Here is a vintage 1983 Gibson 1959 Les Paul Standard Reissue electric guitar. Crafted by the Gibson Custom Shop during their formative years, and labeled with the early “Custom Shop Edition” decal, this incredibly rare (early and authentic) reissue features a highly figured 2-piece book-matched flame maple Cherry Sunburst top, an amazing custom-ordered “Hearts and Flowers” inlay pattern (like that on a Gibson Les Paul Artisan originally found on the Mastertone banjo), and many vintage spec. appointments. Concurrently produced alongside the amazing ’82 Flying V replicas, this similarly features fantastic Tim Shaw P.A.F. humbucking pickups. For Gibson collectors, players looking for great investments, and enthusiasts of the unique and rare alike, this is a very special and potentially valuable piece of Gibson history. Early production ’59 Les Paul Reissues are quite rare, and similar style Heritage ’80s and Leo’s models have become quite valuable.
Serial Number: A 0016
Pickup Resistance: 7.61Ω (bridge), 7.52Ω (neck)
Weight: 8 lbs. 15 oz.
Potentiometer Codes: 1378029, 137825x
Pickup Date Stamps: 137 183, 138 183
Though the pot codes suggest an earlier production, the Tim Shaw P.A.F. pickups are dated January of 1983. Several key characteristics separate this gorgeous guitar from a Heritage ’80. Firstly, the quality of the top has a specific figuring unlike the more quilted patterns found on Heritage ‘Bursts. Also, the coloration is completely unique: Heritage Bursts tend to have a larger amount of dark to the sunburst with a coloration most akin to Tobacco Sunburst. This VCS (Vintage Custom Shop,as denoted within the neck pickup cavity) features a stunning vintage-influenced Cherry Sunburst finish, over a very vintage accurate figured maple top. Interestingly, this guitar sports vintage-style Kluson tuning machines, unlike the inaccurate Grovers outfitted on the Heritage series. Though cracked and re-glued, the original input jack plate is a vintage spec plastic part, while the Heritage has a metal one. Lastly, Gibson produced many Heritage 80 Les Pauls, yet I can’t seem to find another example remotely similar to this one.
Sandwiched between experimental and vintage-inspired models, such as the 30th Anniversary GoldTop and the Gibson SpotLight Special, it’s not too surprising that Gibson would make something as interesting as this Les Paul Reissue. However, based upon the serial number, it can be inferred that very few were made at most, and it’s possible that this is the only one.
While it has been very well-maintained, and there isn’t too much evidence of direct playing wear aside from a small area of superficial buckle wear on the back, the guitar is old enough to have natural age-induced mojo, including yellowed binding, shrinkage checking on the binding, minimal fading, and patina on the nickel hardware. Aside from the aforementioned cracks in the original input jack plate (easily replaced by any L.P. Std. this era), this guitar is in perfect structural condition with no repairs, no modifications, and no issues.
The guitar plays great, and features a slim 1960-style neck profile. The Shaw PAF pickups sound ridiculously great, and it’s obvious why many feel they rival their original Seth Lover-designed predecessors. I recently set it up with Pyramid .010-.046 strings, and it now plays like butter.