When it comes to electric guitars, few models evoke as much excitement, drool and if we listen to Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel, sustain as a genuine ’59 Gibson Les Paul. Indeed, the fact that Peter Green's Greeny had a reported asking price of $2 million (although Hammett claims he didn’t pay even half of that) is an indicator that most of us will be lucky to play one, let alone buy one.
Greeny is known for its unique tone amongst ’burst fans - already from the golden calendar, this is also largely owing to its out-of-phase pickups, the result of a happy accident after Peter Green mistakenly replaced the neck pickup in a reverse position.
The guitar of course went on to be in the possession of Gary Moore for over 30 years, before eventually making its way to current owner, Kirk Hammett in 2014. But it now seems that Greeny’s twin, built immediately before the legendary Les Paul has surfaced. It’s owner? None other than Gibson Brand President, Cesar Gueikian.
Speaking to Guitar World in its latest issue, Cesar explained that the discovery occurred recently. “We realised the two guitars have sequential serial numbers, and our minds were blown.” he says.
Hammett adds, “Cesar’s my bro, and we’re constantly talking about guitars. One day over the summer he called me up and said, ‘I just got an amazing Les Paul - it’s in the Beauty of the ’Burst book.’ I asked him for the serial number and he read it off. As I was reaching for my Beaty of the ’Burst book to look it up, [Cesar] said, ‘Wait a second - what’s Greeny’s serial number?’ So I took a picture and texted it to him.
“He looks at it and goes, ‘Oh my god - it’s within four serial numbers of Greeny. This is amaging!”
Cesar’s Les Paul has since been given the nickname Gemini by himself and Hammett, and while the numbers are four apart - Gemini’s serial number is 9 2204 while Greeny is stamped 9 2208 - Gueikian is 100% confident that the two guitars were next to each other on the Les Paul production line.
“I got in touch with Mat Koehler (Gibson’s Head of Product Development) and the rest of the team, and we figured out that the numbers in the middle are only Skylark amps,” Gueikian said. “So the guitars are sequential twins in terms of being Les Pauls and ’Bursts.”
This belief is bolstered by the fact that Hammett and Gueikian have been able to compare the guitars up-close both visually and tonally, having even met up for a jam to see how the two ’59s compare.
“Our hypothesis is that they were probably cut from the same maple billet” says Cesar. Because the flame patterns are very similar – slightly off – and the mineral streaks are almost identical in the way that they run vertically,”
Hammett adds, ““I picked up Cesar’s guitar and played [Gary Moore’s] Still Got the Blues, because it’s the greatest song to play for that syrupy Les Paul neck tone," Hammett says. "And it sounded dead-on like Greeny.”
For the full interview with Cesar Gueikian, check out the latest issue of Guitar World.