NGD: '59 Burst replica with antique wood


V.I.P. Member
May 30, 2015
Reaction score
I shared a couple pics of this guitar in other threads, but here it is in its full glory. This is a '59 Burst replica that was just completed and for which I sourced antique wood. Not old-growth wood as is typically used in builds like this but actual vintage lumber that was milled decades ago, including a gorgeous piece of 100-year-old mahogany for the body. The finished guitar:


Over the years I've developed a friendship with one of the well-known replica builders, and I know that his health isn't the greatest and that he is approaching the end of his days of building great Bursts. I wanted to have one more of his guitars before he retired from the business, and I wanted it to be special. I decided to seek out the oldest and best wood I could find for the build.

A luthier I know likes to say, "the wood in a guitar has to be old enough to have forgotten that it was a tree." Old mahogany - instrument grade as opposed to furniture grade - has become very hard to find. I struck gold when a local luthier supply shop got in a bunch of century-old 'hog salvaged from a steam engine factory in upstate NY (incidentally, the birthplace of Mr. Joe @Jblpplayer Bonamassa).



I sorted through every bit of it to find the best combination of weight and grain type/orientation. The ideal piece was light and tight, and even has some flame to it!


Brazilian rosewood is always a crapshoot from any of the online suppliers, but as luck would have it the same shop had just taken delivery of multiple pallets of salvaged old Braz that I was once again allowed to sort through myself. As soon as I found this piece, it was game over: Jet black and rail straight, without so much as a hint of streaking. Really does look like ebony. It's the one on the far right in this first photo:




The maple took the longest to find. I must have looked at 500 curly maple billets, maybe more, from suppliers near and far before I happened upon this one and fell in love at first sight.



I originally wanted a deep honeyburst color with brown around the edges, but the builder talked me into dirty lemon on account of it showing off the flame top better. He was absolutely right!


For pickups, I went with ReWind True Kalamazoos from esteemed forum brother @cooljuk. These were spec'd to replicate a Burst in the 9 0900 serial range, so I used that exact number for the serial on the guitar, too. A match made in Heaven.



The last guitar I commissioned from this builder had kind of a thick Nitro finish, so this time I asked him to keep it as thin as possible. The results are amazing - the thin Nitro has already checked beautifully, and together with the rolled binding edges it really does look and feel like a very old Lester.



The finished guitar is just beautiful. Looks great, feels amazing and sounds awesome. Weighs in at 8.5 pounds, perfect "full '59" neck carve and graceful dish carve on the top. It's a work of art that I'll treasure from a guy I'm glad to call a friend.




Last edited:


Transducer Producer
Mar 11, 2009
Reaction score
That's a killer guitar!

The top, the FB, the finish.... real beautiful work! I like that there's still come dark around the upper areas and the rim. Most modern LPs in that shade just get shot with a single uniform color, I think. Yours looks a little more genuine.

I might know a guy that has some old wire to go with that old wood if you want those coils rewound.

Latest Threads