Gear of the Month 2012
March: 1968 Gibson Les Paul Custom Reissue Black Beauty Fretless Wonder
“It was a dark and stormy Christmas Eve when a stranger showed up at my front door with this old guitar case,” recalls Drew Jacques, a guitar hobbyist and newly minted guitar tech. “He just wanted a simple string change and a fresh setup. The first thing I thought about the guitar was who was the idiot that filed down and rounded the frets [laughs] … at this point—being a bit of a rookie—I had no idea about the Fretless Wonder or its peculiarly low frets.” But that soon changed as Jacques dove deep into the history of this particular Gibson Les Paul Custom Reissue. “After cleaning it up a bit and doing a little homework on the instrument, I soon realized it was much more than an ordinary vintage Les Paul.” Through his research, Jacques used the serial number on the back of the headstock, which didn’t have the “Made in the U.S.A.” imprint—and the fact that it had no neck volute—to narrow down the guitar’s origin to the late ’60s. The “U.S.A.” stamp and volute were changes introduced in 1970 models. Other anomalies on this guitar were its one-piece mahogany body capped with a multi-bound maple top and a one-piece mahogany neck.