ProGuitarShop

Holy Grail?! 1956 Les Paul Goldtop!

October 26, 2013

Though Andy is the unofficial "face" of PGS, as you can imagine our little crew is full of characters. One such character is our own Dan Black, resident hellraiser and accidental guitar collector. Dan has worked in the guitar industry for most of his life and as a youngster working at Hoffman Music in Spokane, he's had a slate of amazing guitars cross his path. Sometimes a guitar crosses your path and keeps going, continuing on its journey into someone else's hands--but sometimes a guitar jumps in your hands and she (or he!) never leaves. This week in the Corner, we're showing off Dan's gorgeous 1956 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop.

 

Says Dan:

"In the 80s, this kid came through Hoffman Music and he was a student at WSU. He had this Les Paul for sale and the original case for the guitar had 'Molly Hatchett' on it. He had some documentation, some papers, that indicated that it had been owned by a Molly Hatchett guitarist-- I never verified it; the kid didn't want a ton of money for it so I jumped on it and bought it. I've always been more of a Fender guy, but the P-90s in this sound amazing through a tweed Bassman, just a growly, barking SOB of a guitar!"

 

Having the guitar in the office has been a real treat for all of us-- it's nice to have a guitar around that has a real history and has seen some action. None of Dan's guitars are strict collector pieces-- he uses them when they're right for the gig and refuses to officially "retire" any of them. With a guitar this sweet, no wonder...!

 

Check out the gallery below and as always-- please share your own collecting (whether accidental or purposeful!) experiences in the comments! (PS, any Molly Hatchet/Dave Hlubeck fans that can corroborate this guitar's supposed origin story?! Let us know!)... PS- while this isn't THE Holy Grail for Les Paul collectors, it IS pretty freaking sweet. Grant us that, okay?!

 

Comments

  1. crimson blues says:

    absolutely love this! I had the opportunity to play a very nice ‘56 black beauty in new york. That was the first time I realized how amazing those old p90s were. Serious serious musical tone. The guitar was like $50K…but I still dream. It was at Retrofret in Brooklyn. Amazing shop, nothing like it in the SF bay area where I live.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 8:58 am
  2. JB says:

    So is it for sale?

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 9:12 am
  3. Isaac says:

    Pure michigan beauty. :)  Love the 50’s Pauls. Of course 58 and 9 were definitely some of the best guitars ever. :)

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 9:15 am
  4. Jamie Cranford says:

    right on! glad to see this fine guitar out in the world and not in some glass case in someone’s house that has more money than talent! Guitars were built for GUITARISTS not COLLECTORS!

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 9:17 am
  5. Joe Riggio says:

    Very cool guitar, but it’s a 1968 model.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 9:25 am
  6. Wilbur says:

    so…. when do we get to HEAR it?

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 9:30 am
  7. jimbob says:

    This is sweet. I’m not a Les Paul guy either but just the story about it belonging to Molly Hatchett and I would have pulled the trigger on it too.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 9:32 am
  8. Steve Romig says:

    This is a sweetheart. I love p90’s and I own a few guitars with them on and they all sound different.
    My new Variax, which is my main gigging guitar, is a 59P and they have to be the sweetest nuttiest P90’s I’ve ever heard. It looks kinds like the 56 Gibson.
    It’d be great to own the real deal though.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 9:37 am
  9. Rod McClure says:

    It really does look like a `68 with that wide binding in the cutaway and the reflector top knobs!

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 9:39 am
  10. Greg says:

    I’m curious, Joe—how can you tell it’s a ‘68?

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 9:40 am
  11. Bruce Miller says:

    Looks like the 68 to me. The binding near the cutaway is the giveaway. In 56 you could see part of the maple top just below the binding..also the knobs didn;t have volume and tone printed in them. Sorry to decool the guitar. I’m sure it’s still a nice one..just younger.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 9:53 am
  12. Joe Riggio says:

    The features just add up: The wide binding at the cutaway that hides the exposed maple that you see on the 50’s guitars, all of the hardware is chrome, reflector knobs, inlay material and the high placement of the “Gibson” logo. Very cool guitar though!

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 9:58 am
  13. Greg says:

    Thanks for the answer.

    Love the “volume” and “tone” printed on the knobs.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:01 am
  14. Rod McClure says:

    The Tune-O-Matic has had the saddles replaced too.  They look like they came off a later gold bridge.  In `68 the saddles were made of nylon.  Whatever the case, those aren’t original saddles!

