Number 61 of 95, Eric Clapton 1960 Les Paul “Beano”, Tom Murphy Aged!
The tonewoods used to construct a great Les Paul Standard have always been at the core of this legendary electric guitar’s voice, and the Eric Clapton 1960 Les Paul is no different. Gibson Custom selects from its lightest stocks of mahogany to craft each guitar’s solid, one-piece back, and marries it to a two-piece top of lightly figured maple, seeking wood that accurately reflects Clapton’s memory and existing photos of the grain patterns of Clapton’s original 1960 Les Paul as seen through an aged nitrocellulose Antiquity Burst finish.
Often considered a match made in tone heaven, mahogany lends lots of depth, warmth and dimension to the instrument, while maple contributes outstanding crispness and clarity, helping notes “pop” right out of the guitar. A one-piece neck made from quarter-sawn mahogany is glued in with the long-tenon joint of the period, for outstanding resonance and sustain. It is carved to a Clapton-approved thinner profile that reflects the evolution of the Les Paul neck of 1960 after the chunkier necks of the ’50s. The neck is pitched at the historically correct 4 degrees, with a 17-degree headstock pitch for superior sustain and excellent string pressure through the slots of the authentic Nylon 6/6 nut, cut on the PLEK for supreme accuracy.
Hardware includes accurate nickel-plated ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge and lightweight aluminum stopbar tailpiece, along with the nickel Grover kidney button tuners that Clapton added to his original 1960 Les Paul, a common “upgrade” of the day. All of these carefully wrought details are just “specs”, however, without the right pair of pickups to translate your tone. Gibson’s PAF (“Patent Applied For”) humbuckers of the late ’50s and early ’60s are the most hallowed and highly sought after pickups of all time, and Gibson Custom has pulled out all the stops to recreate them on the Eric Clapton 1960 Les Paul. The pickups in these Limited Edition guitars—dubbed Custom Buckers—have been created with direct reference to Clapton’s own recollection of the correct tone and coil winds (output strengths), as determined by him through the testing of several prototypes during the build process. They include slightly mismatched coils wound with accurate turns of 42 AWG enamel-coated wire, just like original PAFs from the era, and are made with genuine Alnico III magnets for an outstanding blend of smoothness and clarity. Finally, the pickups are routed through quality CTS potentiometers with reproduction “bumble bee” tone capacitors.
Fire it up through a cranked vintage amp, and the Eric Clapton 1960 Les Paul gives you all the warm bite and chewy dynamics of those “Beano” album performances, in a way that no guitar has managed for 45 years. From the VOS examples (350 guitars), to the immaculately hand-aged versions (150 guitars, 55 of which have been signed by Eric Clapton, who will keep the first 5) which painstakingly recreate the look of the original instrument, these guitars are the legend incarnate, and the closest means of attaining the look, feel and tone of Eric Clapton’s loved—and lost—Les Paul.
This rare Eric Clapton 1960 Les Paul includes a Custom Shop hardshell case with Clapton’s signature silk-screened on the exterior, an engraved leather Certificate of Authenticity and a vintage replica guitar strap.