Gibson’s Custom Shop recently announced a limited-edition release of the Rick Nielsen 1959
Les Paul Standard --a precise replica of the instrument you’ve been playing for 25 years. What can you tell us about it?
I saw a prototype for the first time a couple of months ago. It was amazing. They went through
everything--got all the dimensions, replicated everything about it. My ’59 Les Paul has a really nice tiger-stripe--curly maple on the top, real tight. They replicated that, along with all the wear marks and the fading. The only thing missing is the
Have you played it?
Oh, yeah. It plays terrific, and sustains like mad. Even before I plugged in, I could tell it sounded great. Les Pauls from ’58, ’59, and ’60 all sound a little different. I don’t
know the technical things the Custom Shop did, but they obviously took into account the weight of the wood, the kind of wiring that was used, and the strength of the pickups. They really did their homework.
You also requested a replica of the
original ’59 case.
That’s right. I wanted it to come with a replica of the Lifton case that was included with the ‘58s, ‘59s, and ‘60s. So now there are 50 relic’d cases. They were done exactly the way I
wanted. I have to say, the Custom Shop did a fantastic job.
According to Gibson Custom, the Rick Nielsen 1959 Les Paul Standard, original Serial #9 0655, is based on Nielsen’s original, Serial #9 0655.
“Rick and the original
have been together for over 35 years, since the charismatic guitarist of mega-band Cheap Trick added the guitar to his vast collection,” Gibson notes. “Unlike most of Rick’s collection however, his original ’59 has become a constant
stage and studio companion. Rick even travels with it today, much to the dismay of his touring crew who are quick to point out that the majority of the band’s insurance rider costs on tour are used to cover Rick’s rather valuable original ’59.”
Gibson Custom worked closely with Nielsen to create the replica. The Rick Nielsen 1959 Les Paul Standard is being offered in a run of 50 Aged & Signed (and our first Artist Replica to include an aged Reissue case), 100 Aged, and 150 Vintage Gloss. All
versions of the guitar are rendered to True Historic specifications and are hand-crafted based on digital scans of Rick’s original so that the neck shape and dish carve are precisely replicated.