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:01 am
  15. Steve Campbell says:

    So is it a ‘68?  Also why is this article dated October 26?

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:02 am
  16. Albert Madariaga says:

    Dang, some of you guys really know your guitars!  I haven’t studied their history much, nonetheless, ‘56 or ‘68, it’s still a fine guitar.  I applaud Dan for playing it out.  No guitar should ever be tucked away.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:05 am
  17. Mark E. Van Arsdall says:

    I’ll bet it wails! The bridge looks a bit collapsed to my eye, though. Maybe it’s time to clamp it straight. Or, wrap it up for safe keeping and drop a replacement on.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:08 am
  18. Rod McClure says:

    `68’s were fine instruments in there own rights.  They had long tenons and they often used up old stock pickups on them too.  You could custom order them with humbuckers and they’d often have real PAFs in them!

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:15 am
  19. Jim Sliff says:

    Yeah, I’m afraid not enough research was done before publication.

    The wide binding in the cutaway absolutely eliminates it as a ‘56 and classifies it as ‘68 or later.

    Still a nice guitar (most likely) - but NOT what the article is attempting to describe.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:17 am
  20. Dave says:

    . I’d leave it in the case and save it from the fawning drunks who would want to pick it up at a gig. Or, better yet, I’d sell it to some rich guy and buy a lot of stuff from PGS!

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:25 am
  21. Atomic says:

    I really fell for a relic-ed ‘56 Stratocaster in Sherwood Green I saw on a website a couple of years ago.  It had GREAT tone.  The ad said it was at the recent NAMM show.  Turns out it was one of Dale Wilson’s “thesis” guitars.  After the show, he was named a Masterbuilder.  I asked the salesman if he thought Dale would sign the back of the headstock.  “Yes” was the answer from the Fender Custom Shop.  Two weeks later, my new Strat was at my door with Dale’s signature on the back of the headstock, hand-signed with a Sharpie.  It is even mentioned in his profile on the shop’s website.  Thank you, Dale.  It is one special guitar.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:34 am
  22. Kevin LaBrie says:

    Joe Riggio is right. It’s a 68 or after ,[What are the serial number’s? }you can tell by the binding on the cutaway. It’s thicker than a 50’s.Still a cool guitar. I have a black 72 standard bought for 300 bucks in 84 .still have it.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:53 am
  23. Bernardo Gui says:

    THAT GUITAR REEKS OF MOJO !

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 11:12 am
  24. James Grant says:

    Heavenly, absolutely heavenly

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 11:14 am
  25. Bob Smith says:

    Rod, I’m pretty sure the PAFs in 68 thing is a myth for two reasons:
    1. No full sized humbucker equipped single cut Les Pauls in 68 except the Customs with the gold pickups. The “Deluxe” models had the mini-hums.
    2. The chrome covered PAFs were gone by 62, occasional single pickups on later guitars but all gone by the late 60s.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 11:30 am
  26. Thomas Raven says:

    No used guitar purchase story is complete without the purchase PRICE.  How much was paid for this 68 in “the 80s”?

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 11:34 am
  27. dave davis says:

    I spotted the knobs right off. Forgot about the cutaway binding, though. Wonder why it was suspected as a ‘56…the serial number should have been the first clue - it would have had a 6 in the first position with a space and four other numbers.  It is cool,  though.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 11:41 am
  28. Rod McClure says:

    Hey Bob, I’d agree except that I had one.  It was a special order in cherry sunburst with full-size humbuckers.  They were PAFs.  It cost me $75 extra for the special order!  I know of that one for sure and I’ve read that the Strings And Things’ early “replicas” commonly had PAFs too, as well as some old tops and assorted other parts.  Apparently there was still a lot of miscellaneous stuff floating around at Gibson after they ceased production of the single cutaway Les Pauls in late `60 or early `61.  I know you could still special order a Standard well into `61 because I had one of those too.  It had a Tulip inlay on the headstock instead of the silk-screened Les Paul logo too for some reason.  It was a fabulous guitar and I wished I’d kept it, but I Sold it to Gruhn in `79 for $2,500, which was a darned good price then…...

