In this day and age, the Gibson Les Paul Florentine is one of a multitude of guitars, electric, acoustic and semi-acoustic, available to the discerning guitar player. A stylish, sleek-looking and smooth playing guitar, the Les Paul Florentine unfortunately is no longer mass-produced. Any guitar player desiring this warm-sounding classic will have to hunt one down. However, the versatility of the tones, the man-made - as opposed to machine-made - neck and frets, and the aesthetic beauty of the Florentine make it a must-have for any guitarist that likes substance with their style. Although rare and usually expensive, the Florentine is still a very desirable guitar for serious players.
Brief History of the Gibson Les Paul Florentine
The Florentine was made for the public through the years 1995 to 1999. Although it is no longer commercially available, it can still be purchased in Gibson custom shops. As a Gibson guitar, it remained faithful to the now classic Les Paul shape. It was a semi-hollow-bodied guitar, with two "F" holes, and was usually made from maple. They were available originally in three colors:
- Vintage sunburst
- Wine red
The frets and inlays were handmade, with the inlays usually being mother-of-pearl. The pick-ups were classic '57 Humbuckers. Although Gibson officially ceased production on these guitars, they can still be purchased through Gibson custom shops, as well as through auction websites and musician's classifieds.
The guitar itself tended to be a lot lighter than the traditional Les Paul guitars. The lighter body could often cause the guitar head stock to drop downwards while a guitarist was playing. This was a problem for those guitarists who liked to play with the neck held high and at an angle. In the end, Gibson ceased production as it became too expensive to produce a light, semi-hollow-bodied guitar that would keep a consistent quality of tone.
Features of the Les Paul Florentine
A few features of the Gibson Les Paul Florentine make it a desirable guitar for the serious guitarist. In terms of its sound, it is a highly versatile piece of musical machinery. Some of its other features include:
- Two volume controls
- Two tone controls
- Three-way switch
- One-piece mahogany neck
- Semi-hollow body structure
Often, guitarists who purchased Florentines would change the pick-ups, generally reporting a nice suitability between the guitar itself and various different pick-ups. This resulted in a wide variety of tones and settings that made the Florentine a necessity for any guitarist with a wide-ranging repertoire of music to play.
The Florentine also came in a number of finishes, particularly with the arrival of the later Florentine Plus model. Some of these finishes were:
- Black metallic
- Concord purple
- Midnight blue
- Root beer
- Rosa red
- Translucent black
These finishes complimented the classic Gibson Les Paul design, to produce a guitar that not only looked smooth, but played smooth too.
Where to buy a Florentine
As mentioned before, in terms of production for the mass public, Gibson no longer makes Les Paul Florentines. They can, however, be purchased from Gibson custom shops. As expected, this means that the guitar will cost a lot more money than if it were purchased "off-the-peg", so to speak. The Gibson custom shop is one such place. Here, Gibson will make the guitar from their original template, ensuring a high quality product with an unmatched fidelity to the original Florentine. Other such places to buy a Florentine are:
The Gibson Les Paul Florentine is a recognized short-run classic. Even now - almost ten years after production ceased on this wonderful guitar - there is still a demand for them from guitarists who know what look and sound they want from their instrument.