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Al Kooper's Birthday Bash

A tab of Mike Bloomfield's solo on "East-West"

Four-part radio program on Mike Bloomfield

Photo courtesy of  Elliott Landy

"Michael Bloomfield: If You Love These Blues,"

 by Jan Mark Wolkin & Bill Keenom

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Michael Bloomfield Signature '59 Les Paul Sunburst


Few American guitaRISTS have done more to promote the Gibson Les Paul as the guitar of choice for blues players than Michael Bloomfield.

Two questions are often asked by Bloomfield fans: Where is Michael's '59 Les Paul Standard, and when will Gibson issue a signature Michael Bloomfield Les Paul?

The answer to the first question is at present incomplete. Michael lost the his famed '59 Sunburst when he abandoned it in Canada, probably during a gig in Vancouver in 1974 or '75. The story goes that Michael left before completing the date and the club owner kept the guitar as compensation for his losses. The Sunburst was later sold to a private collector who has preferred to remain anonymous. Wherever its present location, fans can be assured that the instrument is in the hands of someone who knows its value, both as a rare Les Paul and as a revered '60s icon.

As for the second question, the Michael Bloomfield Estate is happy to announce that a Michael Bloomfield signature 1959 Les Paul Standard Sunburst model is now available at Gibson. The company unveiled the model at the NAMM show in January 2009. The Bloomfield family would like to thank Gibson, and particularly Pat Foley, who headed up the project.  This was a major undertaking because they did not have access to the original guitar. A considerable amount of time, using expert guitar technicians and photos of Michael in performance with the '59, went into the forensics of recreating the signature instrument. That care and dedication to getting the nearly-handmade reproduction right is reflected in its cost.







     Says Gibson, "Bloomfield's technique is without equal, and the tone achieved using his beloved Les Paul is one of the most recognizable of all time.


Michael wailing on his '59 Les Paul at the Fillmore West in May 1970.      Photo by Dave Coleman, courtesy of Don Mock



    Michael's '59 Les Paul originally came from Dan Erlewine, the world-renowned guitarist, guitar technician and repair artist. He traded it to Michael for Michael's 1954 Les Paul Goldtop (and $100).

                               Dan Erlewine performing with his blues band, the Prime Movers, in 1966. 

                               He's playing the 1959 Les Paul Standard Sunburst guitar that was to

                               become Michael Bloomfield's in the summer of 1967.  Photo courtesy of Dan Erlewine