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 11:58 am
  29. William T Branch says:

    Nothing against LPs, I have one.  But why is it the old ones have cracks in the paint like this.  I do not recall seeing any old Fenders with this type of wear (I have 5 Fenders)  I would much rather play an old Strat or Tele, That’s just my preference, but like I said I have 1 Les Paul.  The LP is one I play the least.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm
  30. Michael d williams says:

    Funny story- I had the SN 349 54 strat and a 59 strat both purchased at pawn shops in the early 70’s ( around 300 buck each ) and I sold both of them in the 90’s for a handsome sum-Regret selling them for one reason only - THERE WORTH MORE and I would have made more today LOL , I’m in my mid 50’s and I play PRS guitars from the 80’ thru 90’s and never really looked back , I think the folks today really pay a lot of attention to detail and lets face it most of the guy’s that had old fenders replaced the pups,etc
    I really think this is the golden age for both Guitars and amps . I still do get a thrill playing through my almost 50 year old Twin reverb though

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 12:21 pm
  31. LarryC says:

    I saw Molly Hatchett at the Trocadero in Philly in ‘86 and Dave was playing a really cool ‘57 Goldtop with humbuckers that night.We met him afterwards and I asked him about the guitar.He said he had gotten it from Charlie Daniels.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm
  32. Rod McClure says:

    Michael - I agree with you wholeheartedly - This IS a golden age for guitars.  I’ve been around long enough to renumber how inconsistent guitars really were back from the 50’s and 60’s.  The 70’s absolutely stunk for the most part.  That’s when the Japanese started hitting their stride and got their act together.  Between CBS and Norlin plumbing and brewery, Fender and Gibson were pushed into “profit mode” and quality suffered.  To be fair, there were some gems here and there, but not many.  These days we have much more accurate and consistent machining capabilities globally and build quality has never been better overall.  You can buy very inexpensive guitars that are absolutely phenomenal in playability and sound.  The only thing missing are the old growth hard woods that were commonly available in the 50’s and 60’s.  Even there, you can still get amazing quality guitars built with the finest old growth wood & all by contracting any number of fabulously skilled independent luthiers to build you a masterpiece.  We’re at a point where all of these modern factions have the advantage of looking back through the years and picking and choosing what worked best.  Same with amps.  There is virtually no vintage amp that can’t be surpassed by today’s makers.  Whether you want simple clones historic pieces or amazing and innovative new products, there has simply never been a point in history where you had the amazing array of choices that are currently available.  I’ve owned a `54 Strat and 4 `59 Les Pauls (1 Standard and 3 Juniors) and several hundred other “vintage” axes.  They were were great instruments, but I have about 50 more modern guitars of all types today that give me the same or greater satisfaction when I play them.  I still love the vintage stuff, but I see a lot of gear today that will definitely be considered “vintage” in years to come as well. All hail the Renaissance!

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 12:53 pm
  33. Joe Riggio says:

    William: The cracking, or “checking” is normal for any guitar finished in nitrocellulose lacquer. Some do it more than others, depending on the environment they have been exposed to through the years. The process can even be encouraged and sped up, as you can see in these restorations from my website: www.ServiceGuitarRepair.com

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm
  34. Ken says:

    What a beautiful older lady. I love the cracking in the finish and the way the whole picks up and reflects the light. But that bridge is in pretty rough shape. Does it effect it’s playability?

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm
  35. guitarrista#5 says:

    I think the whole vintage guitar and amp thing is interesting. The truth is the vintage guitars (and amps too) have a unique sound and to some that sound is better than the guitars produced post cbs. I agree with that up to a certain point. Frankly, I don’t care if the guitar was made in 1959 or 1969 or 1989. The questions I have about this guitar are Does it sound good? Does it feel good in your hands when you play it? Do you like the way it looks? Can you bond with this instrument? I had a Japanese telecaster in the 1980’s. It was a great guitar, nothing wrong with it at all. For some very stupid reason I didn’t like this guitar although I could find nothing wrong with this guitar.
    I ended up selling it. The bottom line is this if you like this guitar, who really cares if it belonged to Molly Hatchet. That’s nice to know and all and if you can prove I sure that will add some value to the guitar should you decide to sell it. Collectors collect guitars but guitar players PLAY guitars and if the guitar or guitars in question do not suite your purpose what the point in having it? You seem to like this Les Paul and I wish you many years of happiness with it.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm
  36. Richard Grosser says:

    Fantastic.  I have seen Gibson trying to do a CNC of this style of natural crazing, but up close it looks faux http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-Custom/Michael-Bloomfield-1959-Les-Paul-Standard.aspx.  I have never yet heard a really ‘matched’ duplicate to the aged gnarl that these P-90’s create, despite the aged re-issue and NOS categories assigned to them.  It’s a gem!  ‘Hope that you find a worthy young candidate to bequeath it to? ‘Regards from Oz, :-R

