Social Distortion guitarist and frontman Mike Ness has teamed up with Gibson Custom Shop to create a new high-end signature model, based on his 1976 Les Paul Deluxe Goldtop.
In keeping with the late-’70s LPs, it features a three-piece maple neck, a two-piece plain maple top and a ‘sandwich’ body of mahogany with a maple centre – all of which makes for a lighter build than the mahogany-necked beasts that were produced until the early ‘70s.
The neck profile has been custom-shaped to emulate Ness’ own instrument and features a rosewood ‘board with jumbo frets, trapezoid inlays and a nylon nut.
Ness replaced the pickups from his original LP with P-90s and Gibson is using custom takes on its famous soapbar pickup here, which it says offers a “perfect vintage replacement, and features vintage, braided two-conductor wiring.”
There are Gotoh tuners, Dunlop straplok buttons and a Tone Pros Tune-O-Matic bridge. The nickel hardware, as with the body, has been aged using the witchcraft of Gibson’s Murphy Lab. It even features reproduced Orange County, Clay Smith Cams Mr. Horsepower, and I Voted stickers – as seen on Ness’ original.
In addition, the guitar comes complete with a Gibson Deluxe Protector Case and a certificate of authenticity.
Many will be intrigued to see how this model performs among the Custom Shop line-up. Players have become conditioned to the prices of Gibson’s high-spec reproduction builds, but asking even the more affluent of punk fans to pay $9K for a guitar arguably presents an ideological challenge – and a gamble for Gibson.
The Gibson Custom Shop Mike Ness 1976 Les Paul Deluxe is available for $8,999. Head to Gibson.com for more information.