If you’re a regular on Guitar World, or any other guitar-obsessed haunt, you’ll know that when it comes to the vintage market, no other production line model demands the kind of money associated with the 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard.
When one of the roughly 1,400 so ’Bursts produced between 1958 and 1960 (so-called for their stunning sunburst finishes) hits the market, it is news in itself.
Even more so when you narrow that to the most sought-after ’59 productions, which are thought to have been limited to just 643 guitars.
Now a 1959 ’Burst dubbed ‘Miss Swiss’ is going up for sale via specialist dealer, Carter Vintage, with an asking price of $450,000.
The instrument is described by the retailer as being “definitely one of the cleanest examples we've seen come through our showroom” and the images show it is in remarkably good condition for its 60+ years.
There’s no information shared on quite how the electric guitar came to be dubbed Miss Swiss in the first place. However, we do know that it carries the serial # 9 1256 and has a weight of 8.8lbs, which would put it a shade under the average 9lbs of its ’Burst siblings.
Carter Vintage notes that the guitar has had a refret with ’58-style frets and at some point the PAF humbuckers have been uncovered “likely in the '80s since it was a popular mod then” and there’s been a jack plate swap. Otherwise, the venerable Les Paul is reportedly all-original.
“The sound is pure ’Burst,” says the dealer. “The neck pickup sounding thicker than normal with a slightly higher wind than the bridge pickup. This makes the bridge pickup cut that much clearer, and the two are a perfect combination.”
Sadly, Carter has not provided a demo, but then this is probably not the sort of guitar you buy off the strength of a YouTube clip.
That said, it’s quite rare for this sort of instrument to be offered for open sale, as they’re often traded between a small circle of (very serious) collectors.
However, as Gibson’s Mark Agnesi recently told Guitar World, they are still loved.
“Everyone I know that has bought a ’Burst in the last five years is playing that guitar every single day,” says the Gibson man.
“[Ultimately] if the thing doesn't play, it's worthless. So if you're sitting here with it and you're so worried about the value [dropping] you can't play the damn thing, it's worthless… There are far worse things you can do to guitars than put a new set of frets on it and have it PLEK-ed, so it plays like a new guitar again.”
All of which, we imagine, will be welcome news to the new owner of the (refretted) Miss Swiss.
If you’re in the market for a ’Burst, btw, you might also like the look of Kirk Hammett’s 1960 Les Paul Standard ‘Sunny’ – available for a snip more at $500,000, though it does come with its own Gibson Custom Shop replica model.
For more information on the guitar, head to Carter Vintage.