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 2:04 pm
  37. Jim Gross says:

    I just spent over an hour typing, what I feel is a very interesting story about owning “Vintage” guitars and how it can also be a :frustrating experience. I own a “Vintage-Handmade In the U.S.A.” late 60’s/early 70’s BCRich-only 15 to 20 ever made. After all this time typing-I’m a two fingered “hunt and peck” typist, this blog won’t accept my post because it was 6900 characters and only 5000 are allowed. Why the f%*# didn’t it say this on the blog page or in the “Leave a comment” section B4 I did all this typing?

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm
  38. DENIEL EDWARDS says:

    I HAVE A LARGE COLLECTION OF GUITARS FROM THE 50’S TO PRESENT,WAY TO MUCH EMPHASIS IS PLACED ON VINTAGE GUITARS. I HAVE SOME NEWER GUITARS THAT BLOW AWAY VINTAGE AND VICE VERSE,IT SEEMS TO ME PEOPLE SPEND THERE WHOLE LIFE DROOLING OVER GUITARS THEY CAN’T AFFORD WHAT A WASTE F TIME.I CAN PLAY A NEWER LES PAUL MODIFIED NEXT TO MY VINTAGE PAUL AND I DARE ANYONE TELL THE DIFFERENCE.I SAVE SPEND MORE TIME WRITING ORIGINAL SONGS AND STOP WORRYING ABOUT VINTAGE GUITARS PRICED THROUGH THE ROOF.ARE THEY WORTH ALL THAT CASH TO ME I SAY NO.ROCK STEADY. DENIEL EDWARDS/GUITARIST WRITER,PRODUCER.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm
  39. Davis Turner says:

    Just thought I’d let you know that I used to own that very guitar. I can tell by the cracked headstock where the tuner broke off. It’s a 68 reissue that was given to Dave by Charlie Daniels. I bought in a pawnshop in Jacksonville Florida where Dave used to take his extra gear when he needed coke money. You can also tell by the large binding that its a 68. It did not come with a case when I got it. I sold it to a vintage dealer in Gainsville Florida. I think I still have the original bridge with the plastic saddles.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm
  40. papaB says:

    hmm..
    Pretty but a rich man’s toy.  Possibly worse.. an object that collects dust for a collector.

    maybe I’m in the wrong forum. I gotta say it. How does such a guitar keep music developing in the street? Don’t get me wrong, I still have my 40-year-old guitars but my chinese gretsch is now giving me more service on stage.

    Other makes are producing GOOD sounding playable guitars that do pretty much everything that our old ones do. Sorry. Why isn’t gibson?

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 4:05 pm
  41. Triad999 says:

    I miss my mutt 68 ES335 with the original bridge and and the Gretsch filtertron in the neck. I sold it during hard times after I got out of the service along with a couple of others I wish I still had. Still kicking myself, I own all custom made instruments now and as awesome as they are, there is nothing like the feel of an old well played and well worn guitar. I assume my current crop will carry that same mystique for my daughter and who ever they wind up with after my passing. There is just nothing like a guitar with a previous life, ...especially if that previous life was yours.

    “There’s only two things to remember. Number one, don’t stop and number two, keep going”.
    ~Frank Zappa

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 4:43 pm
  42. Adam says:

    it’s cool and all, but I thought they made things to last back in the day?  that looks really rough in an ugly kind of way….not that it matters if it sounds killer I guess. rock on!

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm
  43. sinta says:

    Brownsville Texas LV Canada replaced McAllen, Texas as the country’s atomic busline area. San Jose, Calif. took the top Louis Vuitton Canada atom as the wealthiest busline area, replacing Louis Vuitton Handbags Washington, D.C. 24/7 Wall St. advised the city areas with the cheap beats by dre accomplished and everyman average incomes.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm
  44. Ivo says:

    Perhaps this one
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxBzUZ1q7Vw

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm
  45. luke67 says:

    This IS great ! I haver one exploere Gisbson from teh 1991 to sale in one mint condition this was never played because his was in one rock bar on the wall for showing . Send one mail for i send Pics from this exeptionnel guitar

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 8:43 pm
  46. Johnny Free says:

    Come on guys. You should know better than that. This is a 1968 Goldtop, not a ‘56 Les Paul Standard. Thick binding on the cutaway, bridge and tailpiece, 60’s reflector knobs are dead giveaways. That being said, that’s a VERY sweet guitar and looks like it has been played a lot. So this means that it sounds and plays amazing!

