I also got a private tour of the Gibson Custom Shop, which is a separate division of Gibson, and it was great to see every step involved in the building a guitar. Very talented people working. There are only about a hundred people working there, which is small for a factory, and each person has a very specific job. There were finishes that I had never seen before and that aren't available in the Gibson catalogue. I was told that Japan is a huge client and scoops up a lot of these guitars before they even hit the ground. I saw the two Les Pauls that Joe Perry is having built for the upcoming Aerosmith tour, the Beano guitar (black Les Paul that Clapton played on the John Mayal and the Bluesbreakers record) that Gibson is issuing in a small run and I also got to see Jimmy Page's '59 Les paul re-issue and Kirk Hammett's Exployer that are also being issued in a very small run. These are aged exactly as the original. Every cigarette burn, wear mark, scuff and scratch identical to the original. Thanks to Steve Christmas at Gibson Custom for the 2 hr tour and to Brad Fillatre at Gibson Canada for setting that up.
Here is a television interview I conducted in March.