Gibson Les Paul/SG Standard Solid Body Electric Guitar (1961)

Gibson  Les Paul/SG Standard Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1961)
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Item # 10130
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Gibson Les Paul/SG Standard Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1961), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 20592, cherry lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This is a lovely example of a 1961 SG/Les Paul Standard, one of Gibson's all-time classic solid body guitars. With a cherry lacquer finish on its exquisitely sculpted double-cutaway body, this was a very radical-looking and feeling instrument in its day, offering more unencumbered neck than anyone had ever seen! This style "Standard" replaced the original single-cutaway Les Paul just at the end of 1960, a statement of guitar modernism from the often derided as overly conservative Kalamazoo company. While the original single-cutaway Les Pauls roared back to favor later in the 1960s, this slim and supple SG has also now been played for generations. Les Paul himself was not a fan of this design, and his name was removed from the model in 1963.

This first-year LP/SG mounts two very hot PAF humbucking pickups, long considered one of Gibson's finest sonic creations. The original pots are topped with 1961-style "capped" back-painted plastic knobs. The hardware is all nickel plated including the original style no-wire Tune-O-Matic bridge and elaborate Gibson vibrato tailpiece. This last proved a troublesome piece of equipment in service, and many have been removed. This one is fully intact with some plating wear and actually works well, at least as well as they ever did!

The bound rosewood fingerboard has trapezoidal pearloid inlay and larger frets typical of the period. The headstock has double-ring Kluson deluxe tuners and Gibson's classic "crown' inlay on the face. The "Les Paul" markings are engraved into the truss rod cover. The neck is slim back-to-front with a nicely rounded feel in the typical early '60s Gibson profile.

For connoisseurs, this was a great year for the entire SG series, but particularly the Standard. Despite perhaps being a bit lightly built for the abuses of the road, these early Les Paul-marked SGs with the sculpted mahogany bodies and final PAFs have an aesthetic and sonic character unlike any others. While fairly popular when new they really came into their own in the late 1960s with the advent of high volume amplification (Marshall, especially) unleashed the screaming beast within!

Just over 1600 of these elegantly badass guitars were shipped in 1961, and most have been far more heavily used than this one. The SG Standard in general was and remains a very popular guitar, with good reason. It had a particular heyday in the late '60s and early '70s -- anyone who has seen live footage of Cream in 1967-8 knows what these ultra light and responsive SG/Les Pauls are capable of! One of the classic rock guitars of that or any era, and actually a more versatile instrument than many think.
 
Overall length is 39 3/4 in. (101 cm.), 13 1/4 in. (33.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This is a great example of a 1961 Les Paul Standard, only lightly used and VERY well-preserved for this particular model. The heel joint is the major trouble spot in all early SGs, often either partially or wholly broken. This one shows no damage or repair at all; the headstock is also completely free of the common cracks. The finish is completely original with no touchup or overspray.

The lacquer shows some light checking, dings, and scuff overall but no major loss. The back is amazingly free of buckle rash, and the body edges have just a few minor chips and dings. Overall it has only minor fade and retains a strong cherry color. There is one noticeable dings (or possible cigarette mark) on the headstock face, but the edges are cleaner than most.

The nickel plating has some wear overall, most notably chipping and flaking off the cast front end of the vibrato assembly, where a player's hand likely rested. The pickguard has very little shrinkage and all the tips are still intact. The low E tuner button is a perfectly matched replacement; the others appear original. The original PAF pickups have some plating wear to the covers but never been tampered with or even had the covers removed, which is getting rarer to find as time goes on.

The original frets have been neatly re-crowned and have plenty of life left, the fingerboard does show some wear with divoting in the lower positions. This is an extremely fine-playing guitar, light and handy and simply a superb feeling and sounding instrument. The original yellow-lined black case is also in very good shape with just some minor exterior wear; the original PAF pickup adjustment instructions are still in the pocket. This is simply one of the finest early SG's we have had, a real gem of this sleek and sculpted classic. Excellent Condition.