Gibson 25/50 Les Paul Flame Top Still Available

Thought to be the last unsold 25/50   21-Oct-11

Gibson 25/50 Les Paul Flame Top Still Available
Image Property of Tim Gentle Music

In 1978, Gibson celebrated their 50th anniversary, and the 25th anniversary of the Les Paul, with a limited-edition run called the 25/50. These guitars were hand-built by luthiers at Kalamazoo, and featured a very rare Flame Maple top.

Only 100 of these guitars were made, and as you can imagine, they were snapped up pretty fast by those with the capital to invest in the limited-edition Les Pauls, mostly never to be seen by the general public again.

However, whilst speaking to my colleague Rob Hicks about the possibility of doing a guide to getting bargain guitars on eBay in the next episode of our guitar show (Watts Up), he logged onto the auction site to see if there were any keepers up for grabs.

What he found was certainly not cheap, but a listing for a Les Paul 25/50. Even more suprising is the fact that this guitar is not even second-hand, a shop owner ordered the guitar in 1978, and has stored it away ever since. Essentially, this is new old-stock, which means the guitar is new in the sense that it has had no previous owners, but it has been in stock for over 30 years.

To clear this up, it isn't still in stock because nobody wanted to buy the guitar, it's more that nobody knew it existed, as it has been kept off the shop premises in that time.

The shop owner is Tim Gentle, of Tim Gentle Music, and here's some of his back story about the guitar:


"When they were made, Neville Marten (Now the editor of Guitar Techniques magazine) then working for the UK Gibson distribution company called Norlin, who latterly changed their name to Rosetti as they are known today, went to Rotterdam to inspect all the guitars before they were shipped out to the dealers. Neville wanted one of these and to his mind he chose the best one for himself, which was a birds eye maple one.

"We got two of our three ordered guitars delivered, the two guitars looked great and it was hard to choose which one was better than the other when looked at them side by side. We then sold one of them to our customer who had pre ordered it, but Neville’s one was even better.

"A few months later in the depth of winter, the third 25/50 that we ordered arrived on the back of a flat back truck. I was furious and wanted to send it back immediately, but all the staff said open it up and see what it’s like, so I waited 4 days before we opened it to make sure it had acclimatised itself to the temperature in the shop, as it was so expensive we did not want to lacquer crack it subjecting it to extreme changes of temperature. Gibson’s packaging was incredible, as they virtually shrink wrapped guitars into the packaging.  We are also a bit mad like that and very careful with guitars, to the point of being excessive, but it always pays off, and we are still the same.

"The guitar was so special we decided not to sell it from our shop, but keep it as a long-term investment, so it is NEW OLD STOCK!! Where can you find any 1978 Gibson Les Paul in any shop anywhere in the world that has been in stock for 30 years unsold? So this guitar still has the warranty/guarantee card for the guitar from Norlin/Gibson, and the card from Gibson to apply for the Free Gibson 25/50 Belt buckle, which they gave to every 25/50 owner. I doubt that you would get the buckle from Gibson now though! The serial number is Kalamazoo Jan 1979."


The guitar is currently listed for £100,000... yes that's one hundred thousand British Sterling! To register your interest, please go to Tim's eBay page.

 

Rich Beech
@sonicamped

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