Guitar Aficionado

Southern Rock Legends Convene in Nashville to Roll Out Gibson Custom's Southern Rock Tribute Les Paul

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The Gibson Les Paul Standard sunburst is associated with a wide variety of guitarists, including the British rock triumvirate of Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page; seminal blues-rock guitarists like Mike Bloomfield and Peter Green; classic rockers like Billy Gibbons, Joe Perry and Joe Walsh; and present-day heroes like Slash and Joe Bonamassa.

While southern rockers have also played an influential role in the Les Paul Standard’s history, they haven’t always received the recognition they deserve. Granted, Duane Allman is one of the Burst’s main hallowed heroes, but during the Seventies, southern rock guitarists like Charlie Daniels, the Marshall Tucker Band’s Toy Caldwell, Wet Willie’s Jimmy Hall, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Ed King and Gary Rossington and Blackfoot’s Ricky Medlocke also played sunburst Les Pauls.

Arguably, the Burst was a bigger part of southern rock than it was of any other music genre during that time.

While Gibson has offered numerous signature model Les Paul Standards that replicate specific instruments played by the legendary guitarists who helped establish its notoriety, Gibson Custom’s new Southern Rock Tribute 1959 Les Paul is the first model dedicated to an entire genre of music. This limited-edition guitar is essentially an accurate reproduction of a 1959 Les Paul Standard, but it features a special Reverseburst finish distinguished by the crimson heart-shaped design sprayed on the center of the top underneath the bridge and bridge humbucker.

To celebrate the release of this very special guitar, Gibson invited several southern rock luminaries to the Gibson factory in Nashville on May 19 and 20 to unveil the model to the press and public. Dickey Betts, Daniels, Hall, Medlocke and Rossington showed up to lend their support and participate in an all-star jam session that also featured guest performances by country stars Vince Gill and Lee Roy Parnell and Duane Allman’s daughter, Galadrielle.

During the event, Gibson announced that a portion of each Southern Rock Tribute 1959 Les Paul sold will be donated to the Music Health Alliance. “We are humbled by the wide-spread support we’ve received from some of the southern rock legends,” Gibson CEO and chairman Henry Juskiewicz said at the event. “We’re honored to be giving back to a music genre and its community that has given so much to our brand.”

The Gibson Southern Rock Tribute 1959 Les Paul shipped to dealers in late May. The model has a suggested list price of $9,059, and a special limited run of 50 guitars signed by Daniels, Hall and Rossington are available for $18,824.

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