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Digital Subscriptions > Guitar Magazine > Feb 2016 > Remaking history

Remaking history

Gibson’s Nashville Custom Shop produces some of the most desirable electric guitars on the planet. We venture inside to find out why the company thinks its new True Historic series guitars are the best Les Paul reissues it has ever produced
Gibson Custom True Historic Les Paul bodies glued, stacked up and waiting to become musical instruments
Photography Eleanor Jane

A little over a year ago, Gibson Custom revealed its new True Historic series at the Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, California. With admission prices starting at £4,999 for the Goldtops and ’58 Bursts and rising to eight grand for a ’59 with heavy ageing treatment, we’re in the realms of the serious, insatiable Les Paul addict here, for whom even a recent R9 doesn’t get close enough to a fifties original. To find out whether these really are Gibson’s most faithful Les Paul reissues to date or if everyone at the company has inhaled a few too many nitrocellulose fumes, we head to the Gibson Custom factory on Elm Hill Pike on the east side of the city. First, Gibson Custom’s Historic program manager Edwin Wilson talks us through the manufacturing process, then we take one of the guitars home and put it through its paces…

Wood shop

EW: “When I’m buying maple, there are specific tops that I know that I want on True Historic Les Pauls. They’re absolutely amazing, so I’ll mark them, and when they come in, our designation for the reissue tops is R9, but the special tops will have my initials on the side also. Goldtops are plain most of the time. There might be a little something in it. On some of the aged Goldtops we did this year, they were really curly tops underneath. When Tom [Murphy] aged the guitars, I wanted to see some flame coming through, like on some of the originals.

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About Guitar Magazine

The February issue of Guitar & Bass magazine is available in print and digital forms from Friday 8 January. Join us as we take a trip to Guitar Town, tracing the history of the Nashville music scene and profiling a who’s who of the city’s galaxy of guitar stars. We go guitar shopping in Tennessee's neon-lit state capital and talk to two of the world’s leading fretted instrument experts, George Gruhn and Walter Carter, about the state of the vintage market today and we also stop by at the Gibson Custom Shop to see the company’s True Historic Les Pauls roll off the production line and find out what makes them the company’s best guitars since its golden era. Elsewhere in the mag, our DIY Workshop shows you how to ID a genuine 1950s Stratocaster, we talk guitar with Aerosmith legend Brad Whitford and we review a stack of great new gear from PRS, Dr Z, Orange, TC Electronic, Louis Electric, Fulltone, Hartke, Smorg Pedalboards, Pigtronix and more. If that’s not enough for you, how about the chance to win one of three PRS guitars for a year and become a roving reporter for G&B in the process? Buy the February issue of Guitar & Bass magazine in print and digital forms from Friday 8 January.