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 8:52 pm
  47. Jimi Mac says:

    What, no sound-check/demo vid???

    I really wanna hear that axe!

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 9:45 pm
  48. john says:

    You guys not knowing this is a post ‘68 kind of disqualifies any other guitar information you try to give us. That binding giveaway is like les paul 101 learning. This really makes you look bad.  Especially when you say dan is a guitar collector?

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 9:49 pm
  49. Mark Gardiner says:

    @ Jim Gross - why did you not just post you 6900 word post in two halves???  - DOH!

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:11 pm
  50. Chris says:

    Yep, definitely a 68 as others have said. My father has a 1968 that he purchased in the very early 70s. Previous owner had it rerouted for full size humbuckers, has grovers meant for a fender installed, and has a sunburst finish OVER the gold top, and the requisite headstock break. Still kicks ass.
    Pics here: http://carscatsandmusic.tumblr.com/post/41115012464/dads-1968-gibson-les-paul-he-purchased-this-in

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm
  51. Frank Spero says:

    like the man said a gold top with P-90s through a fender bassman who needs a TS-8 tube screamer the distortion is beautiful I luckily had a 68’ gold top 56’ reissue I played it through an old bassman black tolex piggy back absolutely out of this world

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 11:45 pm
  52. Mr G says:

    I love that the Klusons are still on it!

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 11:53 pm
  53. J.C.Lee says:

    I know the excitment of an old Les Paul.I have a ‘54 gold top my dad gave me in ‘75.I spotted the binding deffence right away.It does puzzle me why ya’ll thought this was a ‘56,so many clues it wasn’t.I am not going to be harsh about losing your credibility but ya’ll should know this stuff.My dad was a gibson dealer for many years.I purchased many old fine guitars ffrom guys needing cash alot of them college kids.Back then alot of them where just used guitars…aaugh wish I knew then what I know now.Alas I keep my ‘56 in a safe but I do play it.I do not tell just anyone I have it also.I had a guitar stolen once and you nver get over it.I would like it out all the time but it would be gone if I did. I have another “safe” closet with locking metal doors that the rest of my bass colection resides.I play bass regularly but rarely get to play guitar. And how do I know the Les Paul is a 54, one reason win my dad got it was not playable and he sent it to Gibson and had it restored.You CAN see the maple top in the cutaway that has the thinner binding.I removed the wrap around bridge and replaced it with “badass” bridge without any modifacations to the guitar.This things stays intune forever.Plays wonderful.Has plenty of personality.For some reason some of these 54 models did not have a serial number at all.This was told us by Gibson Mine does not have a serial number.Yes I would sell it but it would not be cheap.

    posted on October 26, 2013 at 11:58 pm
  54. Walt says:

    Sending a link to two original Molly Hatchet members to see who might have some insight as to who the owner was.

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 1:25 am
  55. Jim H says:

    I love the way the old gold top finishes crack! Some of those cracks make the wildest patterns, some look like modern art, some look like circuit board traces. I call them “crackle-bursts!” Great guitar!

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 1:28 am
  56. warren says:

    I agree with Deniel Edwards why think about trying to purchase a vintage instument at thousand s of dollars . Maybe I should morgage my house to buy a les paul .  I have a 90s les paul I am very happy with plays well ,the same as the 335 both are not vintage instruments but would not trade them for anythng .

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 1:40 am
  57. RJR says:

    The earliest that guitar can be is a 1968.  While the thick binding in the cutaway is the real “tell”, the headstock logo is up high, whereas 1956 LP Standards had the logo lower on the headstock.  Also, while parts such as tuners, bridge, tailpiece, studs, and knobs can easily be replaced on a 50s guitar, said parts on this guitar are not 50’s, in that the tuners are late 60’s, as are the chrome (not nickel) bridge, chrome tailpiece, chrome studs, and late reflector knobs, wherein the amber toggle tip is obviously a reissue.  Other things to look for include the headstock angle (17 degrees on older guitars, 14 degrees starting around1965-66, which is hard to tell without a direct comparison).  Many of the younger guys don’t really know these things off of the top of their heads, and I can’t blame them as the old guitars were more available 30-40 years ago to see, with the exception being vintage guitar shows. While I’ve learned a bit since the late 70s, there are fanatics that can tell everything about an old guitar without even opening the case…guys that have owned hundreds or more of old Gibsons and Fenders starting back 40+ years ago.  Speaking of vintage guitar shows, the younger guys who may have an interest should know to not be afraid to walk up to a dealer and ask questions about an old guitar they find interesting, as most of the long-timers (look for gray hair, no hair, or obvious dye jobs) enjoy sharing their knowledge, assuming they’re not too busy trying to do a deal.

