Gibson Releases 2 New Guitar Collections: The Original and the Modern

Back in January, Gibson returned to the annual NAMM convention with new CEO JC Curleigh and a bunch of vintage-styled, historically-spec'd guitars. An SG with a '61-style Vibrola, a goldtop Les Paul with P90s, and more on display seemed to bring the rejuvenated Gibson even closer to its roots.

These guitars were different from the previously announced "back to basics" lineup of 2019 models, so there were some questions about what to expect from these more vintage-inspired specimens. Were they going to be widely available or Custom Shop–only axes? And what would become of the more contemporary models in Gibson's lineup?

Today, the company answered such questions with two new collections—the Original Collection and the Modern Collection.

The Original Collection
The Les Paul Standard '50s

The Original Collection will appeal to those fervent Gibson fans who have been asking for the company's classic designs, without extra bells and whistles.

The new Les Paul Standard '50s and Les Paul Standard '60s are just under $2,500 USD. The Les Paul Standard '50s is available as a goldtop, or in Heritage Cherry Sunburst or Tobacco Burst. It comes with the classic mahogany body, maple top, '50s-style neck, rosewood fretboard, and two Burstbucker pickups. It's also available as the Les Paul Standard '50s P90.

The Les Paul Standard '60s has a AA figured maple top, a slim taper neck, Grover tuners, and the Burstbucker 61R and 61T pickups. Finish options are Iced Tea, Bourbon Burst, or Unburst.

Other models included in the Original Collection include a Firebird and Flying V, Les Paul Special and Junior, SG Special and Junior, and Thunderbird and SG Standard Basses.

Meanwhile, the new SG Standard '61 Maestro Vibrola and SG Standard '61 Sideways Vibrola are available for just under $2,000. Each comes in Gibson's Vintage Cherry finish, with slim taper necks and Burstbucker 61R and 61T pickups.

SG Standard '61 Maestro Vibrola

The models that most closely approximate the Bursts, Les Paul Customs, and SGs of yesteryear, however, are quite costly, made in Gibson's Custom Shop, and have already been available for some time.

In the case of the 60th Anniversary 1959 Les Paul Standard—Gibson says it's not just inspired by the '59 Bursts but is an outright clone. Available in 10 different finishes, it will still cost you $6,499, which, of course, is a lot of money, but if looking at it through the lens of astronomical vintage Burst prices, it's at least a relative bargain.

The Modern Collection
Les Paul Modern in Faded Pelham Blue

The Modern Collection, meanwhile, puts a premium on faster performance features and higher-output pickups.

The new Les Paul Modern ($2,799) has an ebony fretboard and a compound radius, as well as a contoured heel where the neck meets the body. Such additions give the guitar "lower and cleaner action" and "effortless access to the highest frets," according to Gibson. It's available in Graphite, Sparkling Burgundy, or Faded Pelham Blue finishes, and has "ultra-modern" weight relief, like the Les Paul Studios of recent years.

The guitar's Burstbucker Pro and Burstbucker Pro+ pickups can be split into single-coil P90 sounds.

The SG Modern ($1,999) has a AA maple top whose grain lines can be seen through either the Trans Black Fade or bright Blueberry Fade finishes. "The genuine ebony, 24 fret compound radius fingerboard and asymmetrical, slim taper neck allow fast and silky access to the highest frets," according to Gibson.

A pair of Burstbuckers, like those of the Les Paul Modern, can be split into P90 tones as well.

The Les Paul Special Tribute DC in Worn Ebony

In addition to being the home of these new guitars, the Modern Collection also appears to be a kind of catch-all category for guitars that have been in Gibson's lineup for years, like the Les Paul Studio, Les Paul Tribute, SG Standard, and SG Tribute.

The Les Paul Special Tribute DC ($999) and Les Paul Junior Tribute DC Bass ($999) do offer some new thrills. The double-cut Special Tribute now has a 3-way toggle switch for more tonal variety, as well as a few new finishes. The Junior Tribute DC Bass is a short-scale take on Gibson's EB-0 of the late 1950s, with a single BassBucker pickup that can be coil-tapped in order to scoop the mids.

While many of the new Original and Modern models are already showing up on Reverb, keep an eye out for more listings hitting the site soon.

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