Up for sale, a 1952 Les Paul Standard MAX '59 Burst Conversion in excellent condition and in perfect working order. The name Peter "Max" Baranet reigns supreme in many Burst circles, revered for crafting a limited number of the world's finest replicas for players including Slash, Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, Zakk Wylde, Jeff Beck, and dozens of additional truly legendary names responsible for shaping the last four decades of popular music.
And while the Peter Baranet's Burst replicas are in a league of their own, Burst conversions built on the platform of genuine 1950s Les Pauls like the guitar offered here are much rarer. Complete with a signed, serialized, dated, and notarized note from Baranet, this 1952 Les Paul Standard was re-topped and refinished by Baranet, outfitted to 1959 Les Paul Standard specs. And with Baranet's recent unfortunate passing, his legacy has only been amplified.
The guitar features the Honduran mahogany body and one-piece Honduran mahogany neck of a 1952 Gibson Les Paul Standard, retopped with a bookmatched, highly figured Eastern Hard Rock maple top. As one would demand for a Les Paul of this calibre, it’s an extremely lively and dynamic guitar acoustically, highly responsive to player inputs via the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Pearly Gates PAF pair. Engineered to capture all the tonal nuances of the humbuckers in Billy Gibbons’ 1959 Les Paul, the Pearly Gates wind offers more midrange than a typical PAF. Its tonal secret sauce is a stronger, tailored midrange, retaining the open, airy treble attack of the Alnico II bar magnet and warm, spongy low-end. The guitar weighs 9lbs 13oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action and accurate intonation.
The neck has a full C-shaped profile carve with round shoulders, just shy of "baseball bat" girth, measuring .880" deep at the 1st fret and .975" at the 12th. The original Brazilian rosewood fretboard retains its stock celluloid inlays from '52, refretted with '59-spec medium jumbo fretwire which has good meat, showing only faint wear beneath the plain strings on the crowns of frets 1-8. The fretboard has also been flawlessly rebound with proper nibs. The guitar features a nylon nut and a new headstock veneer, complete with Gibson inlay, Les Paul script, and a vintage two-ply truss rod cover. The headstock also boasts a genuine vintage set of Kluson Deluxe single line tuning machines that have been fitted with correct single ring sharp-edged keystone buttons. The serial number has been re-inked with a correct '59-style sequence.
On the body, Baranet reset the neck at the proper angle for a '59 with hide glue used throughout, and there's no trace of the original pickup routes, flawlessly reshaped when Baranet retopped the instrument to accommodate the currently installed humbuckers. On Baranet's Burst Replica leaflet (included), he was very matter of fact about using either Seymour Duncan or modern Gibson humbuckers in his instruments, noting that "I will use whichever ones my customers prefer." In addition to the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Pearly Gates humbuckers currently installed, this guitar came into our care with an un-branded pair of zebra bobbin humbuckers (one of which needs to be rewound). This pair is also included with the guitar. The wiring harness features 500k CTS pots and genuine Gibson Bumblebee capacitors, identical to the ones used in current Custom Shop Historic models.
Plastics include Gibson m69 pickup rings, amber bonnet knobs with faintly greened gold paint, and a lightly aged switch surround complete with amber tip. Aged nickel hardware comprises a modern replica Gibson ABR-1 with retainer wire and matching stopbar.
The finish was reshot by Baranet using pure nitro lacquer with no plasticisers, and Baranet shot his finishes notably thin with 5-6 coats, ensuring optimal resonance and breathability. The Eastern Hard Rock maple top has an exacting deep dish carve with extremely dynamic grain and some light mineral streaking. Broad, dimensional straight flame extends evenly across the entire top. The consistency of the flame and particular cut of bookmatched maple chosen is in-line with the more figured tops used in 1959, and the burst gradient has just enough richness in the red, again not beyond the retention/diffusion of red seen on ‘59s that have seen limited UV exposure. The top is extremely clean, with only a couple minor marks near the knobs, and the neck profile is clean and smooth, with just a couple tiny marks on the profile length. The body exhibits various small nicks from honest use on the back and lower bout body edge in particular, with a small spot of localized buckle wear at the bass-side waist on the back.
A vintage black tolex Gibson hardshell case with gold plush interior is included. The guitar comes with a signed, serialized, dated, and notarized handwritten note from Baranet, along with the two-sided leaflet Baranet included with his MAX Burst replicas (the specs on this leaflet represent his replicas, not the Burst Conversion seen here).