Vintage Guitar - October 2017 - open - 90

SINGLE-CUT
SAGA FROM
THE END OF
AN ERA

BY WARD MEEKER

Amongst the community of collectors who
dwell in the domain of the sunburst '50s
Gibson Les Paul Standard - a.k.a. the 'Burst
- names have long been assigned as certain
guitars were passed from one collector to the
next. One of them bears a moniker not usually
associated with desirability, but nonetheless
makes it special.
Owned by instrument dealer Bruce Sandler,
one known as the "Last 'Burst" in many ways
embodies the things that make the original
sunburst Les Paul the most valuable massproduced guitar to ever leave a factory spray
booth. In other ways, though, it's an anomaly.
Familiar to the 'Burst community for 30
years, the guitar stands out because its serial
number - 011495 - is from late in the final
year Gibson produced the original single-cut
Les Paul. It also nicely book-ends the 'Burst
featured in the September '16 issue of Vintage
Guitar and believed to be the earliest.
Far more interesting, though, is how the
number intersects with the then-new doublecut "SG style" Les Paul designed by Gibson
in an effort to cure the model's perpetually

lagging sales (see George Gruhn's feature
on page 42 of this issue); though an exact
quantity is not known, there are many SG
Les Pauls with lower serial numbers than
this single-cut, and Gibson's shipping ledgers
showed more than 300 units between it and
the previous single-cut (with serial number
011167).
"She sounds and plays great, of course, but
as Jay Scott and Vic DaPra pointed out in their
book, The Gibson 'Burst, 1958, '59, '60, 'It's
the wood that makes it good,'" said Sandler.
"Or, as my old friend Stan Jay might have
cleverly put it, 'Imagine some of the mostdiseased maple ever to grace the loading dock
of Kalamazoo's finest.'"
Sandler is referring to the guitar's figuredmaple top, a product of several factors that
create a hologram-like appearance when
viewed from changing angles. One of the most
commonly applied terms is "flame" because
(Right) Last 'Burst on the back cover
and inside The Gibson 'Burst 1958, '59,
'60 by Jay Scott and Vic DaPra.

VINTAGE GUITAR

90

October 2017

Photos courtesy of Bruce Sandler.

C

ertain instruments are nearly as famous as the heroes who
play them - we know them as Blackie, Lucille, Greeny,
Number One. And don't forget E.C.'s colorful Crash Strats.
But not all guitars cool enough to get names are played
in front of the teeming masses.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - October 2017 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - October 2017 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - October 2017 - open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - October 2017 - open - 3
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