The Gibson Custom Shop’s Collectors Choice guitars are limited edition replicas of some of the most beautiful and important guitars that Gibson has ever made. The latest in the series is Collectors Choice #6: Mike Slubowski’s 1959 Sunburst Les Paul Standard, Serial # 9 1918. This nearly factory perfect Les Paul has been described by the owner as his “Number One” and his “Desert Island” guitar, because it is one of the best examples of a late ’50s Sunburst Les Paul to be found on the planet. Gibson Custom Shop has obtained #9 1918 and has scrutinized every aspect of the guitar in order to make the most perfect replica possible. Read below for more pictures of the original as well as comments from Gibson as to why this guitar stands out. Only 120 of these guitars will be built for North America, and we will offer it at The Music Zoo, so if you want to add this to your collection, let us know!
Gibson Custom is proud to announce the sales launch of Collector’s Choice #6, original serial #9 1918, aka “Number One”.
“I call it my “Number One” or “Desert Island” guitar because it’s by far the best guitar I’ve ever owned, held or heard.” Those are the words Mike Slubowski used to describe his prized ‘59 Burst, serial #9 1918, and the latest original to be replicated through Gibson Custom’s Collector’s Choice series. As the name implies, each Collector’s Choice is a specific example of one of the few original 1959 Les Paul’s still in existence and accessible through the generosity of their current owners. “Number One”, according to the Gibson Custom team who analyzed the guitar’s exact specifications in a series of hands-on sessions, is a pristine example of a guitar whose sixty plus years have been lived out in gentle quiet. It still retains much of the deep cherry red in its finish. In fact, the only evidence that it was exposed to light at some point is a dark, sales tag-shaped portion of the finish. The particular finish of #9 1918 is rare, with only a handful made during the brief period in which Gibson originally produced the 1959 Les Paul model. The current condition of the original guitar is exceptionally clean, with consistent radiuses on its edges and clean cavities where the original tool marks are clearly untouched. Based on digital analysis of #9 1918, Collector’s Choice #6 (aka “Number One”), reflects a nearly ideal set of specifications with a neck that has just enough “cheek”, a subtle flatness to the dish carve and a very slight difference in the neck and bridge pickup output. With just enough figure to give the guitar its character without upstaging its remarkably clean finish, this is one very special instrument. Collector’s Choice #6 is being made available in a maximum run of 300 examples, with the availability of qualifying materials ultimately determining the final number.
One of the things that makes this guitar such a great guitar is how amazingly clean it is. From a manufacturing perspective this guitar is perfect! The radius on the edges are consistent. The tooling marks on the inside cavities are clean and in the correct places, and the color is just beautiful! It has maintained so much of its original burst color as well as the back color and that alone is pretty amazing. One of the things that often gets overlooked is the overall guitar. So much of the time the overall look gets sacrificed to how curly the top is. But with this guitar it really has everything that makes a Les Paul such a classy guitar. The top has just enough figure I pattern to give it some character and this works so nice with the rest of the package. The reissue of this guitar will be a great guitar to work on because this original guitar is such a great example of the typical Les Paul from 1959; a real beauty.
All of these photos show how unique the top of this guitar is. This guitar clearly shows the slipped matched top. It looks like 2 totally different pieces of wood, and to further make this point even at slightly different angles the wood looks even that much more different!
The guitar is an amazingly clean one! Notice how clean and new looking the control cavity is. All original just like a new guitar! The fact that this guitar has such minimal wear on it is incredible. Notice how the edge of the heel is slightly broken. Not sharp or too round, a very consistent prolile of the edge. The other thing to notice is how large the heel is. The bottom photo continues to show the nice radius around the body. Just like the heel it is very clean and consistent. This is one of the subtle things on a guitar that really make a huge dilference in the overall appearance.
In photo #1 you notice a small ‘dip’ just under the Low and Hi E strings on the peghead back. How this is reflecting the light it appears whoever sanded this guitar did not use a sanding block. In photo #2 you see how the maple window in the cutaway has taken on the aniline dye color making the window quite cherry also. And on the bottom photo youcan notice how the fret ends are just broken at the perfect angle and you also see the gap between the end of the ﬁngerboard and the neck pickup surround.