through a Fender reissue Deluxe Reverb with Alessandro hand-wired circuitry, it delivered excellent tones on all pickup settings. The low-wind PAF-style humbuckers have an outstanding balance of clarity, girth and brightness, and there’s a distinct vibrancy to them that’s a benefit of the coils not being submerged in wax. True, this makes them less resistant to pickup squeal when playing close to a speaker at high volume, but the payoff is that this guitar can sound very sparkling and Tele-like if you want it to, while still delivering snarling blues sounds and fat, rich overdriven tones when driving a high-gain amp like the Mesa/Boogie Mark 5:25. The highs stay present when the volume is turned down, and the tone controls are voiced so that you can roll into browner textures without losing note detail.
Gibson has created a stylish replica with the Custom 1959–2019 60th Anniversary Les Paul Standard. The attention to detail in the build and effort put into creating such amazing-sounding PAF-style pickups makes it a great choice for players and collectors seeking to get as close as possible to a real late-’50s Les Paul.
Custom 1959–2019 60th Anniversary Les Paul Standard
PRICE $6,499 street, hardshell case included
NUT WIDTH 1 11/16"
NECK Mahogany ’59 medium C shape
FRETBOARD Bolivian rosewood 24.75" scale
FRETS 22 Historic Medium Jumbo
TUNERS Kluson single line, single ring
BODY Mahogany with carved two-piece figured-maple top
BRIDGE ABR-1, no wire
PICKUPS Gibson CustomBucker unpotted humbucking pickups with Alnico III magnets
CONTROLS Dual volume and tone, 3-way switch
WEIGHT 8.36 lbs
FACTORY STRINGS .010–.046
KUDOS A well-made and great sounding replica of a 1959 Les Paul
CONCERNS Slight amount of filler can be seen around the fretboard inlays