Kirk Hammett Purchases Ultra-Rare Black 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard

Kirk Hammett performs onstage with Metallica at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California on December 16, 2022
(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images)

Carter Vintage Guitars recently had an example of the holy grail of vintage electric guitars, the 1959 Les Paul Standard, come through its doors. And this wasn't just any regular '59 Les Paul, either.

This particular '59 sported a Factory Black finish and a Bigsby, to boot.

The shop didn't have the guitar for very long, though, before none other than Metallica's Kirk Hammett – already the owner of "Greeny," the legendary Peter Green- and Gary Moore-owned '59 Les Paul that possesses a unique, "out-of-phase" tone – snapped it up.

"This is one unique, amazing sounding guitar," Hammett said of his latest six-string acquisition in an Instagram post. "Greeny is a little jealous!"

According to Carter, the Les Paul was custom-ordered by a jazz guitar player by the name of Joseph Arena.

Arena reportedly wanted a black guitar to match his tuxedo, but, ironically (given how much this guitar was likely just sold for) he couldn't afford the then-pricier Les Paul Custom.

Ordered through Sam Ash in Hempstead, New York, the gorgeous guitar has – Carter Vintage says – stayed with the buyer's family until now. 

A 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard with a unique Factory Black finish

(Image credit: Carter's Vintage Guitars)

Interestingly, this black '59 Les Paul has a very similar story to a black Gibson Les Paul Standard that has pride of place in Joe Bonamassa's collection.

Just like Arena, the original buyer of Bonamassa's "Black Burst" wanted the Les Paul Custom for its black finish, but couldn't afford it, and instead asked for a black Standard. 

As Bonamassa's tech, Mike Hickey, points out in his demo of the vintage beauty above, the "Black Burst" – though it's treated with care – does get taken out on the road by Bonamassa and played onstage. 

Hammett, in turn, loves to use "Greeny" at Metallica shows, once telling Total Guitar, “This guitar needs to be out there. It’s a gift to the music world and I should just keep giving that gift.” 

With that in mind, we'll be eager to see if the black '59 Les Paul Standard makes any onstage appearances during Metallica's upcoming world tour. 

For tickets and more info on the thrash titans' upcoming shows, visit

Jackson Maxwell
Associate Editor, and

Jackson is an Associate Editor at and He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.