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Gibson Collector’s Choice #3 The Babe

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Back in 2012, the Collector’s Choice series was still a new idea from the Gibson Custom Shop, and the best way to get ‘Burst reissues that were slightly different from the regular R8s, R9s and R0s. Number 1 was the Melvyn Franks/Peter Green/Gary Moore Les Paul, number 2 was Goldie, and this is Number 3, the most easily recognizable of the bunch thanks to its stock Bigsby vibrato.

It is a replica of a 1960 Les Paul bearing the serial number 0-0137, a true gem for many a reason: the aforementioned Bigsby, the vibrant red color still mostly intact, and the ‘59-style neck, the perfect balance between the chunky 58 profile and the slim 60.

One of the three owners of the original one has nicknamed it “The Babe”, hence the name given to this replica model, but its current owner, Joe Bonamassa, calls it “Batman” after the weirdly shaped base under the bridge that evoques the Batman logo. Joe was also the owner of that very replica, which happens to be number one of the CC#3 production models. He has often mentioned how impressed he was with the realism of that replica, which is high praise coming from the owner of the original. That replica has seen some heavy stage use, especially for the songs “Dust Bowl” which integrates some very musical Bigsbying.

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