This is a super rare prototype of the Limited Edition Gibson Gary Rossington Les Paul 1959 Reissue Tom Murphy Aged R9, with matching certificate.
In 2002 the Gibson Custom Shop released the Gary Rossington Signature Les Paul, a replica of his beloved original burst nicknamed “Bernice”. This special run of guitars was limited to 250 Worldwide.
These guitars have become highly sought after, earning a reputation of being some of the best playing Les Pauls ever produced. The Gary Rossington Signature Les Paul was the first ‘signature’ aged Les Paul Gibson offered and was influential in the development of the current and highly sought after ‘Collectors Choice’ Les Paul reissues.
This run was a joint undertaking between the original Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington, Gibsons’ Custom, Art & Historic division and the legendary guitar painter and ageing expert Tom Murphy, who painstakingly cloned every minute detail of Gary’s original ’59 Burst, making for a stunningly authentic reissue.
Below is the original press release by Gibson on the Rossington Les Paul, released Thursday 18th July 2002 –
Gibson Custom debuts LE Gary Rossington Les Paul
Gary Rossington, original guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Gibsons Custom, Art & Historic division are teaming up to produce the Limited Edition Gary Rossington Les Paul. The signature guitar celebrates Rossington’s pioneering spirit and the enduring musical legacy of his hard-driving, Southern Rock sound.
The finish on the Rossington Les Paul is aged and well-worn to replicate Rossington’s instrument, which he acquired from a woman whose boyfriend had abandoned her, leaving behind only his guitar. At one point Rossington broke the headstock and used a pair of small screws to repair it. While the new model replicates the screws, it does not replicate the break.
Other features of the Rossington Les Paul include a figured maple top with one-piece mahogany back and Rossington sunburst finish, nickel-plated 57 Classic pickups, aged nickel hardware, a 59 Les Paul neck, rosewood fingerboard with trapezoid inlays and cream pickguard.
The limited edition model only 250 will be produced comes with a Les Paul reissue case and Certificate of Authenticity.
Interestingly, Gary Rossington’s real Les Paul, Bernice, was a 1959. Gibson’s press release says it is an R9 neck. But, the picture from Gibson has a filename with R8 in it, R8 is written inside the body, and the neck profile is generally thicker than a R9 profile, more inline with an R8 profile.
Only 250 of these guitars were produced. It took Tom Murphy over 2 years to finish the run. He had to hand age each guitar, and painstakingly reproduce every scratch, ding, dent, finish checking, and overall wear from Gary’s original 1959 burst Les Paul. Additionally, the changes Gary made to his guitar are also reproduced, including non standard gold hardware, Schaller tuners, and even the screws used to fix a headstock break (minus an actual headstock break of course). The fingerboard edges and binding have been subtly rolled, giving the impression of a guitar that has been actively played and toured for 40+ years.
It is a widely held opinion that the Rossington is the best Les Paul guitar Gibson has produced since 1959.
- Aged Murphy Rossington Sunburst Finish
- Nitrocellulose Lacquer
- 2-Piece Figured Maple Top
- 1-Piece Mahogany Back
- 1-Piece Mahogany Neck
- ’59 Les Paul Neck Shape
- Rosewood Fingerboard
- 12″ Fingerboard Radius
- Cellulose Trapezoid Fingerboard Inlays
- 24 3/4″ Scale Length
- 1 11/16″ Nut Width
- 22 Frets
- Hollyhead Veneer
- Single Ply Binding on Body and Neck
- ’57 Classic Pickups
- 2 Volume 2 Tone Knobs with 3-way Toggle
- Aged Nickel Hardware
- ABR-1 Bridge
- Lightweight Aluminum Tail Piece
- Vintage Gibson Tuners
- Cream Pickguard
- Weight 9.4 lbs
And this one is especially interesting as it was Prototype number 3, one of possibly up to 8 prototypes that were sent to Gary Rossington for approval before commencing production. There is no doubt Mr Rossington has personally inspected & played this particular one at some point. It also makes this one totally unique in that it differs very slightly from the production run of 250, as is the nature of prototypes.
Another favourable chapter of this one’s back story is that it was originally sold by the legendary Yamano Music company, one of Japan’s most respected high end Gibson resellers. They have been in business since 1892 and only source and sell particularly unique and excellent instruments. The tags are in the case.
These factors, and Tom Murphy’s distinctive touch, which is different for every guitar he produces, adds to its desirability and value, which will likely increase in years to come.
Comes in its Lifton style brown tolex Gibson case in new condition, with original Gibson Certificate of Authenticity.