MINTY! Gibson Les Paul R7 Custom Shop Inspired By Joe Bonamassa Aged ’57 Reissue Gold Top + COA OHSC


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Lovies Guitars is offering up a Minty Gibson Les Paul R7 Custom Shop Inspired By Joe Bonamassa ’57 Reissue in an Awesome Aged Gold Top Finish! Based on a much-modded 1955 Goldtop that came through Joe Bonamassa’s father’s shop when he was just 11 years old, this distressed Les Paul pulls in a classic feature set with a few small but significant tweaks. The Bonamassa Les Paul begins with what Gibson describes as a ‘light’ mahogany body back and a carved maple cap. Weight is a hot issue for LP aficionados because the much-lauded, lightweight Honduras mahogany used on vintage examples simply isn’t available any more. After that, compared with to a ’59 Historic it’s almost identical in terms of top carve, neck pitch and weight. Both body and neck are bound in cream plastic that is lacquered a shade or two darker for added vintage vibe. Finish perfection isn’t an issue because this is a fairly heavily distressed guitar, straight from the factory. The lacquer checking is evocative if a little uniform, while all the dings and scratches are the result of genuine physical abuse from various inanimate objects, lobbed unceremoniously guitar-wards. The gold – some of which is worn away like old ones do – has something of the vintage bronze hue that’s generally considered more desirable than brighter, more yellowy gold, and while the whole thing has roadworn vibe in spades, nobody who’s seen the real deal will mistake it for a genuine ’57. The neck is a single piece of mahogany, carved to a big ’59 profile. That’s fat for ’59 specs with full shoulders to fill your palm. Big necks are an acquired taste; something you warm to when you realise that slim isn’t always the route to comfort, especially over long gigs. The whole of the rear of the guitar is lacquered in black, which Joe says was done on this guitar’s specific forebear to cover up a series of breaks. Up at the headstock – pitched at 17 degrees as it should be – the inlaid Gibson logo is in its early, lower position, accompanied by a ‘Bonamassa’ inscribed truss rod cover, while around the back the man’s name is inked on, along with a serial number: this is number 128. The edges of the headstock are battered as if they’ve been leant against amps, cymbal stands, walls and lord knows what else for years of hard gigging. And so it is for the hardware. Aged nickel throughout, Joe has chosen the vintage correct tune-o-matic bridge, without the saddle-retaining wire (the wire first appeared in 1962), partnered with a lightweight aluminium tailpiece. Interestingly, Joe chose three steel saddles for the bottom strings and nylon saddles – introduced on Gibson electrics in 1961 and discontinued in 1966 – for the top three. He says this smoothes the tone of plain strings. Pickups comprise a pair of Gibson Burstbuckers – a 2 at the neck, and a 3 at the bridge, Gibson’s most powerful BB. Burstbuckers are Gibson’s modern remake of its original PAF – right down to the ‘patent applied for’ sticker on the back – and are made with Alnico II magnets and unpotted coils. Unlike Gibson’s newer designs (including the smoother sounding ’57 Classic) the coils have slightly mismatched windings, which is said to create an edgier sound and also means they’re a little more susceptible to hum. The Burstbucker 2 and 3 combination, coupled with that fat neck, delivers a marginally more strident, mid-rich bark than a Historic ‘59. It’s a subtle difference, but one that stays on the right side of musicality and articulacy. In fact the clean tones have a great deal of sweetness. Pile on the gain, and the Burstbuckers hold on to it for a classic rock punch; less ‘quacky’ than a vintage LP. The mixture of steel and nylon saddles might sound like a bit of a gimmick; moreover, doing anything that may inhibit sustain or reduce clarity might seem like madness on a Les Paul. Not so here as there’s a smoothness to the top strings. The lack of a retaining wire means that the saddles do rattle, but Joe is adamant that the guitar sounds better without it. Whatever, coupled with the ‘right’ neck joint, hardware, pickups, pots and caps, plus well-selected timber, this is a fine Les Paul if vintage-plus tone is your goal. This Rad Axe is in Minty Condition and was Factory Aged! All Original-NO Breaks, Cracks or Repairs, Includes COA and Hard-Shell Case!!

WEIGHS in at: 8.80 lbs

.925″ at the 1st fret

1.027 at the 12th fret

Serial: 078

SKU: 3358

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