When London Declared Clapton "God," This Was His Guitar
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.
Each 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, a vintage replica guitar strap, and full owner's and adjustment literature, along with Gibson's Limited Lifetime warranty and 247/365 Customer Support.
Aged and signed examples also include an engraved wood plaque with the May 7, 1966 Beano comic cover, while aged examples include a poster of the Beano cover. All 150 aged guitars come with a limited 180mg vinyl LP of John Mayall Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton, while VOS guitars include John Mayall Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton on CD.
Body and Finish
Made from the classic tonewood combination of carved maple top and one-piece mahogany back, and dressed in a faded nitrocellulose Antiquity Burst finish atop a lightly figured maple cap, the Eric Clapton 1960 Les Paul embodies the Les Paul owned and played by Eric Clapton in 1966. Of this limited run, 150 examples will be Murphy-aged (55 of which Clapton will hand-sign and keep the first 5), and a further 350 will be given Gibson Custom's VOS treatment.
Neck, Fingerboard and Headstock
The solid one-piece mahogany neck is carved to a thinner Clapton-approved profile and is capped with a rosewood fingerboard with acrylic pearloid trapezoid inlays and 22 medium-jumbo frets. Its headstock is back-angled to the traditional 17 degrees, and the entire appendage is glued into the guitar's body with a deep-set long neck tenon, a joint known to aid strength and resonance.
Pickups and Electronics
A pair of custom-made humbucking pickups accurately replicate the tone and performance of the original PAF pickups in Eric Clapton's 1960 Les Paul, with the unparalleled blend of warmth, richness and bite that has made these pickups famous. They are routed through high-quality CTS potentiometers for volume and tone, with "bumble bee" tone capacitors, and a Switchcraft three-way toggle switch.
Just like the original Burst on which it is based, the Eric Clapton 1960 Les Paul carries a classic hardware set that includes a nickel-plated ABR-1 Tune-o-matic bridge and lightweight aluminum stopbar tailpiece, along with the efficient nickel-plated Grover tuners that were added to Clapton's own guitar to replace the original Klusons, a popular "upgrade" of the day.
|Back||1-Piece Solid Mahogany|
|Profile||Thin Clapton Profile|
|Joint Angle||4° (+/- 15 seconds)|
|Joint||Mortise & Tenon|
|Joint Angle Tolerance||+/- .005"|
|Frets||22 Medium Jumbo|
|Binding||Period-correct .04” Cream Binding|
|Inlays||Aged Acrylic Trapezoids|
|Other||Tortoise Side Dot Markers|
|Slots||Gibson PLEK System|
|Logo||Mother-of-Pearl Gibson Logo|
|Truss Rod Cover||Gibson Bell Shaped™ Molded|
|Model||Grover Kidney Button Tuners|
|Material||Zinc Surrounded by a Die Casting Alloy|
|Type||Lightweight Aluminum Stop Bar|
|Knobs||Gold Top-Hat Knobs (w/no inserts), Metal Pointer Rings|
|Toggle Switch Washer||Historically accurate thin cream with gold screenprint|
|Strings||.010 - .046, Vintage Strings|
|Strap Buttons||Aluminum Strap Buttons|
|Neck Position||Custom Bucker|
|Bridge Position||Custom Bucker|
|Magnet Material||Alnico III|
|Potentiometers||2 Volume Controls, 2 Tone Controls|
|Type||500k audio-taper .022mF “Bumble Bee” Tone Capacitors|
|Coil Wiring||Parallel-Machine Wound|
|Toggle Switch||Three-Way Switchcraft with Cream Toggle Cap|
|Output Jack||1/4" Switchcraft|
|Type||Custom Shop Hardshell|
|Case Exterior||Black Pleather-with Clapton’s signature silkscreened in gold|
|Case Interior||Maroon Crushed Velvet|
|Certificate of Authenticity||Eric Clapton Certificate of Authenticity|
22” x 17” May 7, 1966 Beano comic cover poster, Certificate of Authenticity, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton CD, and a vintage replica guitar strap.