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 2:08 am
  58. Davis Turner says:

    Banner Thomas played in my band after his falling out with Hatchet. He also worked for Paulus music downtown Jacksonville where my wife worked and did guitar repairs. My wife did repairs for Ralph’s pawn on Main st Jacksonville where I found the guitar. This was 89 or 90. I bought the guitar 400 bucks due to the crack in the headstock. Allen who ran the pawn shop, told me the Charlie Daniels gifted story that Dave told him. I traded the guitar to Mike Bulware a well known collector in Gainsville Fl for a 63 tele. I played the guitar for about a year before I traded. I replaced the saddles on the bridge that came off a explorer and changed the tuners. I know I’ve still got the original tuners.

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 3:08 am
  59. Chris says:

    Wow… what a find! Sure would be nice to hear that through the vintage Bassman. Those P90s sound So good through a vintage tube amp. Can we WIN THIS GUITAR?

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 3:14 am
  60. Rod McClure says:

    Another quick way of determining those late `60’s models is that the serial numbers were stamped with steel punches so the numbers were actually embossed into the wood.  `60 and before had inked serial numbers.  Even by the end of `68 Gibson started making them with 3-piece laminated necks.  Early `70s brought the volute and pancake bodies and did away with the long tenons and pronounced dishing on the maple tops..  By the mid `70s, most of them made for good boat anchors, but they were pretty dead sounding from all the manufacturing changes that Norlin instituted.  I always kind of chuckle to myself whenever I see a modern re-issue of a mid `70’s Deluxe & such because I avoided them like the plague when they originally came out back in the `70s….

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 3:52 am
  61. Tidepoolbay says:

    Nice guitar!

    Woof!

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 4:13 am
  62. Ken says:

    Jim Gross,
    I would go to Pro Guitar Shop’s web page and find their contact email address. Send them what you have and maybe they’ll publish it. I’ve contacted them about an idea I had for an article and they responded. Give it a shot!

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 4:15 am
  63. darrell dempsey says:

    It’s still a thing of Beauty !! And always will be !!!!!!

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 6:31 am
  64. LarryC says:

    I stand corrected….it must have been this guitar that Dave had in ‘86.I definitely remember the Charlie Daniels gift story.And I remember it sounded fantastic!

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 7:45 am
  65. Dan Black says:

    Hey All - Dan Black here (owner of pictured Les Paul) ... Sorry for the mis-info concerning the year on this one but we have a number of these “old guys” being passed around the shop and I’m thinking this one possibly got put in the wrong case prior to the photo shoot. With that said the rest of the info is accurate as memory serves and thanks to Sarah and crew at PGS for putting this piece together. It’s been a blast to read all the posts and Jacob’s photos really do capture the MOJO of this one! I’ve played it off and on since it joined the family and I must say it always makes for great conversation and really does have the sound you would expect when you turn the “SOB” up loud! By no means do I claim to be an “expert collector” but through spending all these years in the biz have ended up with a humble collection of some fun “hunks of wood”. To all you real “experts” out there thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise!!

    “Play em don’t store em”... Best, Dan

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 9:05 am
  66. Jim Gross says:

    to: Mark Gardiner-because I had it all typed out once and didn’t feel like even re-typing half of it again. Thank you

    to Ken: That is a good idea and I thank you for your suggestion-I will look into it. I do think that, at least, some people will find it very interesting. You never know what you might run across-when and where, or for how much or how little. Some people have gems that they just don’t know what they have and sometimes you can come across some real “deals”. The more “rare’ the guitar,however, can lead to some incredibly frustrating searching for credibility and credential authentication. Thanks-Jim

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 10:00 am
  67. Gouden Bovenkant says:

    ‘59 LP? Meh…whatever…

    ‘56 Gold Top LP __IS__   THE Holy Grail for me. Bonus if it has a Bigsby…

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm
  68. Mark Gardiner says:

