Every guitar has a story- a tale to tell if you will and this Les Paul is no exception. I think it would be safe to say that no two Les Paul Standard Reissues have exactly the same top. Not exactly,
so in a manner of speaking, if every Les Paul Standard has a different top, then you could say that those tops could be considered as fingerprints. Each one, in some way is different. The Maple top on this '99 R9 has three distinct and identifying markers: The 3.5" squiggly mineral grain line above the bridge and tailpiece, the 1" mineral grain deposit inside the control knob cluster and the thumbnail-shaped crescent below the neck pickup volume knob. They are unique to this guitar and we have never seen these same marks on another Les Paul Standard. And so, this is where we begin this guitar's tale...
The following information is what we can prove and excludes any conjecture or speculation. It is gathered from print or first-hand relation directly to us from parties that were either present at the described event or had direct contact with the guitar during its production. As Sgt. Joe Friday said on Dragnet, "Just the facts, Ma'am. Just the facts."
On July 25, 1999, Gibson threw a party at George Martin's Air Studios in London, England to celebrate the opening of their new office there. Coinciding with this party, they presented Scotty Moore with a Lifetime Achievement award and the first of a limited run of signature Gibson ES-295's. This can be verified on Scotty's website at this link:
Attending this party were several superstar guitar heavyweights which included Gary Moore, Jeff Beck, Steve Howe, Alvin Lee and Jimmy Page. All were big fans of Scotty and they were there to honor his influence on their playing. Also attending this event were Henry Juskiewicz and (then) Head of Artist Relations, Pat Foley. Not only was Mr. Foley there to give the award to Scotty Moore, he was there to show him and Jimmy Page the very guitar you see presented here. The following was related directly from Mr. Foley to us: "This Les Paul was made as a promotional guitar to specifically show Jimmy and Scotty the aging process that Tom Murphy was doing at Gibson." This R9 is a beautiful, first-year example of his work. After this guitar was shown to Page, he examined and played it. It was also examined and played at that time by Gary Moore and Jeff Beck in Mr. Foley's presence. Moore liked it so much, he played it while onstage with Scotty and his band. You can see part of that performance at this link and Gary's playing starts at 3:03 in the video clip.:
After the event was over, Mr. Foley returned to the U.S. and retained possession of the guitar until we purchased it in early 2010. In June of 2010, we received a call from Mr. Foley asking if we would send the guitar to New York because Jeff Beck was playing the Tribute to Les Paul at the Iridium on June 9, 2010 and he wanted to play and consider this Les Paul as a potential guitar with which to perform the tribute. We overnighted the guitar to New York and in the end, Beck opted to use another Historic Reissue and this R9 was designated as its backup. After the tribute was over, the guitar was returned to us, where it has remained in our possession for the last 6 1/2 years.
At the Arlington Guitar Show of 2016, we took this guitar to Tom Murphy to have it verified by him as being his work. Tom inspected it and after returning to his office called and confirmed that the serial number for this Les Paul was indeed listed in his ledger as being aged by him at Gibson in 1999. We have a signed, hand-written letter from Tom on his company's letterhead stating that this guitar was "chosen as a promotion for Jimmy Page in celebration of Scotty Moore's 75th birthday." That is incorrect, because Scotty's 75th birthday celebration was on December 9, 2006. It is merely a mix-up of events. This guitar is confirmed by the serial number in this letter.
This Les Paul is also featured in two books: "The Ultimate Gibson Book", by Paul Day and Walter Carter on page 184 and in "2000 Guitars: The Ultimate Collection" by Chartwell Books on page 109. It is immediately identifiable by the three previously mentioned "fingerprint" markers and the incredible thing is, both books mistakenly label this guitar as a "1999 Les Paul Standard '58 Figuredtop Reissue". That in itself might be one of the most surprising things we've ever seen in a guitar book (or two). All of the things I am mentioning are clearly pictured below.
Finally, we called Gibson to verify the serial number of this guitar and to see if they had any notes that would confirm its history. When I gave them the serial number, the gentleman on the phone (if memory serves me correctly, his name was Roger) told me that the serial number was for a 1999 Historic '59 Reissue, Murphy Aged. When I pressed him on if they had any notes regarding who it was made for, he hesitated and said, "made for Jimmy Page and Scotty Moore." We were then absolutely satisfied that indeed this was the guitar sent over to Air Studios in July of 1999 and played by no less than three of the biggest Rock guitar gods that have ever lived. We have not changed anything on this guitar since it was returned to us from Jeff Beck's people and it retains the same strings and set-up put on for Jeff at the Iridium. This is an exceptional, first-year example of Tom Murphy's aging and a historical piece of Gibson's history, The package includes the guitar, the case it originally came in, the hand-written letter from Tom at Guitar Preservation, and the two books that feature the guitar. If ever there was a collector's dream, we think this Les Paul certainly qualifies as exactly that. We welcome any inquiries and appreciate your continued support!