A 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard, serial #0 1490, nicknamed “Sunny” and once owned by metal guitar icon Kirk Hammett is up for sale via the Gibson Certified Vintage programme, and for electric guitar collectors with deep pockets, this is a Holy Grail.
The only question we have is how could the Metallica lead guitarist bear to part with it?
But if you can look into your electric guitar collection and see the infamous Greeny Les Paul, a unicorn ’59 Factory Black Les Paul Standard, plus a host of high-performance signature guitars co-developed with ESP staring back at you, you can afford to sell a few guitars on.
But even for Kirk Hammett, this one’s got to have been hard to let go. This is one you might have seen featured in Yasuhiko Iwanade's Les Paul collector’s bible, The Beauty Of The Burst – the ne plus ultra of coffee-table gear porn – and it has one of the most strikingly patterned, three-dimensional maple tops you could find.
Sunny does not have the back story of Greeny Les Paul, the famous singlecut once owned by the late Peter Green then the late Gary Moore before finding its way into Hammett’s hands – and onto Metallica’s stage each night. But it remains in remarkable condition.
Its story is the classic collector’s pathway. The original owner’s widow sold it on to a collector in the ‘80s, Hammett picked it “a few years ago”, and has put it to good use.
The tuners had been swapped out at some point but the guitar had been restored with period-correct ‘50s Kluson single line/single ring tuners. Sunny is built to the classic recipe of solid Honduran mahogany body with two-piece figured maple top, a mahogany neck with a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard.
A pair of PAF (Patent Applied For) humbuckers are controlled by two Volume and two Tone knobs, with Centralab potentiometers and Bumblebee caps. There is the ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop bar tailpiece.
The top is what will get most ‘Burst fans excited. Sunny’s outer edges retain the deep red cherry when so many of the aniline-dyed Les Pauls’ finishes fades over the years. Some players prefer them faded, others not. Either way, this was something Gibson were conscious of, and would change the formula for the dye late on in 1960 to address the issue.
The maple top itself is a work of art, more plain-topped on the bass-side, almost tiger-striped on the treble-side.
Sitting side by side it is a dead ringer for a ’59 but with the new SlimTaper neck it will offer quite a different ride. It ships in its original Lifton hardshell guitar case and goodness knows how much this will sell for. Six figures, yes, but in what order?
If your budget stretches that far, give the Gibson Garage a call. Head over to Gibson for all the details. These guitars sound incredible. Listen to Gibson Brand Ambassador Jared James Nichols putting a nicotine-stained plain-topped '60 through its paces below.