By Stephen Pate – When the US Government raided Gibson Guitar in 2011 under the Lacey Act as if Gibson was some crack house on the down side of town, Gibson paid a $300,000 fine to beat the rap.
Many wondered if the heavy hand of Presidential politics was the agenda to bust America's well-loved 120-year-old guitar maker.
The crime: Gibson had some wood from a foreign country that was endangered, or at least that's the cover story for the G-Men on the raid.
After the raid, it was reported that C.F.Martin, another guitar maker with the same foreign wood in their inventory, contributed $35,000 to President Obama's re-election fund and Gibson didn't.
To show their Heart-of-Rock-and-Roll, Gibson have issued a one-time Government Tan Les Paul from the seized rosewood, which the government returned in the settlement. Apparently the US government needed the Madagascar ebony so they kept that species.
The Dirty Fingers+ pickups on the Gibson Government Series II Less Paul are hot so I'd expect the guitar to growl with bad attitude.
Gibson Government Series II Les Paul
The Government Series II also comes in the SG, Explorer and Flying V models, is in limited supply and will not be made after the seized wood runs out. The Gibson Government Series II guitars are hard to find at this point.
Gibson Government Series II back and neck
From the pictures, the finish looks utilitarian, like a government issue. The wood grain is quite obvious through the "vintage gloss" tan finish and the headstock looks rough. While the guitar is a Les Paul Standard, you are getting attitude not a polished finish.
In case you are wondering, there was a previous Government Series in grey.
Government Series II Les Paul
Gibson – Great Gibson electric guitars have long been a means of fighting the establishment, so when the powers that be confiscated stocks of tonewoods from the Gibson factory in Nashville-only to return them once there was a resolution and the investigation ended-it was an event worth celebrating. Introducing the Government Series II Les Paul, a striking new guitar from Gibson USA for 2014 that suitably marks this infamous time in Gibson's history.
From its solid mahogany body with modern weight relief for enhance resonance and playing comfort, to its carved maple top, the Government Series II Les Paul follows the tradition of the great Les Paul Standards-but also makes a superb statement with its unique appointments. A distinctive vintage-gloss Government Tan finish, complemented by black-chrome hardware and black plastics and trim, is topped by a pickguard that's hot-stamped in gold with the Government Series graphic-a bald eagle hoisting a Gibson guitar neck. Each Government Series II Les Paul also includes a genuine piece of Gibson USA history in its solid rosewood fingerboard, which is made from wood returned to Gibson by the US government after the resolution.
And because it's a Gibson, the Government Series II Les Paul is a pure and powerful tone machine. Aided by a pair of Dirty Fingers+ pickups, among the hottest humbuckers Gibson has ever produced, this historic Les Paul is ready and willing to wage war on tonal timidity-and to get you heard in the process! Add a set of high-quality Grover™ tuners, a black hardshell case with Government Series graphic, a Certificate of Authenticity personally signed by Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, and legendary Gibson quality and craftsmanship: this is one mighty Les Paul that you'll want to confiscate quickly and turn to your own creative devices. The Government Series II is limited by the availability of qualifying woods, so seize yours now from your authorized Gibson USA dealer.
The Government Series II Les Paul is crafted in the image of the original Les Paul Standard, with a carved maple top and solid mahogany back with modern weight relief for improved playing comfort and enhanced resonance. The glued-in mahogany neck features a comfortably rounded late-'50s profile, while the unbound fingerboard-with a Corian™ nut, 22 frets and traditional trapezoid inlays just like the very first Gibson Les Pauls-is made from solid rosewood returned to Gibson by the US government.. And, the guitar looks superb with its unique Government Tan finish in vintage-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer.
Pickups and Electronics
The guitar carries a pair of Gibson's super-hot Dirty Fingers+ pickups for maximum rock action. Among the most powerful humbuckers Gibson has ever produced, these will drive your amp of choice into über-crunch and singing lead tones, while cleaning up beautifully for subtler moments. They're mounted "open coil" with no covers, and wired through the traditional four-knob control section with three-way selector switch.
A classic Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece anchor it all down for outstanding resonance and sustain, while Grover™ tuners represent a significant upgrade up top-all plated in black chrome. Plastics are all black, and the black pickguard is hot-stamped in gold with the Government Series eagle graphic.
By Stephen Pate, NJN Network