On that chance encounter with a proper Burst: A 1959 Les Paul Standard

Okay, from the outset, the encounter was with the owner, not the guitar. Nevertheless, the days where a guitar player says, “Oh, that was my ´59 Les Paul” are getting further and fewer between.
The owner in question is one Colin Cripps, husband of, and erstwhile guitar player for, Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards. Check out her website.

Kathleen was doing a whistle-stop visit to the UK to promote her new album, Asking For Flowers. I´d recognised the name from the last album, Back To Me, and recalled some of the best guitar tones I´ve heard in decades. Hmm. Wednesday night… Kathleen or Coronation Street? Er…

So, having never met Colin but been listening to his playing for a couple of years, I made the approach after they´d played, tugged the forelock and thoroughly expected a brusque “thanks, man”. Not a bit of it. Two minutes in, he´s telling me about the compression settings he used for the gorgeous tone on In State, opener to the last album… Well, I did ask. But from a Roland GP-8? Really?
“Yeah! A lot of that unit was analogue circuitry - it´s my favourite compressor!”
Consider me hooked…
Then comes the bombshell. “And what guitar was it?” I follow in my best Geeklish. “Oh that was my ´59 Les Paul,” he answers.
“FIFTY nine?” I splutter, just wondering if I might have heard him wrong.
“Yeah, I had two of ´em in the ´80s and stupidly sold them. But I bought this one at the end of the ´90s and it´s a real beauty.”

Well, it turns out that besides being that kind of guitar player who´s everything I so wanted to be [cod psychology welcome], Colin is a bit of a geek too. We talk about ´60s AC30s - he has a pair of course - Epiphone Coronets that don´t stay in tune, the fifties Junior he bought Kathleen for her birthday and a 101 other matters of gargantuan guitarry gobbledegook.

It´s funny what you turn up. I talk to hundreds of guitar players at hundreds of gigs. Some are most interested in telling you how great they are, what they´ve done, maybe hoping for a column inch or two. Others - like Colin - just want to tell you what they know. No bullshit, no ego, just all-up stellar musos who are still doing it for all the right reasons.

Sometimes this job is just a pure, pure pleasure.