by Jef | Approximate reading time: 3 Minutes
Gibson offer Hand Selected AAA Flamed Tops

Gibson offer Hand Selected AAA Flamed Tops  ·  Source: Gibson


Hand Selected AAA Flamed Tops? That you can’t see? Gibson Exclusive is an area on the Gibson site which offers special runs of guitars, and previously we have looked at their Olive Drab models. Yesterday, Gibson mailed out to all their email subscribers about a new range of 50s and 60s Les Paul Standards with hand selected AAA flame maple tops. But you can’t see them before you buy them. Would you buy a fancy top that you cannot see before you purchase?


Hand Selected AAA Flamed

Hand Selected AAA Flamed tops sounds fine on paper. Make a special run of Gibson Exclusive ’50s and ’60s Les Paul Standards, and market them as being extra special. Yet, I think anyone that wants a fancy AAA Flame Maple top is going to want to see the guitar before they buy it.

AAA Hand Selected

Buying Blind – AAA Hand Selected 50s & ’60s Gibson Exclusives

Buying Blind?

Unfortunately, this is not an option. As you have to buy blind and hope for the best. Which almost defeats the point of choosing to opt for a fancy top upgrade on your Les Paul Standard.

Les Paul Standard 50s Hand Select AAA, Exclusive - Tobacco Burst

Les Paul Standard 50s Hand Select AAA, Exclusive – Tobacco Burst

’50s & ’60s

Okay, I thought it might just be me that thought that this was odd. However, a thread over at MyLesPaul has already had the same conversation about this weird ‘blind’ online ordering system.

We’re excited to launch new limited editions of the USA Les Paul Standard 50s and 60s with gorgeous, hand-selected AAA figured maple tops, available exclusively on Grab yours while you can – Gibson 

The guitars come in two formats with a ’50s in Heritage Cherry Sunburst or Tobacco Burst finish, or a ’60s in either Iced Tea or Bourbon Burst. Sure, these are all great finish options and I’m sure that nitro cellulose finish will make those flames pop nicely.

However, we have seen AAA flame top runs being sold exclusively by Gibson Dealers throughout 2020 and 2021. Where this made sense though, was that these dealers listed each guitar individually. Which meant that you could see exactly what you were buying, before you parted ways with your hard earned cash. Each dealer would list the guitars with plenty of images of the guitar you were ordering, plus specifications like the weight of the guitar.

Basic specifications are as normal for these Exclusive AAA flamed  ’50s and ’60s models. With the ‘50s Les Paul Standard model you get a set of BurstBucker 1  in the neck and BurstBucker 2  for bridge, both with Alnico 2 magnets, plus a Vintage 50s neck profile. Then a BurstBucker 61R in the neck and a BurstBucker 61T bridge pickup, with Alnico 5 magnets and slim taper neck profile for the ’60s Les Paul Standard.

'50s AAA Hand Selected in Heritage Cherry Sunburst

’50s AAA Hand Selected in Heritage Cherry Sunburst

Would you want a choice?

Not everyone can afford to pick and choose the top on their Les Paul. Poor old Joe Bonamassa had to make do with this Dirty Burst which was found in a wardrobe recently. But he has loads of ‘Bursts to choose from anyway.

I suspect that most Gibson buyers will want to see the exact guitar they are getting, when ordering a fancy top. Especially, when that guitar is going to set them back $2999.

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One response to “Gibson Exclusive Hand Selected AAA Flamed Tops: But you can’t see them”

  1. JP says:

    This is like buying a car where the manufacturer says “We’re going to produce it in blue… but we’re not going to say or show you which shade of blue. And when you buy one, you have to keep a blindfold on until after you have driven it away from the dealer.”

    Which is patently crackers.

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