In the early 1970s, during the glory years of Mott the Hoople, Mick Ralphs was the instrumental force behind such classics as “All The Way From Memphis” and Mott’s definitive version of David Bowie’s “All The Young Dudes.” Although the group passed some by at the time, Mott has gone down as one of the definitive bands of the 70s – wham-bam glam, but incredible musicians underneath all the paint.

Come 1973, when he split from Mott, Ralphs’ heavyweight riffing would find a home in another of the decade’s most celebrated acts: Bad Company. They’ve been on classic rock radio heavy rotation ever since.

Gibson Mick Ralphs 1958 LP Standard Replica

“I learned to play a lot of rhythm guitar in Mott, because Pete Watts, the bass player, was always at the front doing his thing,” Ralphs explained to Gibson.com. “I needed to play something solid in the rhythm section to tie in with the drums, to tie it all down. For that reason I developed a rhythm style that was very full, where the lead work was secondary. So, when we formed Bad Company, I already knew how to play in that ‘full’ way. That’s something you have to do, in a three-piece. It sort of came naturally.”

With Free’s Paul Rodgers, drummer Simon Kirke and bassist Bozz Burrell, Bad Company was one of the few bands that more than lived up to its “supergroup” tag. Hits such as “Can’t Get Enough,” “Shooting Star” and “Feel Like Makin’ Love” are mere signposts on an incredible map of recordings – and all the while, the “least famous” member Mick Ralphs was at the core.  

Throughout most of his life, Ralphs has been a Gibson man. His signature style needs that full-fat tone. “I always used Les Paul Juniors and a Marshall, throughout Mott. I’ve always been a Gibson man. On one of the very early tours Mott did in America – a tour we did with Mountain – I heard Leslie West play a Junior. I thought, ‘God, that’s the sound I want.’

“Before that I was playing a vintage Goldtop, which also sounded great, but suddenly I became hooked on Juniors, after hearing the huge sound Leslie West got out of it. In the beginnings of Bad Company I continued to use Juniors a great deal. That’s a Les Paul Junior on the solos on “Can’t Get Enough.” In fact Paul [Rodgers] played a Junior as well, on the solo of “Can’t Get Enough” during the live shows. I showed him the harmony part and we played it together live. Later I got into the Les Pauls, the ‘bursts, when we were touring America around ’74 or ’75.”

Gibson Mick Ralphs 1958 LP Standard Replica

The Mick Ralphs 1958 Les Paul Standard Replica

Gibson Custom has now painstakingly replicated one of Ralph’s favorite LPs from those Bad Company glory days, and it’s stunning. The classic construction of an original ‘Burst is replicated and via digital scanning every detail has been examined and recreated. Its unique patina and mapped wear and checking patterns – for which the famous ‘58-’60 Bursts are legendary – is here called a Ralphs Burst. Jumbo frets and C-profile ‘58 neck make this guitar a truly meaty Les Paul to play.

Gibson Mick Ralphs 1958 LP Standard Replica

The Mick Ralphs 1958 Les Paul Standard Replica – original serial #8 7049 – acts as two things: an unrivalled replication of a classic ‘Burst which is superbly playable and also highly collectible: but also a tribute to one of the most underrated riff rockers of a golden era.

Ralphs has been unwell after a stroke in recent months – and the Gibson family wishes him a speedy recovery – but he is well enough to acclaim this replica as “superb.” Watch the video here of his son Jim Ralphs explaining the importance of getting this guitar made and an interview with the LP’s current owner, John Marlow.

The Mick Ralphs 1958 Les Paul Standard Replica is a strict limited edition of only 300 – befitting for a guitar that has its own unique place in rock history. Full Mick Ralphs Les Paul Standard specs here. Seek one out: we promise, you can’t get enough of this one.