The ’58 Les Paul is second only to the ’59 in its legendary status among rock guitarists. The reason why the ’58 is usually considered the lesser of the two is because the ’58s are usually a plain top and not quilted like the ’59.
Quick history lesson on the ’58. 1958 was the first year Gibson experimented with using a clear coated finish with a sunburst accent. Many original ’58s were actually gold top’s that were refinished. As a result the two pieces of maple were rarely matched, so there was a great deal of variances between the looks. You may also notice that the ’58 still sports the yellow toggle switch due to the plan of being gold. I also believe there was a little push back from Les Paul himself about the look but in the end we know who won out.
There have been many reissues of the ’58 and some feel as though between 2002-2008 Gibson made some of the most accurate and articulate of the generations. Luckily I have a 2005 and this one is a beauty.
As mentioned in the Supreme post, this guitar has a story which I think adds to the mystique of this one. Luckily for me as well this one sat in a managers office waiting to be taken home… but a spouse wouldn’t let it be him!
I’m really not going to go into length about the specs on this one, you can always look it up. Just know its the original rock monster that weighs a ton.
Tonally this is the classic sounds of Led Zeppelin/Jimmy Page. It’s really something to hear just how a guitar can really characterize a style. I never really understood just how much this instrument made the distinctive depth and heaviness of early classic rock. The R8 has not been modified at all and I’m staving off having fret work done because I want to keep it all original.
With regards to the album, this guitar makes a few appearance in “Follow Me”, “Bitter Wine” and “Red Sky”. I find I don’t use this guitar as much as I think I would and it has nothing to do with the sound, but I think I do tend to pull it out more for doing solos on tracks. That’s really the result of the extremely fat neck which allows for extremely fast play and a little extra sustain.
I do love this guitar.