The Gibson Collector’s Choice series focuses on producing exacting replicas of some of the most important and beautiful individual Gibson guitars ever produced. Collector’s Choice #4 is “Sandy”, the famed 1959 Les Paul Standard Sunburst owned by noted collector Tom Wittrock. Tom (known by many as TW59 on the Les Paul Forum) has said that “Sandy” is his favorite of all the 1959 Les Pauls he’s ever owned. This guitar has been heralded by many who have been fortunate enough to play her as about as perfect an expression of what makes a ’59 Les Paul the holy grail of guitars. Perfect neck shape, great neck pitch, lovely top, great color. This one’s got it all, and is a perfect candidate for a Collector’s Choice run of replicas. Check out the behind the scenes materials below of how Gibson goes about indexing all the details that Sandy has to offer.
Information below provided by Gibson
Photo #1 is a great shot showing off the top dish contour. This combinaton of the contour of the dish and the figured top are two of the most seductive parts of a Les Paul Model guitar.ln the photo to the right (top) you will notice most of the silkscreen is worn off of the toggleswitch washer, almost a usual characterist of guitars from this era.The bottom photo is a great shot of the narrow binding in the cutaway and the “window” showing the curly maple.
In the photo above and on the left, this is the peghead back on Sandy, notice the smooth rolled transition from the pegehad back to the neck. This roll comes down to about the middle of the 1st fret Sandy had a lot of wear on the back of the neck. IN order to keep from wearing the color even more one of her previous owners sprayed lacquer over the neck to keep the color remaining on the neck from continuing to wear off. Notice the input area, one of the previous owners made a thin brass jackplate and placed it under the original, broken, jackplate so the original would not continue to crack and break.
In photo #1 below you notice the large heel and the full “Arc” shape on Sandy. This is a distinguishing characteristic of a 1959 Les Paul heel shape. In photo #2 you will see the smooth transition from the heel to the neck. At this point, the neck is still very chunky though Photo #3 shows the thickest part of the wrist of the neck, starting just to the left of the fingerboard nut, up until it blends into the neck around the 1st Fret.
Sandy is a pretty amazing example of a 1959 Les Paul. it is in pretty good shape considering it has been passed around a bit. At one point one of its owners, in an effort to keep the finish from coming off of the body, had lacquer shot over the neck. It was sprayed over the wear and everything. It was during this time frame also that the pickup covers were removed from the pickups to expose the zebra coils, with the offset square windows that were a major identifying tooling mark on the original Patent Applied for pickups. One of the other nice things about this guitar is has a wonderful full sound versus some of the other original guitars we have inspected. The current owner, Tom Whitrock, and I were even joking that when this guitar was made it must have been a Wednesday because so many things were right on it. Sandy plays beautifully, the neck is a really comfortable neck with just the right amount of “beef” to it and a fairly low neck pitch so the strings feel almost like butter when playing. One of the more standout features about Sandy is the curly eastern hard maple top, it is absolutely a knockout. The flame on this guitar is not very wide flame, but its crossing in and out on itself make it one of the most intense and busy tops we have copied. Overall this guitar really is the perfect example of a Great 1959 Les Paul Model guitar making the Collectors Choice fizl, of Sandy an honor to reproduce.
The Custom Shop replica version of “Sandy” will be available from The Music Zoo. Supplies are extremely limited, so please get in touch with us if you’d like to own this great Collector’s Choice guitar.