As far as signature guitars go this one’s an unlikely, albeit no less important, candidate for Gibson’s exalted Murphy Lab. Guitar heroes and antiheroes alike, when it comes to ageing it seems nobody, or their guitar, is safe.
And this includes Mike Ness of Social Distortion – the multifarious Californian punk rock band that has, against the odds, survived a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows since its formation in the late ‘70s.
Because Ness – a much-lauded producer, songwriter, vocalist and guitarist – has just been honored for his valuable contribution to music and guitar culture with the Gibson Mike Ness 1976 Les Paul Deluxe.
So the first thing you’re probably thinking is, where’s the mini humbuckers? True: Les Paul Deluxes were fitted with mini hums as standard when they appeared in the late ‘60s. But as the body routing also accommodates P-90 single coils modding the Deluxe to ‘50s Goldtop-style specs is relatively easy and, evidently, that’s what Ness prefers.
The second thing you’re probably thinking is, how much is it? Well, at $8,999 you may not want to brave it on stage at your local dive bar lest some ‘authentic relicing’ instantly devalues your rare work of art.
Make no mistake, similar Custom Shop signature Les Pauls regarded as instantly collectible rocketed in value following their release and are now highly sought after electric guitars.
There’s a real market for these official replicas and owning a Gibson Mike Ness 1976 Les Paul Deluxe is as close as most will get to the real thing. For many, it’s like owning a piece of rock ‘n’ roll history.
Head on over to Gibson for more information.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.