It’s one of those stories that have become part of rock and roll history. Peter Frampton’s ’54 Custom was used extensively on one of his best-known live albums, but was lost in a cargo plane crash in 1980. Incredibly, it was then returned to him 30 years later, earning its ‘Phenix’ nickname. Gibson has now reissued guitar as the super-premium Peter Frampton Phenix Les Paul Custom.
Gibson Peter Frampton Phenix Les Paul Custom
The original Phenix Les Paul Custom is the guitar you can hear on Frampton’s 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive!; it was also featured on the cover. This new 2021 Gibson Custom Shop Peter Frampton Phenix Les Paul Custom recreates that instrument in great detail, including an aged VOS ebony nitrocellulose finish. It’s loaded with three Gibson CustomBucker pickups controlled via a three-way pickup selector wired up via master volume and tone controls. Gibson has used an “ultra-lightweight” weight-relieved mahogany body, along with a slim profile mahogany neck in keeping with the original model from 1954.
As this is a Custom, you’re getting an ebony 12″ radius fingerboard with Custom Block inlays and Frampton’s signature at the 12th fret to differentiate this one from standard reissues. There’s also a ‘Peter Frampton’ signature on the truss rod cover, along with all the usual Certificate of Authenticity and case candy. Personally, I could have done without his signature on the 12th fret, as it kind of spoils the vibe for me. But then again, I’m not a huge Frampton fan, and his many devotees will probably love it.
As youÄd expect for a Custom Shop recreation, this model has higher-end hardware throughout, including subtle upgrades to the wiring like CTS pots, Paper in Oil capacitors and Switchcraft jacks and switches. Plus, the guitar has Schaller strap locks, Grover kidney bean-style tuners, and a lightweight aluminium stop bar with long-stud anchors. All the hardware you can see is lightly aged to match the VOS treatment of the nitro finish.
The Fenix rises from the ashes (again)
Now, it was clear from the get-go that this Custom Shop signature was not going to be cheap. At around €6999 you will either have to be a fan or a collector, as it is a very specific guitar that won’t appeal to everyone. It isn’t the first time this guitar has been recreated, as there was another even more detailed version five years ago, which you can see in the video below.
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