If you want to be in the loop as to what new acoustic and electric guitar models are coming down the pipeline at Gibson your best bet is to follow brand president and CEO Cesar Gueikian on social media, who has a Mozart-esque command of the pre-launch product tease – and he is at it again today, teasing an all-new line of Les Paul Supremes.
The Les Paul Supreme was launched in 2003 and was for all intents and purposes a new Les Paul. It dressed in the fine livery – gold hardware, decorative globe inlay on the headstock, split block inlays – and was in retrospect quite revolutionary, featuring a carved maple back, and a deeper body, though it was chambered to keep the weight down.
Talk of their return has spiked in the last month. Subscribers to The Trogly’s Guitar Show on YouTube might already be aware that something is brewing, following a dealer leak of a preorder for an all-new take on the model.
If the leak is to be believed, we are to see them in stock with dealers worldwide by the end of the year. Judging by Gueikian’s Instagram post, that could bear out.
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Here they were, a boat of unfinished 15 Les Pauls presently sitting on the Gibson factory line in Nashville, TN, with multi-ply binding on the headstock, split block inlays on ebony fingerboards, and a new and very attractive MOP headstock inlay. They look like they could be next-gen Supremes. But then there are some crucial differences between those and the Supreme featured on Trogly’s show.
The Supreme we know and love, and the Supreme featured on Trogly’s show, has a AAA maple top; those from Gueikian’s photo look to have plain tops. The Trogly’s model is a dual-humbucker configuration, Gueikian’s are routed for three humbuckers. The plot thickens. Gueikian’s caption only deepens the mystery, “A Supreme Friday to be at our Craftory!” he wrote.
Time will tell whether these are the Supremes we are looking for. One way or another, they are definitely new models, and that headstock inlay corresponds with something mentioned on The Trogly’s Guitar Show, with the specs for this leaked Supreme listing a headstock inlay that was inspired by a design from the ‘40s that had lain dormant in the Gibson archive. A tantalising detail.
Other specs detailed on Trogly’s included BurstBucker and BurstBucker Plus humbuckers, with push/pull coil-taps, phase and bypass switching modes as per the Les Paul Modern. Other features it would have in common with the Modern are the Ultra-Modern weight relief pattern and the Modern contoured heel.
The finish option pictured was Transparent Black with two more promised. Who knows what they could be? Who knows what the final specs will be on these models Gueikian has pictured.
The thing about the Gibson Les Paul Supreme was you could never quite predict what spec it would have; there was even a 2014 model with a semi-hollow build and a floating neck pickup. We might know what form these new models will take rather than later.