Gibson Les Paul Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1953)

Gibson  Les Paul Model Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1953)
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Item # 11322
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Gibson Les Paul Model Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1953), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 3-2554, gold lacquer top, natural back and sides re- finish, mahogany body with maple cap, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown hard shell case.

This is a cool "Veteran Relic" example of one of Gibson's most important and beloved guitars: the original gold-top Les Paul Model. It date to mid/late 1953 but has had some ancient work, done so long ago that the line between original and later character becomes a bit blurry. When built this guitar was equipped with the new-in 1953 stud bridge/tailpiece; it was altered in the distant past to fit the more player-friendly Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop tailpiece set up. It also appears to have been refinished long ago in correct style lacquer with the original livery of a gold top and natural back and sides, including the inked-on serial number (which may have been carefully re-applied). It is possible this was Gibson factory work in the mid/late 1950s, but this is not possible to confirm. In either case the headstock face remains original, including the "Les Paul Model" silkscreen and the pearl Gibson logo set lower down on the headstock than later '50s models. The serial number is correct for a mid/late 1953 "stoptail" Les Paul

The (slightly) later style bridge is the only structural modification; other features of this Les Paul remain original and unaltered including the smaller '50s fret wire in a bound rosewood fingerboard with pearloid trapezoid inlays, twin single-coil P-90 pickups under cream plastic covers with center-mount screws and Kluson Deluxe tuners with keystone-shaped buttons. The ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop tailpiece are authentic 1950s period Gibson parts. The wiring remains unaltered with the original early '50s Grey Tiger caps; the tiny hole running from the control cavity to the original tailpiece stud for grounding is specific to 1953 models. The lead pickup has had springs added around the mounting screws allowing it to be adjusted higher; the cover is the original shallow version so the lower edge is exposed.

This guitar represents a very player-friendly genuine 1950s P-90-equpped Les Paul. The finish is quite old and authentic looking (anecdotally the guitar has not been worked on since at least the early 1970s) and the guitar is now in the most desired configuration for a single-coil pickup model. To this day some players feel a Tune-O-Matic/P-90 Les Pauls are as fine a solidbody guitar as has ever been made; longtime Gibson historian Andre Duchossoir estimated only perhaps a thousand or so goldtops with this original layout were made from late 1955 through mid 1957. This guitar represents a very close and completely authentic feeling and sounding approximation at something like half the price.
Overall length is 39 in. (99.1 cm.), 13 in. (33 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 15/16 in. (4.9 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.)., 8.74 lbs.

This guitar shows a decent amount of general wear to the finish, not artificial "relicing" but authentic play wear from the last five or six decades. As noted we believe the top, back, sides and back of the neck were refinished in the original style early in the guitar's life, almost certainly when the bridge setup was changed. The faint fills to the old stud holes in the top are visible under the gold finish. The headstock face is untouched since 1953. The entire guitar blacklights as old lacquer and is very consistent in both look and feel with period Gibson finishes

This finish shows dings, dents and scrapes overall but no really heavy wear. There is a deeper scrape into the wood on the lower back edge, some armwear to the top in the typical spot and a bit of wear to the wood on the sides of the neck. The hardware has some light typical scuffing and plating wear but remains all original, except as noted the (very slightly) later bridge setup. The original small frets show some wear and re-crowning in the lower positions but remain in decently playable shape. This is a really great sounding les Paul, a bit of a mystery perhaps as to its exact history but a wonderful guitar nonetheless. It still resides in the battered but fully functional original brown case, an inscrutable piece of vintage Gibson vibe. Overall Very Good + Condition.