Engineers from EnergySolutions just made music class a lot cooler.

In their spare time, the men made 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard guitars as a hobby. On Thursday, they donated their prototype to McLoughlin Middle School in Pasco to be used in guitar classes.

Paul Townson is a vice president for technology development and leads the group of engineers. His wife is the guitar teacher at the school.

The idea came from his team member Bill Willis, who builds musical instruments as a hobby. After finding plans for a ’59 Les Paul on the Internet, he asked if his coworkers would like to pitch in and buy materials in bulk to save money. Working on their days off for about 6 months, the group finished three guitars and have several more to complete.

Townson’s wife recognized the appeal the prototype would have to students.

“She has hundreds of kids passing through her classes each day,” he said. “Some don’t excel academically, but they get really fired up about the guitar.”

The instrument is appealing for its historical value, Townson explained.

“It’s an instantly recognizable classic guitar.”

The original had a beautiful tone, he added. Many musicians still play the model today for its qualities, but not necessarily for its design.

“It’s very heavy. It weighs an absolute ton,” he said.

Local musician Dave Tedeschi showed off the instrument Thursday at a concert of all Pasco School District guitar students at Chiawana High School.

“It got the kids drooling. It works and sounds amazing,” he said.