Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mike Bloomfield Signature Les Paul Sunburst introduced at Namm Show

Jimmy Vivino called me last night from the Namm Show In Los Angeles to describe the prototype Mike Bloomfield Les Paul Sunburst. He said it was beautiful and that Gibson did an absolutely fantastic job. Jimmy will be taking that guitar back to New York and will be playing it at B.B. Kings on February 7Th celebrating Al Koopers birthday. I look forwards to seeing some of you there to share in this very special event.
Best regards,


JohnInNJ said...


In the sixties, Gibson was a ho-hum operation, part of a bigger company called Norlin. They almost went under. One of the things that saved them was the re-emergence of the Les Paul model as the guitar of choice for almost all players. Some credit Clapton for this, some credit Keith Richards. But it was Mike who played Les Pauls, first a gold-top and then his famous sunburst, across the country, from small clubs to huge outdoor venues, and who other players probably first saw and heard. Demand for the Les Paul swelled but...oops! Gibson had stopped making them almost a decade ago! They had to start up production again. The company went thru new owners, a few times, but was saved because of this one guitar.

In view of the many "signature" Les Paul Gibson and Epiphones out there now, its about time Gibson honored the man who brought attention to this guitar. The rest, as they say, is history, a history that would have had to have been radically rewritten if not for Mike Bloomfield.



Michael said...

I saw the Michael Bloomfiled Les Paul at the NAMM show. It looks pretty much the same as a 59 reissue. The specs with the guitar indicated it will use Burstbucker 1 and 2 pickups and the pickup selector switch is missing... like some of the pictures of the original I have seen. It will be offered in aged and VOS versions. My questions is what makes this model different that a stock 59? Anybody have more info?

John said...

There are many things about guitars that are matters of personal preference or the context that you are wanting to play in, what you want to accentuate. Some of this may involve life experience or cultural or social biases that I am bringing to the situation, where I have been. I once had a very strong bias in favor of Gibson versus Fender that I believe I am past, but I still tend to pick up a Gibson before a Fender. Guitars may be a little like golf clubs, you use a driver for this, a putter for that, etc. It's not like the driver is better than the putter or the putter better than the driver . . .

I really love a P-90 pickup . . . but tomorrow could be different. Gibson isn't doing many guitars today with P-90s, I guess people don't feel quite the same way about that pickup that I do! I think Michael used to have a goldtop with P-90s before he had the sunburst . . .

I am glad to see that Michael is receiving this recognition from Gibson. I hope they do an excellent job on it and that it is a fitting tribute and serves to help preserve and further the legacy he has left, what he gave us.

Maybe someday I will have one of these. I am sure I could do worse . . . For today, I will enjoy what I have!

Allen Bloomfield said...

It is true that Michael endorsed this guitar and although the players in England gravitated to it as well nobody talked among themselves.
From my dealing with Gibson at this time and limited to the custom division I found that group to be exceptional from creation to completion. Professional and exacting in all phases of manufacture. The desire to honor and create a living testament to musical milestones was always the driving force.

Allen Bloomfield said...

Dear Michael,
The knobs vary in size. Because Michael played the guitar up high he wanted to distinguish by feel the volume knob from another. I am no expert at all but I think this was a modification. We will have the specs and that should show the differences.
Allen B

Allen Bloomfield said...

Dear John,
Sort of like the "Big Bertha Club."
If the limited edition serial numbered guitars sell out possibly at a much lower price this guitar my be available through regular distribution. The response so far has been excellent. No doubt if the demand continues Gibson will make them available.
Thank you,
Allen B.

Kevin said... have $15,000 to burn (I could only wish!)

Frank Macias said...

I saw Michael playing a Les Paul one year before I saw the "Bluesbreakers" album. I am sure that the first PBBB album made an impact in England as it did here. At any rate, I understand that he was given a "Custom" Les Paul by his guitar teacher.

I just saw the my space video with the "Royal Teens" and that cat is using a Gold Top! That video must be late fifties!

Do you know anything about the Custom Allen?

Frank Macias

Allen Bloomfield said...

Dear Frank,
I wish that I did know something relevant about this. The only guitar that was given to him was a Les Paul when he was Bar Mitzvah'd, in 1956.

Thomas said...

Allen, You stated : "The only guitar that was given to him was a Les Paul when he was Bar Mitzvah'd, in 1956. " I just read the Jan Mark Wolkin biography. In the foreword Carlos Santana says he has Mike's Les Paul. Do you know that for a fact, and if it's the Goldtop from the Bar Mitzvah or the 'Burst that was just re-issued?