See all 12 unique instruments featured as Gear of the Month in 2012.

March: 1968 Gibson Les Paul Custom Reissue Black Beauty Fretless Wonder
"The 1969 Custom models switched to a three-piece mahogany body with a maple cap and a three-piece mahogany neck. The rest of the features on this seminal reissue are a direct nod to the 1957 Customяexcept the reissue had gold Grovers while the original у57 had Deluxe Kluson tuners, the headstock pitch is 14 degrees instead of 17, and it has amp-style volume and tone knobs. According to 1968 Gibson shipping ledgers from Kalamazoo, this model was one of the first у68 Les Paul Customs made available to the public following their introduction at the June 1968 NAMM Show in Chicago. Gibson only built 433 of these particular instruments. The Black Beauty and Fretless Wonder were nicknames given to this instrument because of its rich, contrasting body color and low, nearly undetectable frets. Its original price tag was $325яa whopping $100 more than the Les Paul. "

Can a bona fide funk guru help design a better Klone?

Wide range of gain. Very useful EQ.

Doesn’t do the Klon clean boost as well as original.

$349

Jackson Audio The Optimist
jackson.audio

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Jackson Audio’s pedal collaboration with modern funk hero Cory Wong could have taken a few different paths. Considering Wong’s style, a compressor would have been an obvious choice. Instead, the Optimist is a dual overdrive that builds on a Klon-inspired baseline, adds a second overdrive, and has a clever EQ to create a super-flexible overdrive. Named after Wong’s second album, The Optimist suits Wong’s exuberant and fun-loving personality. But it also describes the way you might approach a gig with this pedal in hand. Together, the two separate overdrives and active EQ give you enough tones to cover almost any gig this side of Slayer cover band.

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See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

Submit your own artist pick collections to rebecca@premierguitar.com for inclusion in a future gallery.

How does a legacy artist stay on top of his game? The pianist, hit singer-songwriter, producer, and composer talks about the importance of musical growth and positive affirmation; his love for angular melodicism; playing jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, jam, and soundtrack music; and collaborating with his favorite guitarists, including Pat Metheny and Jerry Garcia.

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