    Was reading all the comments regarding the cracked finish to the lacquer and paint and have to say that nothing has changed with Gibson. Even my 2007 ungigged Les Paul Studio is showing the same process. All it does is stand on its stand in the dining room of my house in UK - exposed to non extreme weather or climate and NOT near any direct light or heat source.

    http://media-cache-cd0.pinimg.com/originals/25/c9/16/25c916b75ad19888e879d2c1f9c66018.jpg

    posted on October 27, 2013 at 10:52 pm
  69. Jim Gross says:

    to: Mark Gardiner
      I have a 2004 Les Paul Custom (Alpine White) There is no “cracked” finish nor any degradation of the “gold” hardware on mine. Maybe you should have kept it in a case-DOH!

    posted on October 28, 2013 at 12:05 am
  70. Droog says:

    Not a 1956 Les Paul.  Figured “proguitarshop.com” might have been able to figure that out.

    posted on October 28, 2013 at 1:34 am
  71. Freddo-about-Town says:

    An older relative of mine bought a gold-top with serial no. 50, back in his youth, and he recently sold it for an undisclosed amount.  He kept it in mint condition as he played at home, so the guitar didn’t suffer the bumps and bangs of a travelling musician’s instrument.  I would have loved to have been able to afford this gem of a guitiar, or at least been invited to plug it in and play it, as I have never heard vintage P90s before.

    posted on October 28, 2013 at 4:36 am
  72. Frank Spero says:

    my 68-9’ cost me the huge sum of four guitars and 44.00 that’s forty four dollars the four guitars were an old beat up Gibson LGi-O a warped neck no name 12 string and a early 60’ s tele white with rosewood the electrics were going on idon’t remember the fourth one but I think it was my Gibson 125 TD that was in pretty good shape this all happened in about 1970-72

    posted on October 28, 2013 at 5:52 am
  73. Elijah 28NvMbR says:

    Is it for sale? I would strongly consider adding it to my Les Paul collection. Especially before some hoarder like Joe Bonamassa comes along, swinging his arrogance and vanity around. There are plenty of others collectors out there. Joe is just oblivious to them. Bwahahaha!

    posted on October 28, 2013 at 6:45 am
  74. Simon says:

    FWIW I know very little about vintage Les Pauls but I do have a 2006 standard Goldtop with P90’s and the binding in the cutaway is the narrower type so you can see the maple cap.

    posted on October 28, 2013 at 7:29 am
  75. Helder says:

    I don’t think it’s a ‘58 because of the wide binding on the cutaway. Just gives it away there

    posted on October 28, 2013 at 8:12 am
  76. R Lee Fine says:

    I’ve had a 76 custom in wine red stain since 83- Traded a wrecked motorcycle for the guitar AND $300. Its finish while worn away in places hasn’t started the cracking seen in so many of the older guitars. I’ve been told that the mid 70’s les pauls were not a high point in Gibsons history. That being said, I’ve received countless comments regarding the tone. Even when unplugged, the instrument sings. My motto is; If it sounds & plays good, who cares who made it and how old or new it is. My other go to guitar is a late 70’s aluminum neck/walnut/koa/maple Kramer. The tone, sustain and playability is amazing.

    posted on October 28, 2013 at 11:10 am
  77. warren hummel says:

    Its a real shame that we have all these collectors buying up these guitars and hanging them on walls on display. I wish I could have just one good les paul to play . Own a les paul classic ,sorry but not a great guitar . These collectors drive all the prices through the roof where us small guys can’t even get close.  I had a Les Paul custom which i ended up selling because i became unemployed back in the 80s   still wish i kept that guitar . maybe some day i can find another one at a decent price.

    posted on October 28, 2013 at 11:02 pm
  78. Robert Ulrich says:

    Yes, Rod, and Joe are right. That is a ‘68. I should know, I’m holding one right now.
    I’ve had it for 28 years. That ‘68 must have led a hard life. Mine is 100% original, and far less “checked”, with no real “bruises”, and she has been played. You guys should really do your homework. Get a copy of “Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars”
    Still love you though.
    If you have any future questions about authenticity, you can always contact me.

    posted on October 29, 2013 at 1:25 pm
  79. William T Branch says:

    XCV You are a FUCKING ASSHOLE, nobody here wants to hear your SPAM Bullshit. You should DIE a SLOW painful DEATH. You Pathetic waste of Oxygen

    posted on November 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm
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