The 1976 mega-hit single “Hotel California” is named on virtually every reputable list of “greatest guitar solos” that has ever been published. The whole truth is, though, that the entire Hotel California album is rife with scorching guitar work from both newcomer Joe Walsh and Eagles lead guitarist Don Felder – and Felder played all of his solos on one outstanding instrument: a 1959 Les Paul Standard.
Hired by the Eagles in 1974 to help the band make the transition from country-rock to a heavier, rock-based sound, Felder brought it on in spades, and the tone he selected to do the job is unmistakably Les Paul – fat, creamy and singing. In order to bring that sound, feel and look to a select group of players and collectors today, Gibson Custom has introduced the Don Felder “Hotel California” 1959 Les Paul, an instrument created in the image of Felder’s original 1959 ‘Burst in strictly limited quantities. Produced as a three-tiered Limited Edition, with 50 guitars hand-aged by Gibson Custom and personally signed by Don Felder, 100 hand-aged, and a further 150 given Gibson’s VOS treatment, each includes a numbered Certificate of Authenticity to record its status for posterity.
Hand-aged examples meticulously reproduce the look of Felder’s own ’59 Les Paul, while VOS versions present the gently aged look and feel of a vintage instrument. All are made with period-correct specs and components, including a pair of Gibson’s most accurate reproduction PAF pickups, and finished in a uniquely tinted and faded “Felder Burst” finish, formulated exclusively for this guitar. As rare and desirable as all ‘Bursts are, this limited run recreates one of the greatest, and a big slice of tone history.
Like any great Les Paul Standard, the Don Felder “Hotel California” 1959 Les Paul starts with great wood. Gibson Custom selects figured maple for the two-piece top to replicate the look of Felder’s own iconic ‘Burst, and joins each set to a select, lightweight, solid one-piece mahogany back. Way beyond merely recreating the look of the original instrument, however, this maple/mahogany pairing perpetuates a tonewood match made in heaven: a best-of-both-worlds palette that gives you the perfect blend of maple’s clarity, snap and bite, and mahogany’s warmth, depth and richness.
A one-piece mahogany neck is glued in with the preferred long neck tenon for superior resonance and sustain, and carved to match the neck on Felder’s own ’59 Les Paul Standard. Taking all this tonal goodness to your amp of choice are a pair of BurstBucker pickups, Gibson’s most accurate PAF recreations to date. It’s all anchored with the rock-solid pairing of a Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, and topped with a set of vintage Kluson-style green-button tuners. And with a guitar that sounds and feels this good, you want it to look perfect, too.
To get the Don Felder “Hotel California” 1959 Les Paul just right, Gibson Custom has painstakingly formulated a unique “Felder Burst” finish, which accurately matches the mellowed, sand-hued fade of Felder’s own ’59 ‘Burst. Reproduced in nitrocellulose in a hand-executed process that involves several steps, the results are then treated to either meticulous hand-aging by Gibson Custom (150 guitars, 50 of which also will be signed by Don Felder), or Gibson Custom’s acclaimed VOS process (150 guitars).
All told, it’s a guitar worthy of its namesakes: one of the greatest guitar albums of all time, and player who laid down the leads that helped to make it so. All guitars come with a black, plush-lined Gibson Custom hardshell case, a Certificate of Authenticity, and full owner’s manual and adjustment literature. Each also is covered by Gibson’s Limited Lifetime Warranty and 24/7/365 Customer Service.
VOS – Felder Burst – $10,351msrp
Aged – Felder Burst – $14,115 msrp
Aged/Signed – Felder Burst – $17,645 msrp