Gibson announces the Duane Allman 1959 Les Paul

Posted Jul 19, 2013 at 12:00pm
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Gibson has announced the Duane Allman 1959 Cherry Sunburst Les Paul in honour of the legendary guitarist.

Although he died tragically young aged 24 in 1971, Duane Allman left an indelible mark on the history of rock thanks to his distinctive guitar work with The Allman Brothers Band, as well as his career as a session musician and remarkable contribution to Layla, which he recorded alongside Eric Clapton with Derek And The Dominos.

The 1959 Cherry Sunburst Les Paul will be limited to 150 hand-aged models and 150 VOS models, and is an highly accurate reproduction of Allman's most recorded guitar. The hand-aged Custom Shop model has an SRP of a whopping $15,527 (approximately £10,10), with the VOS model priced at $10,821 (approximately £7005). Better get saving...

For more information, visit the official Gibson website.

Gibson press release

During his short life and brief career, Duane Allman created a legacy that continues to inspire generations of musicians. His touch, tone, and unbridled musicianship set benchmarks that remain as vital today as they were four decades ago, and his Gibson-fueled sound has been much idolized as a result. The trick is, Duane bought, borrowed, and traded so many guitars in his working life—limited though it was—that it has previously been difficult to know exactly which guitar contributed to which recording.

Now, for the first time, through painstaking and unprecedented research, famed guitarist, Country Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee, and Gibson historian Lee Roy Parnell has woven together the threads of a scattered and enigmatic story to finally conclude that the Cherry Sunburst 1959 Les Paul was Duane’s most recorded guitar, and an undeniable gem amid his bountiful legacy.

Through equally uncompromising attention to detail, from intimate and unlimited study of the original, Gibson Custom brings you the Duane Allman Cherry Sunburst ’59 Les Paul, a precise recreation of Duane’s most recorded guitar, complete with a previously untold history to back it up.

During extensive interviews with Rock and Roll historians, previous owners of the original guitar and friends of Duane and the Allman Brothers Band, Lee Roy unveiled the guitar’s little-known history as a key part of the artist’s short-lived yet influential career. “We believed that this particular guitar was the one that Duane had used most often to record and perform live. However, because Duane’s life and career were so short, much of his fame was coming just as he passed away,” said Lee Roy, following whirlwind tours of Georgia, Ohio, and Tennessee. “There are a lot of pictures of Duane over a short period of time, which made it difficult to determine which guitar he was playing on any given recording.”

In a strictly limited run of no more than 150 hand-aged guitars plus another 150 treated to Gibson Custom’s proprietary VOS finishing process, the Duane Allman Cherry Sunburst 1959 Les Paul captures the precise look, feel and tone of a guitar known to be at the pinnacle of what is already a rare breed. The effort of recreating this legend has been undertaken with the highest standards of materials and craftsmanship, and each of the resulting guitars includes a very special package of commemorative items—among them, a Duane Allman Cherry Sunburst 1959 Les Paul documentary video hosted by Lee Roy Parnell, a custom dust cover, and more—to make ownership a lifelong and memorable event for the few who will have the pleasure of calling the Duane Allman Cherry Sunburst ’59 Les Paul their own. Reserve one today at your authorized Gibson Custom dealer.

Body and Neck

The body of the Duane Allman Cherry Sunburst 1959 Les Paul is crafted in the image of the original, using a single piece of solid, lightweight, hand-selected mahogany, with a two-piece maple top that is hand-selected to match the look of the top on Duane’s original guitar. A one-piece mahogany neck is carved to the precise profile of the original Allman Les Paul, with a depth of 0.880” at the 1st fret and 0.985” at the 12th.

It is topped with a one-piece Indian rosewood fingerboard, which is inlaid with aged cellulose trapezoid position markers for a vintage-correct look. The guitar is finished in hand-sprayed nitrocellulose lacquer to match the beautifully faded Cherry Sunburst finish on the original, with 150 guitars further hand-aged to precisely replicate the playing wear of Duane’s guitar.

Pickups and Electronics

The original PAF humbucking pickups were a major component of any great vintage Les Paul’s tone, and those on Duane’s original Cherry Sunburst Standard are known to be a much-revered set. Gibson Custom has recreated them in the Custom Buckers loaded into the Duane Allman Cherry Sunburst ’59 Les Paul after precise study and measurement of the originals, using genuine Alnico III magnets and vintage-style windings of 42 AWG wire.

Both pickups are loaded with no covers, revealing the double-black coils familiar from Duane’s original guitar. The result brings you all the depth, richness and clarity of the legendary Allman Brothers tone. The pickups are routed through the traditional control complement, with Bumblebee capacitors on the tone pots.


A traditional hardware set completes the look of the Duane Allman Cherry Sunburst 1959 Les Paul, and ensures its authentic tone. The ABR-1 Tune-o-matic bridge with brass saddles and a lightweight aluminum stopbar tailpiece display decades of playing wear through Gibson Custom’s hand-aging (or the light patina of the VOS process on the 150 guitars treated in that way), and a set of Schaller™ double-band tuners represent one of the only notable modifications to the original guitar. Vintage-correct cream reissue binding, gold top-hat knobs, cream pickup rings and switch ring, and a period-correct two-ply “bell” truss-rod cover complete the package.

Case and Extras

The Duane Allman Cherry Sunburst 1959 Les Paul comes protected in a brown Custom Shop case with red fur lining. The 150 hand-aged guitars include a metal engraved Certificate of Authenticity with flight-case-themed holder; a “Peacock” shirt-inspired dust cover for the guitar; a USB drive with video documentary of the guitar hosted by Lee Roy Parnell, in an engraved wooden case; and a glass slide of the style used by Duane Allman. The VOS guitars include the same dust cover and video documentary, along with a standard Certificate of Authenticity in a Custom Shop holder.

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