Rare Left-Handed Gibson Les Paul Burst Has Pre-Auction Estimate of $125,000

A controversial instrument has come up on the auction block. The left-handed 1959 Gibson Les Paul sunburst offered at the Heritage Vintage Guitars & Musical Instruments Signature Auction (October 26 and 27 in Beverly Hills) is the same instrument that graced the cover of Guitar Aficionado magazine (Vol. I No. 4).

At that time, this rare flametop was in the collection of tennis star John McEnroe. It subsequently passed from his hands to another owner. But is it an authentic 1959? A small but visible split between the left and right halves of the flame maple top has long fed speculation that the instrument had been doctored, but Heritage’s team of appraisers are certain that this is the genuine article.

As only four 1959 lefty Les Paul sunbursts are thought to be in existence — one belongs to Paul McCartney — this is an absolutely droolworthy instrument that easily justifies its $125,000 presale estimate.

Photo: Heritage

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In a career that spans five decades, Alan di Perna has written for pretty much every magazine in the world with the word “guitar” in its title, as well as other prestigious outlets such as Rolling Stone, Billboard, Creem, Player, Classic Rock, Musician, Future Music, Keyboard, grammy.com and reverb.com. He is author of Guitar Masters: Intimate Portraits, Green Day: The Ultimate Unauthorized History and co-author of Play It Loud: An Epic History of the Sound Style and Revolution of the Electric Guitar. The latter became the inspiration for the Metropolitan Museum of Art/Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibition “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll.” As a professional guitarist/keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist, Alan has worked with recording artists Brianna Lea Pruett, Fawn Wood, Brenda McMorrow, Sat Kartar and Shox Lumania.