Posted 4 years ago
This truly unique and beautiful guitar was originally commissioned by the Gibson Custom Shop in early 2002, not only as a way to introduce a completely different type of Les Paul (The "Les Paul Acoustic") but also to highlight the quality of workmanship The Custom Shop was capable of producing. This very guitar was the centerpiece at the Gibson booth of the 2002 NAMM show.
This was the "Showcase" Guitar for that gathering. 2002 was the 50th Anniversary of the "Les Paul" and working from conversations and many consultations between Les, and Mike McGuire (Senior Luthier and also head of the Custom Shop), the common complaint about the weight of the "standard Les Paul" was to be addressed. This guitar was the result.
The one piece mahogany body was hollowed out and chambered for acoustic tone (there are no sound holes in the guitar) and the carved, figured maple cap was fitted with an L.R. Baggs piezo pickup under the bridge. The Volume and Tone control thumbwheels are nestled in a polished, nickel plated receptacle on the top (low E) bout of the guitar. The 1/4" output jack is located on the bottom of the lower rear bout. A 9V battery powers the piezo pickup and lives in a pop-up box inside the back cavity.
The 2001 Gibson Custom Shop Catalog features "The Acoustic" on the cover. Inside, photos show that the guitar "is available in two finishes. Translucent Black and Tangerine burst". Also available was a wide ranging list of options: Your choice of a Rosewood or Ebony fretboard. "Ivorina" Binding (body, neck, and headstock) could also be purchased separately at extra cost. Then at even more cost was the option to purchase the guitar with an "Ultima" neck. These necks were one piece, and hand carved (not machine formed) by one master luthier who oversaw production of the guitar from start to finish. And, finally for the very few, a "Tree of Life" inlay, consisting of hundreds of pieces of mother of pearl and abalone.
The plain jane "Acoustic" with "dot" markers, listed for $5900. Binding the entire guitar added another $900.00, the "Ultima " neck was a $1200.00 option, and the ebony fretboard would raise your total cost by still another $650.00, and finally, the "Tree of Life "inlay (all done by hand, no less) and averaging almost 50 hours of labor, would set you back almost $2 grand!
At that NAMM show, both Rick Nielsen ("Cheap Trick" lead guitarist, world renowned guitar collector) AND Aerosmith's Joe Perry were on hand, to be first in line to purchase one of these guitars.
This one is also the ONLY "Natural" finish Acoustic ever made. My guess is that Gibson really wanted to show off that AAAAA grade Maple Flame beauty.
This guitar was purchased right from the Gibson booth on the last day of the NAMM show, and has been hidden in Hawaii for the last 10 years. It's too beautiful to be hidden any longer.
I own a 30 year old Ovation "Glenn Campbell Edition" with a cedar top, and this Gibson has sustain even longer than the Ovation's, and that's saying alot.
Here's a link to the only review I was able to find concerning these amazing guitars, and it's from 2003....
So... a true acoustic or plug in electric....it's your choice.
Sounds like a choir of angels, and is the greatest conversation starter you'll ever imagine. So???? have YOU ever seen one like this?