Gibson’s Spirit first appeared in the company’s catalogue in 1982 and was available in two configurations: the single-pickup version pictured here and a double-humbucker edition dubbed Spirit II.
Sporting an asymmetrical double-cutaway, the Spirit shares certain design characteristics with the arguably more illustrious double-cut Les Paul Junior, featuring a carved top, a stop tailpiece, Gibson’s 24.75-inch scale length and an unbound rosewood ’board.
In tune with the times, the original chrome humbucker was high output, fed through the single tone and volume barrel knobs, with a control cavity accessed via the instrument’s rear.
The combination bridge/tailpiece had independent intonation adjustment for each string and the body furniture was finished off with a celluloid pickguard. If you can find one today, you'll be rewarded with a solid, no-nonsense playing experience from a classic marque.
As you can see from the picture, this particular Spirit has received a few modifications during its lifetime, making it more of a ‘player’s guitar’ than a collector’s piece.
While some might argue the ethics of modding vintage guitars, models like the Spirit - which, for the moment, lie in the hinterland between modern and classic status - are ripe for tasteful tweaks.
The gold refinish on this example is from 100-year-old powder made from copper and brass, as on the early 50s Les Pauls, the bridge/tailpiece has been replaced, the humbucker has been either upgraded or covered, and the scratchplate looks like it’s been substituted, too.
A latter-day Junior with what-is-that appeal? We think so.
Guitar courtesy of Guitars: The Museum, Umeå