Gibson 1961 Les Paul Tribute

Gibson introduces 1961 Les Paul Tribute, a guitar based on the first iteration of the SG.

Gibson 1961 Les Paul Tribute

This guitar captures the vibe of the 1961 Les Paul/SG while injecting modern design features for improved playability.

If you are confused as to why an SG guitar is called a Les Paul, here is the quick background story: When the SG was first released in 1961, it was actually a more affordable Les Paul model.

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A number of this double cutaway Les Paul were produced that year, but Les did not like the design and requested for his name to be removed. Gibson acknowledged the request and renamed the instrument to SG, which stands for Solid Guitar, and this name was used starting 1962.

Ironically Les Paul's disapproval did not stop the SG from becoming popular, finding its way to guitarists like Eric Clapton and Angus Young. Long story short, the rejected design that is the SG went on to become a staple in Rock music with more big name artists joining the fray.

Now Gibson is honoring this "reject" once more with the 1961 Les Paul Tribute. This reproduction features period-correct specs starting with its "double cutaway" mahogany body and beveled body edge.

The neck also closely follows the original specifications, made from quarter-sawn mahogany, carved into a slim but rounded profile that measures 0.800" at the 1st fret and 0.895" at the 12th fret. It is glued into the body using Gibson's mortise-and-tenon neck joint and is topped by a rosewood fretboard. It has 22 jumbo frets and is wrapped by a vintage cream binding. Acrylic trapezoid inlay serves as fretboard markers while the mother of pearl headstock logo and holly inlay round out the guitar's aesthetics.

The 1961 Les Paul Tribute is equipped with two '57 Classic humbuckers. These are made with Alnico II magnets and wound with 42-AWG enamel-coated wire. The coils are wax potted to reduce microphonic squeal and make it ready for modern high volume playing. Gibson describes the tone to be throaty, they add: "this pair gives you warm yet articulate voices from the neck position, crunchy yet singing bridge tones, and sweet round sounds in between".

Gibson admits that the original SG's Sideways Vibrato were problematic, and so they have re-engineered the tail piece for a smoother and more accurate return to pitch action, while still retaining the look of the original. Other hardware include the typical Tune-o-matic bridge, vintage-style tuners with pearloid buttons, black top hat with silver insert knobs and an early '60s style 5-ply black pickguard.

The MSRP for the 1961 Les Paul Tribute is $2,765 and it is currently available in Cherry finish. You can visit Gibson for more information.

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