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1997 Gibson Custom Shop Slash Snakepit Les Paul Cranberry Near-Mint w/ Case, Yamano


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Up for sale, a 1997 Gibson Les Paul Slash Signature "Snakepit" in near-mint condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original Gibson Custom Shop hardshell case and paperwork. One of the most limited and highly collectable Les Pauls of the past few decades, the Snakepit is the original Slash signature Les Paul, initially limited to just 50 instruments worldwide. The run ultimately expanded to purportedly 70-75 instruments, yet totals were capped well below the widely circulated figure of 100 guitars produced, (again, purportedly) due in part to the intricate nature of the inlay. Sparingly few Snakepits ever surface for sale, and this particular Snakepit was originally sold within Japan, as evidenced by the included Gibson/Yamano paperwork, noting Gibson's Japanese distributor.

Unmistakable in its design and genuine in every detail (especially notable given a certain highly publicized replica that circulated in recent years), the Snakepit features an elaborate cobra inlay that curves its way up the ebony fingerboard, as well as a Cranberry gloss nitro lacquer finish across the two-piece bookmatched flame maple top, which itself has its signature raised smoking snake graphic.

Weighing 9lbs 1oz, the Snakepit is notably light for a Les Paul and very resonant, offering both foundational heft and plenty of glassy treble snap given the ebony fingerboard. While the guitars made for Slash himself were loaded with his favored Seymour Duncan Alnico IIs, production Snakepits were outfitted from the factory with a pair of Gibson's '57 Classic PAFs. Similar to the Duncans, Gibson's '57 Classic is one of their most ubiquitous PAF designs with Alnico II magnets and an array of sweet, singing tones equally well suited to detailed cleans or thick, ripping drive. The Snakepit benefits from a professional setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action and spot-on intonation.

The one-piece mahogany neck has what Gibson purports to be a circa '59 Les Paul carve, yet it's a bit more modest in its dimensions and firmly in the "Medium C" camp with nicely rounded shoulders in every register, measuring .840" deep at the 1st fret and graduating to .985" at the 12th. The fretwire is pristine, as is the meticulously inlaid mother of pearl and abalone cobra. The guitar plays cleanly in every register up the 24 3/4" scale, and the neck is straight with a responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The headstock has all the hallmarks of the Snakepit, with an abalone Gibson inlay, "Custom Art Historic" banner, and Slash-embossed truss rod cover. The finish checking surrounding the headstock inlays is extremely common for this era of Gibson production and an artifact of how the inlay work was done, one of many small nuances in authenticating a genuine Snakepit. The back of the headstock has the inked SL-prefix serial number and Kluson-style Gibson Deluxe tuning machines with push-in bushings and lightly greened keystone buttons.

On the body, the electronics comprise the '57 Classic PAF pickup pair, soldered to the stock harness with original CTS pots that have visible date codes from the 23rd week of '97. Hardware includes the original nickel-plated ABR-1 bridge and stopbar, both of which have uniform surface patina which also extends to the humbucker covers. Plastics include the original pickup rings, aged switch surround and quartet of amber bonnet knobs.

Tight, straight tiger flame extends liberally across the gloss Cranberry-finished bookmatched maple top, and the raised smoking snake graphic on the lower bout shows no wear. There is very faint localized pick scuffing on the treble side of the strum path, and just a couple tiny nicks and faint finish scratches on the body as a whole.

The original Gibson Custom Shop hardshell case is included, along with the Gibson/Yamano paperwork.