Listen to Mike Bloomfield’s Powerful ‘Burst-Fueled Electric Blues from the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival

Mike Bloomfield playing 'Burst
(Image credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Mike Bloomfield is known to have possessed benchmark tone. And while a great deal of that sound was down to his inimitable touch, Bloomfield’s go-to electric guitar was a Gibson Les Paul Standard.

Along with other hard rocking blues guitar heroes such Gary Moore, Paul Kossoff and Jimmy Page, Bloomfield has long been synonymous with the ‘Burst, though Gibson’s iconic single-cutaway solidbody is not the first Les Paul he owned.

Having pored over Gibson catalogs for years he was first introduced to the joys of a Les Paul when his guitar teacher gave him a top-of-the-range “fretless wonder” Les Paul Custom model.

Mike Bloomfield playing 'Burst

(Image credit: Wilson Lindsay/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

In the mid-‘60s, while on tour with the Butterfield Blues Band, Bloomfield became aware of British guitarists such as Keith Richards, Peter Green and Eric Clapton playing the ‘mid-priced’ Standard model which was prized for its sustain, volume and tone.

Along with these famed British guitarists, Bloomfield did much to popularize the Les Paul Standard and help create a demand that has shown little sign of slowing down since the '60s. Indeed, the sunburst Les Paul is by far Gibson’s most successful electric guitar design.

Following its discontinuation in 1960 when it was superseded by the thin-bodied, double-cutaway SG-style, the single-cutaway Les Paul format was eventually reintroduced in 1968, thanks to players like Bloomfield who used it to devastating effect – as show in this classic live clip.

Performing at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 with The Electric Flag, Bloomfield pulls a dynamite solo out of the bag that perfectly encapsulates what the 'Burst is capable of doing in the right hands.

Browse the Mike Bloomfield catalog here (opens in new tab).

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 GuitaristTotal Guitar, Guitar World (opens in new tab)Guitar Player (opens in new tab) and MusicRadar (opens in new tab) in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.