Superb, very early (#006) Tom Murphy Gibson CS Gary Rossington LP Guitar looking for a sweet home.....
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From the Gibson Custom Art and Historic Division, the 2002 Gibson Custom Shop Gary Rossington Les Paul Standard.
Announced on July 18th 2002, this guitar is the result of a collaboration between Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Gibson to faithfully reproduce “Bernice’ his much travelled 1959 Gibson Les Paul. The run was limited to 250 worldwide, all painstakingly reliced by Tom Murphy over the course of two years, to match the wear of the original and represented Gibson’s first signature model and is considered by many to be the forerunner of the Collectors Choice range.
Essentially this is a Gibson R8 (as can be noted by the stamp in the control cavity) so the body specifications are along the lines of a 1958 Les Paul. This means we get a chunkier neck profile than the R9. Its believed this was due to Gibson phasing out the flamed top R8s and needing to use remaining stocks. As a result, half the Gary Rossington models have a figured top (like this one) and the other half have a plain top.
This particular guitar is serial number GR 006 and as you can see from the pictures, has a nicely figured top which is in keeping with the original that had a distinctive ribbon flame. The top is finished in a faded cherry that was unique to this range at the time.
The work carried out to relic the guitar is very impressive and it certainly has the feel of an older guitar. The single piece of mahogany used for the neck has a subtle flame in it that adds considerably to the look. Again, the finish has been reliced and the feel is very comfortable. During Bernice’s time on the road, the guitar suffered a headstock break and Gary repaired it using some screws. Whilst the relicing did not extend to breaking and reattaching the headstock, the screws have been added to the face for authencity. This particular guitar has Gold plated Schaller tuners as per the original. The Gold hardware has been aged, as you’d expect, as have the plastics
Electronically we have a pair of 57 classic pickups married to some CTS pots. A previous owner has swapped the stock ceramic disk capacitors for a par of reproduction bumble bee capacitors but that is about as far as any mods go on this guitar.
The guitar comes with a whole host of goodies. There is a display case, case candy including a COA signed by the man himself, three ticket stubs for Lynyrd Skynyrd concerts in 2002 and 2004, one of which is a VIP pass ticket for the concert on 30th August 2002 that Gary signed the COA, plus the hang tag for the original owner. Theres a CD signed by the band and a Gibson Custom Art and Historic shirt. The guitar also comes with a Lifton repro, Gibson Hardshell case.
Sonically this guitar ticks quite a few boxes. The guitar might be leaning towards the weightier side of the spectrum but it certainly has all the sonic hallmarks of a great Les Paul. The neck pickup is smooth and clear and the bridge has plenty of bite without ever sounding harsh or brittle. Mixed together there is plenty of clarity and none of the midrange heaviness you would expect.
Considered by many to be one of the best signature models to come out of the Custom Shop and a must for any Skynyrd fans, this guitar certainly lives up to its gold star billing. If you’re looking for that illusive ‘burst tone, this is surely the place.
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