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This is the single best Les Paul I've ever played. She was crafted by the Gibson Custom Shop in 2014 as #125 of a 150 piece run of V.O.S. (Vintage Original Specification) finished replicas of Joe Bonamassa's famous 1959 "Principal Skinner" Les Paul. I absolutely love the way they accurately aged the Lemon Burst stain into what is now called Dirty Lemon, and recreated some of the minor wear of Joe's original without going overboard into a full relic job. The work they did is subtle and the guitar just exudes massive mojo - it has the feel of a well loved and well played instrument. The guitar's best feature however is the neck. It's one of the most perfect necks I've ever played. The action is low and there's absolutely zero buzz at any fret on any string. It's thick but not too much so and is an absolute dream to play.
Let's move on to the sound. Oh the sound! The original batch of guitars came with a Gibson Burstbucker #3 in the neck position and a Custombucker in the bridge position. While they were very good, we've replaced them with Joe's very own Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Limited Edition Signature pickup set and taken this particular guitar to the next level. These pickups were meticulously crafted to exactly replicate Joe's favorite set of 1959 Gibson PAF pickups (on a guitar he named "Magellan") and only 1,959 sets were made! On E-Bay these pickups alone are going for between $650 and $800 for the set, if you can find them! Between the guitar being 1 of 150 V.O.S. instruments made and the pickups being 1 of only 1,959 sets made, this is one exclusive axe. But trust me, its market value will be of little concern to you as once you play it you'll never want to part with it.
Next up is a shorted version of the full length documentary on is "Magellan" Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Signature pickup set. This is the set of pickups currently installed in our Skinnerburst.
Of all of today’s Les Paul-wielding artists Joe Bonamassa is among the most revered, and the astounding 1959 model that he affectionately calls “Principal Skinner” is the most beloved guitar in his extensive collection. Now, following a long-coming collaboration between Joe and Gibson Custom, we are delighted to present “Skinnerburst,” a detail-perfect recreation of what is possibly the hardest working 1959 Les Paul in the world today. Through unrestricted access to the original and Joe’s generous cooperation, Gibson Custom has scanned, studied and measured every spec, curve and parameter of this guitar to bring you an instrument that reproduces this prized ‘burst in every possible way, exactly as it looks, feels, and sounds today.
From its delectably faded Dirty Lemon finish, to its custom-wound humbucking pickups, to its precise top carve and neck profile, the Joe Bonamassa “Skinnerburst” 1959 Les Paul gets you as close as is humanly possible to a priceless artist’s guitar. Historically accurate binding colors, aged cellulose trapezoid inlays, hot-hide glue neck construction, and period-correct hardware all complement a breathtaking rendition of Joe’s constant stage and studio companion. Of 150 guitars hand-aged by unparalleled ageing artist Tom Murphy, 50 will be played and signed by Joe himself; a further 150 will be treated to Gibson Custom’s VOS process, making a Limited Edition of 300 guitars in total.
This guitar has been sold!
For the story behind this fantastic collaboration, we turn to Gibson.com:
A brief interview with Joe regarding the history of his 1959 Les Paul he named "Principal Skinner". He also touches on his second set of Seymour Duncan Custom Shop pickups designed to replicate the pickups in his original "Principle Skinner".
With this guitar, serial #SB 125, we present to you an incredibly rare buying opportunity. Not only is the guitar a limited edition being 1 of only 150 Vintage Original Specification (V.O.S.) finished guitars, but the pickups are also exclusive being set #722 of only 1,959 Joe Bonamassa Signature Sets made by renown pickup master Seymour Duncan.