so at the arlington guitar show this weekend, i had the pleasure of meeting tom wittrock. i'm sure many of you are aware of his mind-blowing les paul collection. he had a very unassuming booth near the corner of the convention hall, and i almost passed it until i realized he had one '58 and a '59 sitting on some cheap guitar stands. i found it cool that he had them out in the open. it pains me to see guitars locked away in glass cases. anyway, i walked up to him and we started shooting the breeze about old texas psych bands (the elevators, josefus, bubble puppy etc) and then he asked me if i'd ever played a real burst. the moment i'd been hoping for!! he sat me down and handed me the '58. unfortunately, i don't remember the serial number - from the ones i saw on his collector's page on the LPF, i think it was either 8-5388 or 8-5386. i figured it would be interesting to share my impressions of the '58. i very briefly strummed on "Donna" (CC#5), but i spent a good amount of time with the '58. now keep in mind, this is coming from the perspective of someone who loves the mystique and history of the sunburst les paul, without having actually played an original until now. disclaimer: i did not plug the guitar into an amp. i only played it acoustically. i realize that this can make a huge difference, but i've bought many guitars before without plugging them in. the overall "feel" of a guitar is the most important aspect of finding a good one - to me, anyways. -the neck on the '58 was surprisingly slim. i expected a very chunky neck, but the profile was almost exactly the same as my 2010 custom. very comfortable with a bit of shoulder, pretty much the same width all the way up and down the neck. -the string action was pretty dang low. too low for my tastes, honestly. no buzz, rang out clearly up and down, but quite low. -the guitar was very light. must've been around 8 pounds. again, not what i was expecting at all. it felt extremely solid, almost like a single piece of wood. kinda hard to describe. -the guitar's finish had worn to an interesting greenish-gold color (see the picture at the end for reference) -the tuning keys felt so, so smooth. i understand the gas for vintage kluson tuners now. tuning up and down was like turning a well-lubed volume pot. -the centralabs pots themselves had a good amount of resistance. they felt totally different than newer cts pots. all of the mechanical parts of this guitar felt like they were extremely accurately machined, like nothing was gonna fall off. this may be an unpopular opinion here, but it's the truth: after the initial elation (again, see the pic attached, lol) i was a bit underwhelmed. i've played lots of reissues that i would prefer playing over this burst. it was kind of a head-clearing moment for me, i realized that even if a guitar is a piece of history, it's gotta fit with the player. there's a great video of bernie marsden talking about reissues vs the real thing, and how he had a friend who had always preferred his old hagstrom to les pauls. i get it! i hope this is interesting to someone. i really enjoyed the guitar show. i met tom and really enjoyed his company, and i also met a wonderful guy named ryan who let me spend way too much time playing his '59 high powered tweed twin and all of his old guitars. tom took this picture of me when i first picked up the guitar - i'm sure i'm not the only one who has had the same reaction.