While Les Paul remains deeply influential as a guitar player, perhaps his greatest legacy will be his contribution to the evolution of electric guitars. By 1951, Les Paul was a respected guitar player, and he was known as a bit of an innovator, too. He had experimented with the solid body electric guitar concept for years, so Gibson president Ted McCarty approached him that year to discuss a collaboration. The result was the Gibson Les Paul Model, which remains one of the most influential and forward-thinking electric designs ever conceived.
This Custom, Art & Historic '58 Les Paul was the predecessor of the modern-day Custom Shop 1958 Reissue (R8). It is a meticulous recreation of the "Revision F" spec from October of '58. It features traditional construction with a Maple top and Mahogany back and sides. Every detail is painstakingly accurate: Holly peghead veneer (real wood instead of fiber imitation), proper tuning machine placement (straight line instead of curved like modern-day examples), accurate chunky neck profile, aged Trapezoid inlays, "P.A.F."-labeled humbuckers, Bumblebee capacitors, CTS pots, and even thin binding, thinner switchwashers, and thinner jack plates.
This 2002 Custom Art & Historic '58 Les Paul combines three interesting features: 1) It's an early example of what is now known as "VOS" treatment, and its butterscotch/amber finish is made to look like a heritage cherry sunburst that has aged and faded over time. 2) It has a AAAAA-grade Maple top. Most of the '58s and R8s have a plain maple top, but this figuring is out of sight! 3) It is particularly lightweight at 8 lbs 7.2 oz.
As a player and in sound, this Custom Art & Historic '58 Les Paul is a fantastic example. Its frets are clean, and it shows minimal play wear (beyond the obvious aging treatment). When you plug it in, clarity, sustain, and power are blended with warmth and nuance. Like any good Les Paul, it is deeply expressive and responsive to your picking attack. It can be smooth and subtle or raw and ripping. It does everything you could want and so much more!
This 2002 Gibson Custom Art & Historic '58 Les Paul is in excellent condition all around. It shows some slight wear around the edge of the peghead from a hanger stand, and there are some minor bumps and scuffs in various spots (see photos). The previous owner changed the strap buttons to Schaller Strap Locks. It includes its original brown case and Certificate of Authenticity.