• Hugh Hardy

Gibson Nails It with the ‘Collector’s Choice’ Les Pauls

It’s taken a while to sink in, but I must say that the Gibson company seems to be really pulling things together to challenge the companies like Historic Makeovers – a talented bunch who can pull apart your Historic LP and put it all together, age it, and come up with a much better guitar! What I’m talking about is the “Collectors Choice” series. These guitars are not cheap! But the level of accuracy and realistic aging has really started to come together. We’re at CC#8 right now (“The Beast”), and it’s dead cool! In 2012, Gibson went briefly to the much maligned 2 piece “lam” rosewood fingerboards… what was that all about….??? But now that we’re into 2013, we’re back to 1 piece boards – more than that actually – hide glue neck joints, truss rods with out the rubber sheath that is thought to deaden tone, really great Alnico lll pickups, and a few other changes – well, the game just got taken up a notch. I should note that new R9s also have those changes.



I just bought back a CC#3 “The Babe”, that I had owned briefly, and although it’s a 2012 and therefore probably has a 2 piece board (I don’t care!), it sure plays and sounds as good as virtually any LP I’ve played. The Custom Alll Buckers sound just tremendous. The aging on this is cheesy – looks like someone just dulled the finish with steel wool – you can see the swirls. But it’s a tremendous instrument… and I’ve owned lots of Les Pauls from every era!



Here’s Pete Faragher’s lovely picture of my CC#3 – AKA: “The Babe”


A couple of my pals have the “Sandy” – also from the CC series, and they are also wonderful instruments! I am currently lusting after the recent CC#7… aka: “Shanks”… and the aging on it is anything but cheesy… Gibson really has the aging down now. It looks pretty real and doesn’t have the “razor blade look” of some of Gibson’s earlier work. The Shanks also has those delightful, articulate, detailed, lively & balanced sounding “Custom Buckers” – just like the Babe and most of the others in the series (for some reason, CC#8 “The Beast” has Burstbuckers 2 and 3) – so I’d bet the “Shanks” would sound great! Gibson also implies that they are sourcing old growth woods. I don’t know exactly what they are doing, but it’s ALL good, methinks! Better materials, more accurate design, spot on aging, super high quality – what’s not to like? Historically, we all love to hate the big G – and there are many good reasons – like their aggressive and un-justified lawsuit against PRS and their Single Cut guitar – it didn’t do the guitar community any good at all – and it showed us Gibson’s greed and disrespect – when it’s all about “the LOVE” for us guitar geeks! But all that aside, it looks like Gibson has raised the bar!!! And that’s good for US ALL! Now we just have to figure out how we can afford one!!!

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