The guitar that artist Les Paul and Gibson president Ted McCarty teamed up to create for production in 1952 forever changed the guitar world, and music itself. The Les Paul has become the most revered electric of all time, an iconic instrument capable of making any kind of music, but perhaps best suited to smokin’ blues and rock ’n’ roll. The early Les Paul Goldtops are particularly revered for their classic look, meaty feel and raw, gnarly P-90 single-coil tone. In celebration of six decades of legendary performance, Gibson USA unveils the Les Paul 60th Anniversary Goldtop. This highly desirable guitar has been produced as a recreation of the first Les Pauls released a full 60 years ago, but with a correctly strung trapeze wraparound bridge that improves one of the shortcomings of the Les Paul in its first year of production. With its high-gloss nitrocellulose Goldtop finish and natural back and neck, traditional vintage binding and appointments, and snarling P-90 pickups, the Les Paul 60th Anniversary Goldtop is as close as you’ll come to the tone, feel and look of the Les Paul that started it all.
To accurately recreate the unparalleled look, feel and tone of the early Les Pauls, Gibson USA crafts the Les Paul 60th Anniversary Goldtop’s body from a solid, non-weight-relieved, one-piece Grade-A mahogany blank topped with a solid, carved two-piece maple top. The body’s weight and solidity achieve astounding sonic girth and sustain, while the classic maple-mahogany combination blends tonal warmth and depth with plenty of cut and clarity. The one-piece, Grade-A mahogany neck is carved to the thick, meaty early-’50s profile that plenty of modern players have come to love and appreciate, a constructional choice that not only yields plenty of grip in the left hand, but enhances tone considerably by transferring a greater proportion of neck resonance into the body, via the time-tested, mortise and tenon Gibson neck joint. A Grade-A rosewood fingerboard is bound in vintage cream, with acrylic trapezoid inlays, and partnered by a vintage-cream pickguard that has been hot-stamped in gold with the “60th Anniversary” legend. As was the practice in the first year of production, the three-way pickup switch carries no plastic ring.
As luscious and rockin’ as the early Goldtops were, the guitars made in 1952 were shipped with what was arguably a “flaw” in their set up: a shallow neck pitch required that the new Les Paul “trapeze” bridge be loaded with the strings wrapped under the bar saddle, rather than over it. These guitars played great and sounded fantastic, but the configuration made it more challenging for players to achieve string-mute effects with the edge of the picking hand. In order to remain faithful to the original, while giving this Les Paul 60th Anniversary Goldtop its full potential, Gibson USA has crafted the guitar with a correct 5-degree neck pitch and loaded it with a properly strung wrapover trapeze tailpiece, with the strings loaded over the top of the bar to allow an easy, traditional playing feel. Partner this solid configuration with two screaming P-90 pickups, a PLEK-cut Corian™ nut, vintage-style tuners with cream tulip keys, and the guitar’s increased body mass, and you have one roaring, sustaining, vintage-voiced Les Paul that will sound great on any stage, and turn heads in the process. Period-correct gold speed knobs atop independent volume and tone controls, with high-quality “Orange Drop” tone capacitors for a smooth, accurate roll-off, are the icing on the cake.
Orville Gibson founded the company in 1902 as “The Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co., Ltd.” in Kalamazoo, Michigan to make mandolin-family instruments. Gibson invented archtop guitars by constructing the same type of carved, arched tops used on violins. By the 1930s, the company was also making flattop acoustic guitars, as well as one of the first commercially available hollow-body electric guitars, used and popularized by Charlie Christian. www.gibson.com