Joe Bonamassa has joined forces with Epiphone to release a recreation of his rare 1959 “Lazarus” Gibson Les Paul.
The original Lazarus, which came into JoBo’s possession during a “guitar geek hang” dinner in December 2019, initially came with a cherry red finish, and bamboozled both Bonamassa and his repair shop-owner friend David Neely, both of who sought to uncover its origins.
After some expert sleuthing work conducted by the blues guitar ace and his 120 fellow diners identified the frets as ‘59-era appointments, the crew quickly realized that Bonamassa was holding something pretty special.
“I was like, ‘I think what I’m seeing is indelibly linked to a ‘58, ‘59 or early ‘60s Les Paul,” recalled Bonamassa, who, after putting the parts under the microscope, concluded he had stumbled upon a holy grail Gibson.
“If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, I’m pretty sure at this point that it’s a ‘59 Les Paul,” he continued. There was just one issue: the absence of a flame veneer.
Said issue didn’t last long, though, after a refinishing job revealed the guitar’s center seam and later its glorious natural flame burst.
“We called it Lazarus because this ‘59 Les Paul that was literally hiding in plain sight has risen from the oblivion, risen from the dead, and is now played almost every night with me on stage.”
As such, it is this death-defying burst that serves as the inspiration for Epiphone’s latest release, which aims to emulate the aesthetics, tone and feel of the one-and-only Lazarus.
Build-wise, the Lazarus Les Paul comes equipped with an Aged Gloss Lazarus burst finish, which reveals the wide grain AAAA flame maple veneer. Elsewhere, the Les Paul-standard mahogany body is partnered with a one-piece, ‘59 rounded-C mahogany neck, 12”-radius Indian laurel fretboard and Graph Tech nut.
Additional appointments on the 24.75”-scale guitar include 22 Medium Jumbo frets, Pearloid Trapezoid inlays and a ‘60s Kalamazoo headstock, adorned with a Mother of Pearl Epiphone logo.
In the hardware department, the Lazarus flashes the orthodox Epiphone LockTone tune-o-matic bridge and LockDown Stop Bar – both finished in nickel – with Epiphone Deluxe Tulip Keys tuners also making the cut.
As for pickups, a pair of Gibson BurstBuckers have been included on the spec sheet, and are controlled via two volume controls and two tone controls – with ‘50s wiring, CTS potentiometers and Mallory capacitors – as well as a three-way selector switch.
The Epiphone Lazarus is available now for $899.
To learn more, head over to Epiphone.