Gibson has launched its long-teased, much-anticipated and forensically detailed Custom Shop replica of Kirk Hammett’s 1959 ‘Greeny’ Les Paul. A super-limited edition Murphy Lab creation, only 50 units will be made available worldwide.
There are some electric guitars with a reputation that precedes them, guitars that have history behind them. The 1959 Greeny Les Paul Standard is one of them. The last few years alone have been a trip, touring the world with Kirk Hammett and Metallica, being played nightly because – as its present custodian says – this is a guitar that deserves to be played, a guitar that the audience want to see.
But its history stretches back to early Fleetwood Mac, when it was in the possession of the blues-rock pioneer Peter Green. That’s how it got its name, and it became legendary for its off-menu wiring, with the neck pickup’s reversed polarity accessing what was like a secret alternate voice for the Les Paul, an out-of-phase tone that became Green’s signature sound.
Gary Moore was next to take ownership of ‘Greeny’, who played it with Thin Lizzy and on his solo recordings. After Moore died, it entered the guitar collectors universe, where it was presented to Hammett in 2014. Hammett, of course, bought it, and if anything, its legend has grown since.
Hammett took it to see its former owner Peter Green before he died, then played it onstage at the London Palladium for the Green’s tribute concert.
- "Jimi Hendrix has played that guitar, Rory Gallagher, Jeff Beck, George Harrison… I mean, the list goes on and on" – Kirk Hammett on owning Peter Green's legendary 'Greeny' 1959 Gibson Les Paul
It bears the scars of a lifetime of use. It wears them well. All of these have been recreated behind the doors of the Murphy Lab. Gibson has matched the Brazilian rosewood of the original, which is period correct, but sadly precludes it from the international market – these are US only.
All the other details, the dings, the scratches, the wear under the bridge humbucker, these are all present and correct, and it ships in a case stencilled with Hammett, Moore and Green’s names.
Spec-wise, it has a solid lightweight mahogany body topped with a two-piece figured maple top, a mahogany neck that has been scanned and carved into a profile that matches the original. Single-ply cream binding has been applied to the top and fingerboard.
It comes fitted with an ABR-1 bridge, and lightweight nickel stop-bar tailpiece, and mismatched knobs – two True Historic Gold, two True Historic Gold with Silver Inserts. ‘Greeny’ was also retrofitted with Sperzel tuners some time ago, and that is what we have here.
There are a pair of Greeny Alnico II pickups, a three-way toggle to select them, and the neck pickup is reverse mounted to give you the guitar’s signature tone. The control circuit has been hand-wired, with Gibson digging into the good stuff, Bumblebee caps, Vintage Audio Taper pots, and Hammett signed off on the tone before it was finished.
To order, well, you’re gonna have to pick up the phone and dial the Gibson Garage. Head over to Gibson for more details and a link to the number. There is no demo video as yet, but you can watch Hammett put the original through its paces below.