played a burst, saw the light (pics inside)

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by smitty.west, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. smitty.west

    smitty.west Senior Member

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    last week i had the very rare privelage of getting to play a real 1959 les paul; a "burst".

    i was in vegas for the week and decided to stop by cowtown guitars, a longtime favourite shop of mine. hadn't been there in a few years since before they moved locations so didn't know what to expect. i got to the shop which has the coolest vibe of any guitar shop i've been to and tried some awesome vintage axes (pre-cbs strats, jazzmasters, old gretsches, etc.). i then noticed what i thought was a really tastefully done r9 relic in a display case on the wall, but it turned out to be much more than a murphy relic or something of the like; it was a real deal 1959 les paul!

    this is where the comedy of life came into play...

    jesse at cowtown recognized me from my instagram and knew i was a photographer so a casual walk into a shop became much more. he needed some photos taken of the guitar so i told him i'd be back later that afternoon with my gear (which i happened to have) in order to shoot it.

    when i got back i snapped some photos with what gear i had (unfortunately no lighting gear so just used available/natural light) and more importantly, got to plug in for a good while...

    WOW

    first off, this particular les paul has got to be the most beautiful example i've ever seen in my entire life. the burst is absolutely perfect. it's faded to a beautiful dirty lemonburst which i'm absolutely in love with. further, the flame and grain are flawless; exactly what i picture when i think of my dream burst.

    then i picked it up and plugged it in...

    let me preface this next bit by admitting that my ears might not be as tenured as some of the burst experts on here, but i'll give it a shot...

    holy.crap.

    this thing just sounded huge going into a blackface vibrolux. the natural compression was just perfect. the body resonated like crazy. the paf's screamed, but never too much. extremely well balanced.

    the sound's one thing, but it was the feel that really blew me away. i've never played a guitar that felt so incredibly complete; i can't think of any better word to describe it than that. it felt extremely thorough. i don't know if that's the marriage of materials bonding as the years went by or just the old wood or what, but i've never felt something like it. the neck was the most amazing bit of wood i've held in my hands; a perfect true '59 shape. nice and chunky- just how i like 'em.

    i'm so grateful to have spent some time with this beauty. is it the best guitar i've ever played? most definitely- and i'm a life-long fender guy.

    i just landed from a whirlwind month of travelling around the states so this post might be lacking, but just wanted to share my experience with you guys.

    here are a couple of pics (more to come soon):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. katuna

    katuna Silver Supporting Member

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    YOWZA! Great pics.
     
  3. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    That is insanely beautiful. subtle but even flame, some awesome mineral streaks, great light... wow...
     
  4. SPROING!

    SPROING! Member

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    That's in great shape. How much?
     
  5. smitty.west

    smitty.west Senior Member

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    IIRC, was around $475k.
    Cleanest one I've seen.
     
  6. SPROING!

    SPROING! Member

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    Nice guitar. It's worth my house two and a half times over lol.
    I played a 52 once. Nice guitar but that bridge just sucked.
     
  7. guitarlifestyle

    guitarlifestyle I like guitars. Silver Supporting Member

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    Wow. That one really is beautiful, but isn't that about twice what they've been going for over the past few years?
     
  8. smitty.west

    smitty.west Senior Member

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    The price is perfectly in line with the Bursts I've been seeing pop up for sale (including the million dollar one for sale in the UK), especially given its condition.
     
  9. Nickstrtcstr

    Nickstrtcstr Lactose Intolerant Guitar Slinger

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    Wow! Great story and gorgeous guitar.
     
  10. BadAssBill

    BadAssBill southofnash.com Silver Supporting Member

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    Great story...and an amazing guitar!
     
  11. Soothsayer

    Soothsayer (Paul) Supporting Member

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  12. Dubious

    Dubious Member

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    Possibly the best ad ive ever seen in the emporium... Oh wait:rotflmao
     
  13. Sean French

    Sean French Supporting Member

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  14. sfarnell

    sfarnell Gold Supporting Member

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    Wow, that's enough to make me want to visit Las Vegas.
     
  15. newb3fan

    newb3fan Member

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    Wow. What an experience that must have been!
    Great looking guitar.
     
  16. smitty.west

    smitty.west Senior Member

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    glad you guys like the pics and story! wonder if i'll ever be able to play another burst again someday. what was funny to me was how casually they handled it at the shop while i was having a heart attack switching softly from the bridge to neck.

    it's also humorous to see how something so highly coveted by one clique has absolutely no worth to others. our holy grail- the burst- is just another guitar to everybody else, most guitarists included.
     
  17. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Member

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    That's a great story.

    What a beautiful guitar. It's in such great condition. I'd never thought it was original if only seen the pics and wasn't informed it was original. WOW!!
     
  18. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    Beautiful pictures of an amazingly beautiful guitar!
    I totally understand how you were amazed by the '59 LP.
    I lived very close to the Guitar Trader in Red Bank, NJ, and was in there all the time. I got to play well over 100 original bursts, plus GT's, customs, lesser student LP's, and 3X5's, all vintage 50's and early '60's models.

    After awhile, judging each of them made them seem more realistic, as not all bursts, and other vintage Gibsons, Fenders, et.al. are equal.

    The one that made the biggest impression on me and became the standard by which I have since judged all of my electric guitars was a '59 plain top that had faded to a green/yellow burst. No broken solder joints, and in otherwise clean condition. However, the weight, feel, tone, both unplugged and plugged in, was from a different world entirely. This guitar had it all. It sounded and felt so amazing, that I didn't notice the truly ugly color it had faded too, or the fact that the top was so generic looking.

    If I had the money, I would have bought it, despite all the really amazing flame top '59's the store had in stock.
     
  19. 696

    696 Member

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    This thing looks like new!
     
  20. indyrunner03

    indyrunner03 Member

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    Very cool! I'm extremely jealous that you got to play it! It looks ridiculously clean and I'm not surprised that you initially thought it was a reliced R9...I'd have thought the same.
     

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